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Sambhar Mafia - Cooked To Kill!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Tamil Speaker Attracts Attention At Seattle Airport

South Asians (and West Asians) have been having a tough time passing through airport security as a result of the increased security measures. It was recently reported that a group of people from Mumbai were detained in Amsterdam and no explicit reason was given by the Dutch government. The latest in this series is a Tamil speaker who was interrogated at Seattle airport as his language was found to be 'suspicious'. (via)

A 32-year-old man speaking Tamil and some English about a sporting rivalry was questioned at Sea-Tac Airport and missed his flight Saturday because at least one person thought he was suspicious.

The man was speaking Tamil, a language largely used in India, Sri Lanka and Singapore, on his cell phone at the departure gate and on the aircraft. An off-duty airline employee heard the conversation and informed the flight crew.

The man also apparently said something in English about a sporting rivalry at his alma mater.

If you are desperate to catch an all important flight, you know what to do.


  • It's far from accurate to say the Dutch government gave no explanation of why the Indians were detained earlier this year.

    They were standing in a group and passing cellphones around during takeoff, ignored directions from the flight crew to sit down, and then blocked an air marshall who came over to have a look from seeing what was going on.

    Turns out they were just drunken idiots, but hindsight's always 20-20.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:30 PM  

  • It's a shame that once in a while people do not appreciate different languages and cultures. Such mishaps can put one off travelling for the longest time (something like being talked to as if one were scum when applying for a visa).

    By Blogger 30in2005, at 6:57 PM  

  • ignorance. time for the people to take back the airways from the c..suckers at the tsa and airlines.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:18 PM  

  • 1. speaking at departure gate and in the aircraft:

    imagine him innocently shouting into his cell phone non-stop. poor fellow, couldn't he wait? i don't know.

    2. an off-duty employee noted this:

    was he/she trying to curry favor with superiors? pouncing on an outlier these days is definitely an easy way to do that. and finally these incidents are brushed under the carpet with "nothing should come in the way of ensuring passengers' safety"

    3. He told officials that he would not speak in a foreign language on his cell phone at an airport in the future.

    You bet, but, hope he takes it easy.

    By Blogger Giri, at 11:58 PM  

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:27 AM  

  • Racist or duty conscious, take your pick. It is amusing from afar and a little scary to see the facade of openness of America crumbling day by day.

    By Blogger SLN, at 3:06 AM  

  • no i dont know what to do :)
    who do i do?

    By Blogger Nandhu, at 7:36 AM  

  • @Anon,
    Even if they were doing like that, the treatment meted out to them was not justified.

    totally agree with u

    He should be allowed to carry out his normal activities irrespective of colour, language, beard, moustache, outfit etc.

    Thanks, will take a look at Tellypundit.

    The off-duty person went overboard. It is definitely not duty conscious.

    maybe we should speak Madras Bashai :))

    By Blogger Kaps, at 11:07 AM  

  • That's just shameful!!!!!

    By Blogger Omni, at 3:45 PM  

  • hey..

    This is really really too much. I hap. to step in here. Anyways are u in singapore. Am new here!! Are u with family and all??

    By Anonymous Janitri, at 4:17 PM  

  • This is bloody ridiclus!! I am tempted to say that we should follow Iran's example and just subject all Americans to mandatory fingerprint profiling, but one has just seen Munnabhai, and Gandhigiri is the flavor of the day.. besides, insecurity added to insecurity means insecurity infinite. Not a good thing for everyone in the long run.

    By Blogger How do we know, at 12:20 AM  

  • BTW, I was just sharing this story with a colleague and she was telling me that once on their way for a holiday her partner was stopped by immigration and asked to speak in his language to a translator just to ensure it was a real language and not a code!!!

    By Blogger 30in2005, at 12:36 AM  

  • well hopefully now people will get the message. you are either with english or against english. i am sure there is a plan being formulated to liberate tamil speaking people and usher in an era of democracy of english speaking people! :-)

    By Blogger iyengarkatz, at 7:44 AM  

  • Well,

    you guys are all blowing it out of proportion. Just like the Indian media likes to do.

    This incident is a one-off incident and you cannot use words like "americans" here to insinuate generalization.

    This particular airport employee had acted on his/her instincts. And come on.... suggesting that they had an ulterior motive(of getting placed in good books of superiors) is devoid of any logic.

    The way the person spoke, the incoherent content(from the point of view of the employee), the passionate conversation(about the sports teams) might have instinctly prompted the employee to report that person.

    Look at it this way. The worst case was that the person would have been let off with some minor embarassment to the officials. But What if she had happened to stop a "real" terrorist? Even then, any person who reports would have made their judgement based on instincts and not had some 2 hours to read world culture and history to decipher an already incongruent conversation.

    By Anonymous masterplan, at 8:57 AM  

  • So sad.

    - Amit

    By Anonymous Amit, at 7:46 AM  

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