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Shah Rukh Khan, the most popular actor in the world (one of my favorites) and, not coincidentally, an Indian, was held at the White Plains, NY airport by Homeland Security on his way to speak at Yale.

It's not the first time they've done this to him. Newark Airport also held this famous actor for two hours in 2009. Apparently TSA doesn't even bother to google this man's name to find out he is who he says he is.

I hate our "war against terror." It doesn't keep us safer. It makes us look like idiots when we insist on patdowns of the Indian ambassador and incidents like this, and stupid underwear plots still make people think we're in deep danger. Israel never has incidents like this.


( 40 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 16th, 2012 07:42 pm (UTC)
Really, it's more like a war on the rest of us. And an excuse to take away all of our civil liberties and privacy. Grrr.
Apr. 16th, 2012 08:00 pm (UTC)
If they did this to *every* person entering/leaving the country that would be understandable, but to profile people of a certain appearance/nationality/aesthetic, that makes America look like a country of racist paranoiacs.

A few years ago (early in the Bush administration, I think) a friend of a friend was travelling to the States, and ticked "yes" on the "are you or have you ever been part of a terrorist organisation" question in the visa application for a laugh (LOLnot) and was banned from America for life. It's things like that that cn make America look like a paranoid victim rather than the desirable destination it can be.
Apr. 16th, 2012 08:34 pm (UTC)
When I flew to the US in the late 1990's, I (born in 1981) still had to check a box stating whether I had been a member in the Nazi party prior to 1945. I'm sure there would have been other students my age who would have ticked that one too.
Apr. 16th, 2012 08:01 pm (UTC)
An Indian and a Muslim. So infuriating. I had some serious problems with his movie My Name Is Khan (about, among other things, a guy named Khan being treated crappily by Homeland Security), but I certainly understood that aspect of it.

(Tammy, btw, in case you haven't seen Om Shanti Om -- YOU MUST. It's SRK at his best! Directed by a kickass female director, Farah Khan (no relation).)
Apr. 16th, 2012 08:27 pm (UTC)
Seen it, bought my own copy, bought the soundtrack, have the poster with him stripping off his shirt in my assistant's office so we can share the goodness with the most women (our friend Julie's room is off my assistant's office). ;-)

We do Bollywood night with the Coville family, and have seen a LOT of Shah Rukh movies over the last 2+ years, with Akshay Kumar, Saif Ali Khan, and Sanjay Dutt as runners-up among the guys. Now we're starting to get better acquainted with the younger men and women, but when your first criteria are singing and dancing, well, . . .
Apr. 16th, 2012 08:38 pm (UTC)
I have the movie, the soundtrack, and the poster too!! HA HA HA

When it comes to the younger men and women, I recommend Dil Bole Hadippa, with Shahid Kapoor, in which Rani Mukerjee is brilliant playing the part of a man and a woman. But sounds likely to me that you already know that one, too :-)
Apr. 17th, 2012 10:46 pm (UTC)
LOL. I have the poster, too, although it's not up right now--not enough wall space where I'm living at the moment.

I think Ranbir Kapoor is one of the most talented actors of the younger bunch right now--if you haven't seen Rocket Singh, Salesman of the Year, you really should. I've also been really impressed with Anushka Sharma even though I couldn't stand Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, which was the first thing I saw her in. But I think it's awesome that she's one of so few women who can headline a movie in that industry, which she proved she could do with Band Baaja Baaraat.
Apr. 16th, 2012 08:17 pm (UTC)
I couldn't agree with you more on this! It's truly wonderful that you posted about this, too. I feel like it's not being talked about widely enough, even though this happens all of the time-- and has actually happened (twice also!) to another Indian actor, Irrfan Khan.

And on a completely superficial note, it's so exciting SRK is one of my favorites, too! :)
Apr. 16th, 2012 08:28 pm (UTC)
We were talking about the Irrfan Khan detentions last night (Bollywood night with our friends).
Apr. 16th, 2012 08:32 pm (UTC)
This would be why I'm taking the bus to Texas next month, rather than flying. *sigh*
Apr. 16th, 2012 08:52 pm (UTC)
>patdowns of the Indian ambassador

WHAT THE?!?!?!?!!!!

seriously, a few years down the line something like that might start a war. diplomats have immunity. stupidity like that is extremely dangerous - especially as the US are losing international regard fast, ever since the total nonsense G. W. Bush started with international relationships. combined with the economic downturn and the losing of international importance in that regard as well, the US won't be too powerful to touch forever. And wars have been started due to insults delivered to diplomats.

