Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Blue Eye Syndrome

It has been a long time since I blogged, I am not sure why! but this is life, at times you just do not feel like doing certain things, I am not sure if this means I will be blogging normally but here it goes....


I meant to write about this experience for sometime but kept postponing it, this happened on my way back from a trip to Egypt although what happened is not only exclusive to Egypt, I had sort of similar experiences in other countries such as Tunisia and Jordan and always with their customs people but not the general population.

I was standing at the front of the que to board the plane coming back to London, there was another que for fast boarding this is where people pay extra to be boarded first, so my que we were waiting to be told we can board, there was a British (white) man standing in front of me, a customs officer then came over and said we can board, he checked the passport of the guy in front of me and told him to proceed, he then did the same with me, as I walked forward I saw other custom men talk to the guy in front of me, they told him that they have not started boarding other passengers yet and only fast boarding were allowed in, he told them that their colleague said he can go but no problem and stood there then I came forward and instead of telling the same politely just as they did with the other passenger, they actually started shouting at me, about 4 or 5 people just shouting at me that I can not board the plane like if I was a stupid person pushing in, everyone looked at me and I was so embarrassed that I thought no I am not going to let them do that to me, I started shouting back at them and told them why are you shouting at me? I am not pushing and that they should talk to their colleague who told me to go, they became very rude to me and their colleague who was shaking now because he knew he made a mistake suddenly told them in Arabic that I pushed my passport to him and forced him to let me in! then one of them who is just an employee at the check in desk tried to show off and to scare me, he said that I am not allowed to board the plane and that they will cancel my ticket, I told him to go and play away from me that he had no authority to do anything like that, I lived most of my life in a democratic free country that respects its citizens and that I am not scared of of nonsense like that, then the guy in front of me who is British and white and more of a man than all of them put together said to them that they had no right to shout at me and threaten me because it means he has to face the same threat, guess what???? they told him that he did not do anything wrong and he is free to board the plane! the problem was me pushing to board, he reminded them that he was in front of me but that they treated him differently, this fell on silent ears, he actually refused to board the plane and stood by me, I told him in Arabic we call this The Blue Eye Syndrome, which means if you are white then you are right but if you are dark then you can not be right!! he told me that he heard of such thing but thought it was a myth until now, he stood there listening to them threatening to rip my ticket and lock me up while I continued to tell them to stop talking rubbish and that I would only talk to their superior.
Eventually their superior came over and asked what was going on, straight away they told him that I spoke Arabic and pulled him to the side and started whispering in his ear, then I shouted to them and said be honest, do not lie like you have been doing for the last 15 minutes. Their boss came over to me few minutes later and actually was descent and polite, he asked me about what happened, before I said anything the other guy said to him that he was at the top of the que and basically told him the truth, I then gave my side of the story and since the brave British man supported me to him there was no doubt that they treated me badly, he apologised and told me to board the plane and asked me if I had any problem or a complaint, I said yes I do have a big problem with the way they treated me which obviously was because I am of an Arabic origin but that I just wanted to get back home to London where I am always respected for who I am and that I didn't want to delay the passengers any more.
I thanked the gentleman who stood by me just because he saw how badly they treated me, they made a fool of themselves in front of all the passengers and I was proud of myself for not letting little people think they can control me and scare me with their dictator attitude.

Again as I mentioned before this seems to happen to a lot people that hold European/USA passports but are not of white origin and happens all over our so called not racist Arab world, if this attitude continuous then obviously Arab countries still have a very long way before they are even half civilised.

13 comments:

All ways a Stranger said...

Al7amdullilah 3ala alsalmah

I can feel your anger, the truth is Arabs are a broken nation, they are thought to bow to any authority figure, to accept and be grateful. It is a matter of culture ,sadly fixing such problems and complexities takes time and to change the societies in whole, if you travel to "more liberal" Arab countries you may notice a slightly better treatment and more respect.
for me my self I always try to travel either business or first class(even when it's sometimes beyond my means), not seeking extra luxury or comfort, but just to escape such situations.
They wouldn't be so rude and disrespectful if every one reacted the same way you did, or if they were questioned and taken accountable of their actions, or better if complaints by passengers would be taken seriously by their management, none of that actually happens in real "Arab world"
keep your spirit up, you wont the battle and won the war!

