Posts Tagged ‘Liberia’

Doing the ‘Custom and Border protection shuffle.’

September 4, 2014

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If you think that hours spent on a flight is less than riveting, spare a thought of what now goes on before the flight. I am not surprised people are flying less. This is our story.

You arrive with the minimum luggage. A back pack each or just a shoulder bag. The waiting at carousels after a long and dry flight is hardly encouraging to take suitcases or as I saw, huge surf boards or jet skis. Before one just used to go through the immigration or custom officers and get your boarding pass and number. Not anymore now.

The first hurdle is to get your ticket validated. After that the immigration or custom procedure. This is were I was astonished beyond and from behind. Fair enough, the luggage (Shoulder bags) were put through a scanning device. A tray was handed in in which to put all metal objects such as watch, coins, jewellery and electronic devices. All apparatus operated by batteries had to be switched on before the scanner, proving their function as legitimate. I know that bombings are to be prevented but does anyone know of a single aeroplane that came down as a result of a passenger blowing up the plane while travelling?

The worst is yet to come; There is always a tension, palpable amongst all plane travellers. The atmosphere is thick and hanging heavily and not a word is spoken. With all the instant news on terrorism and beheading videos, one scans nervously for any sign of a sword or machine gun. Not a tree or blade of grass insight. Nothing to give visual comfort to the hapless traveller now asked to go personally through a scanner as well. ” Take your belt off and place in the tray, shoes too.” Men and women in separate rows now. Husbands, wives and children are now put about 10 meters apart and a female starts to pat down the rows of females and a man the men. Shades of Buchenwald arise in this traveller. Men are shoeless and holding up their pants. All their belongings now disappear into the darkness of a scanner together with their jackets and pullovers.

imagesHHK8BQMOthe patting down

After the patting down, no machine gun comes out of my trousers, which, because of my skinniness has to be held up by both my hands. I have no hips. I hop towards a personal enclosure where I see a man holding up both arms while a sinister custom officer is looking at a screen. I finished the hopping and enter the steel enclosure where I am told to put my socked feet on a painted space on the floor indicating a left and right foot. Hold up your arms and look straight ahead, the man ordered. My pants slid down at half mast. “You still have metal somewhere”, the man stated. I pointed to my hearings aids which have batteries. “Take them off and re-enter again, he ordered.” I bend down to lift my trousers glad I wasn’t inspected internally or worse, given an spontaneous colonoscopy on the run. I got through and was met by hordes of men tucking in shirts and arranging their private parts in a certain order. Putting on shoes and belts. The relief was instant. One man cracked a joke and another giggled nervously.

Women were busy squeezing hair shampoo and conditioners into smaller 100mil bottle avoiding having to surrender anything larger than a 100mil container. One women was scooping Nescafe into small bottles. She had bought a half kilo of Nescafe. Don’t ask me why? Was she thinking of selling or making coffee on Jetstar? Another sign of a traveller’s frugality was toothpaste being squeezed and divided into smaller bottles. How do you get toothpaste out of a bottle. Do you scoop it onto a brush with a match stick or suck it out? Huge bottles of Eau de Cologne were confiscated together with tins of Arnotts biscuits. One man was travelling with cigars. All taken away. Only duty free goods and securely and officially wrapped was allowed through.

images the hapless traveller

The flying is a breeze compared getting on or off aeroplanes. I wonder how far this hysteria is going to go? Will we be asked to bring a sample of a stool next? ( they too can be pretty explosive) Will we finally be subjected to such lengthy and personal procedures that only the most foolhardy will fly. I know they are trying to avoid disasters but I haven’t yet heard of single plane being blown up by a passenger on board. (Perhaps excluding above Somalia or Liberia)

Surely crossing the street while texting is much more dangerous.

The saddest thing and Democracy in the US

March 1, 2013

handbag12The saddest thing and Democracy in the US

One of the saddest things I saw on the news a couple of days ago was a father in the US with his six or seven year old son teaching him the finer points of holding a gun and learn to shoot. When asked a few questions, this little boy just parroted the father’s mantra of ‘pride in his country’ and freedom to ‘defend’. This poor little boy.

Another man proudly stated he had about 14 guns and was buying more. He was shown to shoot at clay pigeons together with a woman who also was a great believer in being ‘prepared’.

There is something very odd about how a country which prides itself of being at the forefront of democracy yet is now desperately fighting to retain a right which to me is proof of the opposite, an apparent inability to listen and take action against an evil opposing democracy.  The right to bear arms back in 1875 or earlier has nothing to do with hundreds of millions owning assault weapon and guns. The British have long gone and left, so have naughty Indians and Cowboys.

There is no way that a country that has more  firearms belonging to its citizens than their daily needs for loaves of bread or protective roofs over their heads can still belong to the pool of countries of the true democratic world.  It just doesn’t add up when guns generally are for detaining or locking away freedom. Has the US become a Liberia or Sierra Leone? How far is it removed from rampaging citizens roaming the streets looking for kills? There are already 30 000 people dying of guns a year. It is just staggering.

cruise-liberia

Has anyone seen the footage lately of enormous exhibition halls, the size of cathedrals, holding gun shows? Row after row of sinister black assault rifles, all displayed in its macabre magnificence, gleaming and with glistening erect barrels ready to ejaculate its deadly load towards the perceived loathsome enemy, seemingly lurking everywhere  around  US’ wholesome societies corners. Last time it were the 20 children of Sandy Hook that were the ‘enemy’ together with 6 adults. Who knows where the next enemies might be hiding; in hospitals, churches, or more schools? At the gun shows there were hundreds and thousands of guns all shown as exhibited like up- market fashion items. Prospective buyers were seen to lovingly stroke and caress the naked barrels, murmuring sweet nothingness in their dark crevices of silencers and bullet magazines. .

With 30 000 shot dead annually, all one can say is,’ if believing that in the US citizens must be armed against the enemy, it follows also there must be lots of enemies in the US.’ You just can’t have it both ways. “We need guns to defend ourselves, but they are hardly ever used because in the US there are no enemies”, or,” we need guns because we are surrounded by danger and enemies are everywhere we turn”. ” At every step we take we might face our enemy and danger. Watch out or you’ll get shot so… get a good and faster gun and shoot first”.

It all sounds ridiculous and doesn’t make sense. There are now hordes of women buying guns with Prada and Bling being the main reason. Gun shops are run off their feet and everyone is onto more guns, hundreds of millions of them. The gun lobby now seems to dictate the country and I saw one man loading up his car with ammo and guns. He smiled into the camera almost expecting to be canonized for his foray into a frenzied shooting-out campaign against the enemy.

It’s clear that the NRA does everything in its power to whip up the hysteria and fear of enemies. They even advice that schools ought to arm themselves with a ‘good guy with a good gun.’ Is that democracy?

I am speechless.