Reading on a Plane

I just read an article about a woman who was detained and questioned by police after a flight crew member saw her reading a book. No. There’s no more to it. Tell me how absolutely ridiculous that is.

But there is more to it. First, she’s Muslim. Second, she was reading a book about Syria. I’d hope those two things on their own would not cause you to immediately think “terrorist” because then it probably says more about you than the person doing the reading. And the airline didn’t issue an apology or anything in their statement. It’s just one person being ignorant and the airline refusing to admit a mistake was made.

But the reason this got me thinking is because on my trip to DC two months ago I took three books with me. Two fiction and one nonfiction. The nonfiction was a book on Columbine. I’ve had it on my shelf for months and I thought I might have some time to read on the plane. I didn’t end up reading any of them, but what if I had decided to pull that book out? Would someone have noticed and immediately thought something was wrong? Would I have been detained simply for reading a book that made someone slightly uncomfortable?

I’m not going to sit here and lecture you on staying safe while traveling, but there is something I do want to say. The people who carry out terror attacks anywhere in the world want to evoke fear in us. They want to alter and attack our way of life. I understand that working on an airplane is taking a risk every day on the job because of could happen. But I can’t sit here and say I think this particular crew member acted appropriately. I believe the passenger was profiled. If she’d been a blonde haired, blue eyed American I don’t think anything would have been said. All I know is I will not live in fear of what might or might not happen. I’m going to live. And I’m going to respect every person I come across because we’re all human. There are some horrible ones among us, but they’re far outnumbered by the unknown heroes of the world.

This went into a different direction than I’d planned. But that’s okay. Do you have any thoughts on what happened with this passenger being questioned simply for reading a book on a plane?

19 thoughts on “Reading on a Plane

  1. I think it’s a sorry reflection on our world nowadays. People being sentenced before they’ve even been tried, simply because of appearance.
    Unfortunately though, it does happen… and to an extent we are all guilty of it. Even the most open minded.


      • People don’t like to admit they’re wrong… that’s true.. but, in this case, it’s also the legal climate we’ve created for ourselves. If the airline admits guilt, then they can’t fight back if they’re sued. The woman (who was definitely profiled and mistreated in my opinion) could basically ask for the moon, and our legal system would be like, “Well, you’re fault for admitting guilt!” We have a lot of fixing to do in this society… why can’t people just be nice to each other? 😦


      • Perhaps. But it wasn’t here. It was in Europe. Where their alert is even more heightened, but I still think what happened was uncalled for. She was on her honeymoon. And then she had to deal with this?


  2. sigh. Books are dangerous. Let’s just ban them now. Make the world a safer place if we’re all totally ignorant right? Definitely, definitely, don’t read any non fiction. Knowledge is a lethal weapon. Arrest me…


  3. One of the first things a conqueror does to subdue a society is take away its culture, including books and religion. If we allow this to happen, we are making ourselves more, and not less, vulnerable.

    To say nothing about the sheer stupidity of the whole situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s racist profiling indeed and indeed it feeds on the fear our governments spend so much time orchestrating. Afraid people shut down their heart and can’t change the world.


  5. Utterly bizarre. We’re giving up our own rights when we allow what we read to be censored…and what ever happened to curiosity? I’m fascinated by America’s dependence on prescription drugs, so if I’m reading a book about that on a plane, am I just looking for tips on how to score my next high???


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