This stupidity is dangerous. really, badly dangerous. *headshake*
Apr. 16th, 2012 09:48 pm (UTC)
Khan is not a diplomat, just a very famous Bollywood actor who was giving a speech and getting an award at Yale.

but it's still stupid dangerous wrongheaded profiling.
Apr. 16th, 2012 10:08 pm (UTC)
The patdown of the ambassador was a separate incident.
Apr. 16th, 2012 10:09 pm (UTC)
In case there's confusion, Kahn isn't an ambassador. The patdown of the ambassador was a separate incident. And your comments are still apt. That kind of thing makes us out to be the yokels the rest of the world thinks we are.
Apr. 16th, 2012 11:08 pm (UTC)
Friend of mine, in a wheel chair, got the full pat down. They checked his infant daughter's diaper wipes for explosives.
Apr. 17th, 2012 01:41 am (UTC)
Bloody. Frakking. Hell.

Not flying anywhere if I can help it, unless and until this changes for the better.
Apr. 17th, 2012 12:02 am (UTC)
I travel in my own electric wheelchair, and every time I get the full pat down. I even got yelled at for my pantyliner, because "it felt like explosives!"
Apr. 17th, 2012 12:12 am (UTC)
"Shah Rukh Khan, the most popular actor in the world..."

o.O and yet, I don't think I've ever even heard of him:S course then again, I barely watch tv/movies:P

Apr. 17th, 2012 05:59 am (UTC)
Lol, that was my thought. Never heard of the guy.
Apr. 17th, 2012 07:37 am (UTC)
Thirded. Never heard of the guy until right now.
Apr. 17th, 2012 09:14 am (UTC)
When you consider that the Indian subcontinent alone has a population of 1.6 Billion people, plus the massive diaspora, it's probably less confusing!
Apr. 17th, 2012 01:11 am (UTC)
This makes me embarrassed and outraged. I love
Shah Rukh Khan so much.
Apr. 17th, 2012 01:42 am (UTC)
I feel like this is nothing compared with other security related legislation passed and rulings from the Supreme Court since Obama came into office. What makes me even more frustrated is knowing that there would be a very similar series of events (if not more severe) even if Obama wasn't in office. I am starting to understand the feeling of "no candidate to turn to" people have professed to me in the past.
Apr. 17th, 2012 09:21 pm (UTC)
I feel like this is nothing compared with other security related legislation

I'm not comparing it to other security related legislation. I am comparing it to diplomacy and how this country is viewed by the world.

When it comes to security legislation, far worse things were passed before Obama came into office, some of which he voted on, and now he is simply continuing the string of lousy, anti-Constitutional lawmaking based on fear and not reality. I agree with you that, should his opponent have won, we probably would have seen worse.
Apr. 17th, 2012 02:38 am (UTC)
TSA Security Theatre.

Stealing your iPad and other personal belongings, god forbid you be a breast feeding mother and despite what they would have you believe things get through all the time.

But let's detain a world-famous actor-not once but TWICE. Because he looks foreign, has a foreign name and is a Muslim. There is not enough WTF in the world for this.
Apr. 17th, 2012 03:50 am (UTC)
I remember when this happened the first time, and I'm stunned that it happened again (although I probably shouldn't be). SRK isn't one of my favorites (I like him, but I tend to hate a lot of the movies he's in), but he's popular for a reason, although Indian cinema does seem to be stuck in the "not worth watching because it's all incoherent screechy singing" category for many Americans even though it's so much more than that.

As far as Homeland Security goes, I'm with you all the way. Completely disgusted. Planning to take a train to Canada if I ever have to fly again because I have anxiety issues that would make the patdowns very stressful for me and I don't trust the scanners. I have a strong family history of many cancers, and while I know some are safe I've read reports that TSA workers aren't always very good at indicating which ones are the safer ones, and I don't want to up my risk any more than I have to.

Also, I don't care if the people who would see me naked would be in another room. I just plain don't want anyone to see me naked, especially someone I have never and will probably never meet. I find it an outrage that some people have tried to paint this kind of intrusion as normal when it's anything but, and others have gone "Well, I'm okay with it and you have nothing to hide, so you shouldn't have any problems with it either."

Sorry, I got a little ranty there. But I completely agree with you.
Apr. 17th, 2012 05:07 am (UTC)
I live in Japan so I fly back to America (my home country) frequently. I can't tell you how many times I have forgotten a bottle of water or a big bottle of lotion that was in my carry-on and just got right on through, but but I have also been one of the lucky chosen ones to have a humiliating TSA pat-down.

