Monday, August 17, 2009

Reel imitating real imitating reel

There's an 'explosion' in the media over what happened to Shah Rukh at the Newark International Airport (link).

Some said it's not a big deal (Salman Khan: link) prompting me to wonder whether the supposedly hot-tempered actor has mellowed with age or because the incident happened to someone he doesn't care about, in which case I suggest he should just shut up and stop giving unnecessary comments on the matter. Some went overboard by giving irresponsible statements (Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni: link), which makes me go... huh, don't the airports in India frisk people at all?

Some American officials gave examples of how their high-ranking politicians submit to extra security measures without a fuss (link)... but see, those US politicians have nothing to worry about, do they? Since it's just routine checking to them and they know they'll never be detained for days or months or years in one of their own top-secret facilities without any justified reasons, the way us foreigners may be subjected to.

We can be flippant or overly serious about this issue since we're all still free to roam around in our respective countries, but even as we're saying all the above things, there are people who are currently unjustly detained on American soil who have no way to argue their cases and whose countries gave them up to the US authority without so much as a beep. Shah Rukh's case is being looked into because due to his global popularity he represents India whenever he's abroad. But there are thousands (millions?) of us who would be ignored just because we're nobodies.

Malaysia doesn't have too many Khans, but we do have 'bin' in our names for muslim men, which is also a cause of paranoia due to the US (and their allies e.g. Singapore, our next door neighbour) associating it with Ben Laden. Every time this sort of stupid generalization happens, it's almost always made and propagated by Americans, prompting me to mutter "Americans are so stupid" under my breath whenever I read about it on the net or newspapers.

I think this idiotic generalization comes about coz Americans don't get out of their country much. Probably they think their country is the center of the earth and all the evil little green muslim people are out to get them, much like scientists of yore think the earth was the center of the universe and all the evil little green aliens want to eradicate us earthlings.

I just want to point out to them that they've pretty much obliterated parts of some countries to oblivion (Vietnam, Japan, Iraq... to name a few) but American tourists can still happily go in and out of those countries as they please without a shred of prejudice manifested by extra frisking activities or secondary inspections from the local officials. Admit it... years of brainwashing from countless Hollywood movies have conditioned us to accept that Americans are the good guys, superheroes, world saviours, yada yada yada.. and anyone who goes against them are the bad guys, villains, terrorists, et cetera et cetera et cetera.

Needless to say, ol' US of A is the only country that's not on my visiting list.

How are we supposed to eliminate this prejudice? What a question to ask. I mean seriously... what can we do? We're the ones who're prejudiced against. Americans are the ones who should figure this one out instead of sitting there twiddling their thumbs, thinking, "We're so superior to these Third World occupants.. and oh look, they're also Islamic fundamentalists for frigging sakes.. what do they know?" and in the end, nothing gets done... as is usually the case.

I want to ask these people... what does 'fundamentalist' mean? The US is saying it as if it stands for 'terrorist' nowadays and anyone who opposes such a preposterous definition must be a 'fundamentalist' i.e. 'terrorist' too. Such a mind-numbing conclusion comes from a country that's supposedly the most advanced developed nation in the world. Go figure.

I also would like to suggest that the US authority encourage their people to get out of the country more, learn other languages beside US English, get to know other people's cultures, etc. so that the next time some passengers next to you are speaking excitedly about how beautiful your country is in Hindi you won't arrest them under suspicion of terrorism.

On the other hand, when you read comments like the ones here, you can understand what K means when he tells J that human thought is so primitive it's looked upon as an infectious disease by some 'better' galaxy dwellers.

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