Salam and good luck

Arak Tree said...

Hello Anglo-Libyan

I am so glad to here that this problem was solved eventually, But i am so sad that the british guy was more brave and reliable than the egyptian ones who treated you badly.
Those kind of people everywhere not only in egypt, even in libya.
I don't know why they did some thing like that, may be because they lack the Self-confidence, or only because their respect to white people than there brothers and sisters, if they have one!!

I hate this kind of dirty creatures everywhere.

إذا سبني نذل تزايدت رفعة

وماالعيب الا أن أكون مساببه

ولو لم تكن نفسي علي عزيزة

لمكنتها من كل نذل تحاربه

keep your head up.

Salam

elekomm - إليكــم said...

السلام عليكم

من حقك أن تغضب أخي عبد الله فالغالبية العظمى من مطارات الدول العربية بالذات الافريقية منها ليست في المستوى سواء من حيث البناء والتجهيزات أو الموظفين .

ذات يوم وعند عودتي من القاهرة إلى بنغازي عن طريق ميناء القاهرة الجوي استوقفوني حوالى 15 دقيقة لحدوث مشكلة بين الموظفين أحداهم (وهي موظفة أمنية )سمحت لي بالعبور والاخر موظف أراد تفتيش حقيبتي لانه شك في بعض الصور التي ظهرت له من خلال الكاشف ، وطبعاً جاء المدير الاعلى رتبة وتعالت الاصوات وللاسف جميع المسافرين يشاهدون ويسمعون , وبينما أنا واقف انتظر وحقيبتي مفتوحة يطلب مني باقي الموظفين الاقل رتب بعض الهدايا وانا ارفض ، حتى فض النزاع وسمحوا لي بالمغادرة

كان معي في نفس المكان مراسل احد القنوات الاخبارية العربية آكل نصيبه هو والمصورة التي كانت معه ، بالاضافة إلى موظفين لشركة أعتقد صينية كان لهم نصيب الاسد من اللاأحترام فهم لا يتكلمون العربية ولا الانجليزية

أعذرني أن أطلت أو خرجت عن سياق
الموضوع

تحياتي

Anonymous said...

Welcome back AL. Its good to see you back. Your blog is like a home for us and your absence for a while worried us. I'm glad all is well. Regarding the unfortunate incident you had in Egypt, I had a very similar incident there a while back now, to the extent that I vowed to avoid visiting another "Arab" country again due to the despicable and potentially dangerous attitude I faced. This is a shame, but there is a difference in the way Arabs treat each other vs "whites", and many "whites" are also disgusted by this as well. Its called "3uqdat Al5awaga" and it very much thrives in the Middle east, India and many "developing" countries. My advice AL to anyone going to one of these areas is to be careful, people have ended up in very dangerous situations. I now just avoid these places if can help it. AL, please more posting, we feel lonely with out you!!

white african said...

welcome back to the blogging world :)

sorry for what happened to you, its sooo frustrating when it happens, and these people dont seem to understand why we get angry or frustrated and expect us to just accept it !

i hate the attitude and the walk that comes with it as well, they think because they have a uniform and work at the airport that it gives them the right to be arrogant and wave you away.

MusicLover said...

Just posted your post on Twitter so that other nationalities know that we are also treated differently even in our own airports. Good to hear from you again, hope to see you again on Twitter.

Earth Hour 2010 Official video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FclcMfzjwug

Anglo-Libyan said...

All ways a stranger
Arak Tree
Elekomm
Anonymous
White African and
Music Lover

thank you all, great to see you here :o)

tripoline said...

lol, you argued with airport officials and then used "Arab world" and "civilized" in the same sentence! Welcome back, hope you're ok.

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