Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Miami Port Scare

Port of Miami (Ship Technology)
Just as quickly as it came, the news story of the Miami Port scare on Sunday has been swept under the rug with no more reporting.

How did the Miami piece have racial overtones? Well, just the fact that it made the news in the first place. The media was very careful to mention that the three men under suspicion were Middle Eastern (Iraqi and Lebanese). Essentially, the problem was rooted in a language barrier and there was some miscommunication between the driver and the inspector. However, once the details were ironed out (i.e., the cargo matched the manifest to a T), the men were hauled into the police station and charged with resisting arrest and trespassing (charges which were later dropped completely.)

My question to you is this: do you think that this is the first time that there was a miscommunication issue at the Port of Miami? With the place being one of the busiest ports in the nation, one must believe that mistakes happen. How many breaking news stories have occurred when a white person or non-Middle Easterner has made a mistake with the inspector? I have yet to hear of one. Never mind the cost that this single security scare must have been to the taxpayers of Miami, Florida, and the United States. The FBI, Department of Homeland Security, federal and local law enforcement got involved in what the Miami-Dade police spokesman dubbed "an abundance of caution." Along with an abundance of money and resources.

Of course, profiling Arabs and Middle Easterners is nothing new to America, even before 9/11 occurred. Some of us must be able to remember the rush to judgement of the Oklahoma City Bombing, in which major news sources pointed to the Middle East and their people as the culprits. Alas, come to find out it was Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, two white men avenging the government's bungling of the Waco siege.

Terrorism comes in all shapes and sizes, unfortunately. The idea that terrorism is a tactic cornered by those of Middle Eastern descent is simply wrong, and to assume that an attack is done by someone from the Middle East can hamper investigations (as in OKC) or can waste resources when a simple misunderstanding turns into a federal investigation (as in Miami.)

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