Wednesday, March 4, 2009

One World?


My travel destinations
*
I stand on the pavement outside of the battleship grey (sorry ... 'gray') building with its bars, cameras and security guards. Only for personal reasons (and this being the procedure one must go through) will I stand in this line, like one of a herd of cattle.

A disembodied female voice over the intercom blares out the list of documents we must have ready and ...

"NO ELECTRONIC ITEMS INTO THE BUILDING! If you have a cellular phone, take it BACK to your car or PAY to leave it in the shop at the corner!"

When it is time, they begin to herd us one by one through the heavy gates, checking our bags upon entry.

I am standing behind a woman with a baby in her arms and two bags on her shoulders. The female guard barks at her from behind the closed gate:

"You CAN'T go in there with your cellular phone! Take it BACK to your car!"

Her father is with her. He quietly takes the phone from her and walks away with it.

"You CAN'T go in there with two bags!!!"

"But one has the baby's things in it," the young woman responds softly. I see her body stiffening ... perhaps with fear and anger.

Long silence.

The guard eventually snaps: "Okay!"

She opens the gate, just enough to let the woman, baby and two bags squeeze through. Open too wide and the whole herd might come stampeding in.

My turn. I am let in. My bag is checked. No explosives or weapons. I am allowed to move forward. Through the metal detector. No beeps. I am told to follow the woman in front of me to the line and to have my documents ready.

I submit my passports and completed forms. I go to sit down. I watch people enter. Some look like they've been through this so many times they know it by heart. Some look hopeful. Some are expressionless. Some nervous. Everyone is moving carefully, lest they say or do the wrong thing.

I've never seen Trinis so well behaved.

A woman emerges from the metal detector and enters the space where we are. I can see only her eyes. The rest of her is shrouded in a heavy black hijab. Everyone is looking at her, perhaps wondering the same thing that is crossing my mind ...

"Will they give it to her?"

7 comments:

simone said...

How can you possibly identify someone who covers up practically her entire face? That is just ridiculous. I wish more muslim women would stand up against this.

Elspeth said...

Covering not only the face but the entire body. The shape of a woman's body ceases to be recognisable, quite like being under a tent made for the human form. But ... are all of them against it? Maybe not. Maybe it's mainly women who don't wear hijabs who are against it. I don't know. I've never asked or spoken to a woman (who wears a hijab) about it - how she feels.

Ann said...

That would make a good short story

Shubhajit said...

an excellent satire!

Women surely not feel very good with Hijab but they are used to it..every society has some laws and regulations and people got use to it..especially in Oriental and Muslim societies..

As my personal opinion I do not find any logic behind hijab or any such nonsense...

meadysmusings said...

Hmmm...interesting to I came to this post to read or explore how you felt about the one world concept as it is somethign I've been into since my teens... http://www.oneworld.net

I've never understood why us human beings should be restricted to where we could throd on the big blue...and felt the future world should be we could go live, love, breathe etc where ever we wished...

I think many people in theory feel like me but of course on the practical side...I can see it coming though...

I didnt really see it about the hijab bit...some muslim women infact many muslim women voluntarily don it...as a non-muslim woman and can see the pros and cons of it...I think the point is people world over just want to be free...freedom means different things for different people...so once the hijab is not forced on a woman so be it...

And you would be surprised the chic got the visa...the US is a very diverse multi-cultural place...check out the Youtube channel for Al-Jazeera by the way where Riz Khan of Q&A fame decided to go work so...he could get a different persepective on life...see it from a side he didnt know...also Queen Rani has her own channel...of course she doesnt wear hijab...and for sure there will be instances where women are forced against their will to do so...as goes on world over in reality people over the world arent really free...not even in their minds sometimes!;)

Elspeth said...

I don't agree with restriction - and that includes geographical restriction. I don't know if anyone noticed, but I altered the map above. The irony of it is that simply by having a visa denied, that portion of the world is currently non existent for me.

Lynn said...

I am coming here late, after reading the next post first...so yes, I see what is missing on the map...now.

I had an arguement with my cousin one day when we were sitting in a park in Sacramento, the capitol city of California. Three young women dressed in long coats over long dresses and wearing head coverings (faces visable) but obviuosly in the garb of their country walked by. She felt these women should dress "American" becuase they were now living in America! (Maybe they were just visiting but that's beside the point.) I said they might have religious reasons for dressing modestly as they were compared to our norm. She went on and on about when in Rome, etc. I stood up for the women in the foriegn garb, saying it was their right to dress as they pleased. And I found their "costumes" attractive, interesting...lovely in fact, as were they.