Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A letter from an Iranian friend ...

Hello all,

Something interesting (funny but alarming) happened to me today. I got back from my Nicaragua trip yesterday and had a FBI card waiting for me at the door with a message for me to call back! OK I have been "randomly" selected before at school for engineer/scientist screening they have and I had heard that they are doing it quite often these days so I thought this is one of them. So i wasn't terribly concerned.

I called the guy and left a message for him. Today he calls back and he apologizes for the inconvenience and says it is not a big deal and he just needs to ask few questions. I tell him that I am familiar with this "random" screening and it is OK. He says no this is another story. After asking what my status is and where i am from and what i do, he asks me if i travel a lot and I say yes and he asks me domestic or international and I say both. Work or Pleasure? Both...And here goes the story:

In one of my travels, I am writing some notes in a language that is not English. The person next to me is alarmed. I also have a Time magazine that I am reading. It has my name and address on it. She/He writes takes the info from there. Calls FBI and informs them. The FBI guy told me that the person told them that I had also written in English: " I am learning a lot from these flights" and this might be made up but he wants to know if it is true. I laugh hard. I usually write e-mail to friends that i haven't written for a while on trips and save them on my laptop and send it when i get Internet access. I vaguely remember writing something about reading and learning a lot during my long flights to somebody.

The FBI guys says that he knows this is ridiculous but wants to know if I have any bad intentions towards United states? I laugh again and say if me saying No will suffice. The guy says Yes and I say OK No; and he says I believe you!

He apologizes again and tells me if i ever needed any help to call him.

The whole story leaves me wondering . It is stupid to the point that makes you laugh but then you start wondering these type of stupidities can really cause serious problems.

Anyway, I just wanted to share it with you and to let you know to be aware when you are using your "non-English" language when writing or talking on your cell phones on the plane ...

Take care,



Anonymous said...

Wow Machan...pretty eventful trip u seem to be having!

Tue Nov 28, 11:22:00 PM EST  
Ideamani said...

Its not me ! This happened to an Iranian friend of mine ....

Tue Nov 28, 11:24:00 PM EST  
Anonymous said...

he he..!!! sry..!!! mistaken!! :)

Tue Nov 28, 11:45:00 PM EST  
Anonymous said...

it also happened to one tamil person flying from seattle. he was speaking in tamil to a friend on the phone while on the plane. people around him got alarmed because of the strange language and he was asked to deplane and questioned. as usual it was the stupid public who have been terrorised by the media being over cautious.

i would take your advise seriously. while travelling, make it a point to talk in english (maybe spanish?) on the phone, with fellow passengers. unless, ofcourse you are flying air india.

Wed Nov 29, 10:24:00 PM EST  
Shyam said...

Bloody HELL, now you cant even speak in a non-English language w/o getting arrested or at least questioned??? wow!

Fri Dec 01, 05:40:00 AM EST  
Diviya said...

Well, look like the land of dreams is on its way to becoming the land of the big nightmare!

Thu Jan 18, 02:01:00 AM EST  

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