In the past 5 years I have also been to at least 12 other countries, and not one of them makes me feel like the ridiculous criminal that flying to, from, or within the USA does.
Efrat Grunin
Apr. 17th, 2012 07:44 am (UTC)
Israel doesn't have these problems because they use an entirely different system of checking- involving a different type of profiling before someone ever reaches the airport, and personal questioning at the airport by well trained people. And, you can keep your shoes on!
No pat downs necessary. Instead of looking for weapons, as the US does, they focus more on finding terrorists. I assume though, that the TSA is thinking about starting something similar to the Israel system- or is that wishful thinking?
Apr. 17th, 2012 12:40 pm (UTC)
I agree. you are right.
and Israel does not have such incidents because they are concerned not about making it look like they are doing something, but about the real safety.
Apr. 17th, 2012 09:17 pm (UTC)
they are concerned not about making it look like they are doing something, but about the real safety.

Yes, isn't it funny how that works out?!
Apr. 17th, 2012 09:22 pm (UTC)
considering it all - I plead the Fifth. And the Second.
Apr. 17th, 2012 03:10 pm (UTC)
Lately I have been hearing more and more people disgruntled by the TSA. A friend who travels 2xs a week last week got her normal haircare products "removed" even tho they were under their limits and properly "bagged". She felt like she got rolled by the TSA for 100$ worth of "presents". What worries me are the things people say like: It depends on the screener, they have final say. That sounds to me ripe for a power trip. We all know what happens to people who want to be say a police office and they don't pass the tests... abuse of power in other ways.

Funny enough this past week this infographic showed up in my email.

Apr. 17th, 2012 05:30 pm (UTC)
It was marked as spam because of the infographic you linked to. I just unspammed it. The lj spam filter is as jumpy as a baby with bees in its diaper.
Apr. 17th, 2012 06:39 pm (UTC)
"jumpy as a baby with bees in its diaper"

And if nothing else I have a HUGE smile on my face b'c that image is funny to me.

And to add one last touch to this topic, I am flying tomorrow and so I have been weighing the consequences of what to take. My knitting is important to me, but I am rethinking what kind of needles to take. Ones I won't regret losing might be more important that the fabulous $45 fancy pair my wife bought me for special. It is all a matter of what one is willing to lose to TSA, now that we know they steal baggage and take things for themselves.
Apr. 17th, 2012 08:44 pm (UTC)
I do believe that you're not allowed to carry on knitting needles of any kind.

In your checked luggage, well, I hope the TSA moron working that day doesn't have knitting needle kleptomania.

Good luck.
Apr. 17th, 2012 09:01 pm (UTC)
Knitting Needles are allowed on board. I believe there was a fairly short period of time where they were not allowed, but I guess they realized that forbidden them is just a wee bit ridiculous. My family flies quite a lot, and my mom loves to knit, and I remember how happy she was to being able to bring them on planes. She still does whenever she flies.
Apr. 18th, 2012 01:34 am (UTC)
this is correct. knitting needles are allowed on planes. ON THE OTHER HAND knitting needles are not allowed on say British Air b'c Britain's air policies do not allow it. If you are flying on an airline owned by a non-US company, or flying into international airspace check airspace policies for that country. (ask me how I know.)

I am flying a US carrier to Canada. I am reasonably confident that I can carry my needles.. I am not reasonably confident that they won't take my very expensive needles. I will travel with my cheapies and just be pleased I can knit :D
Apr. 17th, 2012 09:17 pm (UTC)
Knock on wood, but I've never had anything lifted by TSA. And I know a lot of knitwits who would go absolutely nutzoid if they couldn't knit on a plane!
Apr. 17th, 2012 09:29 pm (UTC)
TSA doesn't even try to pretend it's not discrimination anymore. Who is there to call them on it? Their lobbyists are paying the politicians to vote to employ their products for further "security", but if we ever actually achieved "security" they'd be out of business, because we wouldn't need their machines and outrageous programs if we stopped believing in the threat. So it's a catch-22: they got rich selling all of this security technology, but if the fear-level drops, we won't want to keep paying so much money for something there's no need for; so what motivation do they have, actually, to make us "safe"? I'm not saying they stage the terrorist attacks, but they certainly have no real motivation to stop them all, despite the official stance.
I myself travel in veil, and am searched every time I go through an airport. The last time, I was standing in line when I was approached by a TSA agent. She said: "Do you wear your headcovering for religious purposes?"
I said, "Yes."
"Will you remove it?" she asked. We were still standing in a public place.
"No," I told her.
"Will you step aside over here?" she continued, with a completely straight face. "You've been randomly selected for further screening, and we'll need to pat you down and search your belongings."

If that isn't open discrimination, then I don't know what it's supposed to look like. This basic scenario happens to me every single time I travel in the U.S.
Apr. 18th, 2012 10:25 pm (UTC)
On the other hand... I wouldn't mind detaining SRK for a little while. :) Have you seen him "singing" "Pretty Woman" in "Kal Ho Naa Ho?" Sigh.
( 40 comments — Leave a comment )

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