The recent attempt to detonate explosives by a Nigerian terrorist on a Detroit-bound
Northwest Airlines plane will mean additional random checks and full body scans for
air passengers. As a person of South Asian origin, I have had the opportunity of
being selected at random almost every time I traveled by air. Once, while waiting
in line for the security check, a security attendant, conducting a thorough screening
of a passenger with his electronic detector, tried to lighten the mood of the nervous
traveler by suggesting that the traveler imagine the body check as a free massage.
It would be wishful thinking to hope that full body scans will do away with the
current requirement of having to remove all keys, coins, watches, belts, metallic
objects, jewelry and footwear. Due to tighter security regulations, full body scans
will probably be in addition to, and not a substitute for, the existing litany of
checks. Future travelers are in for a total out of body experience, however well
the security personnel try to massage the message.
What’s Up Down Under? 12
Indian students have been attacked in several Australian cities resulting in the
death of one student. An Indian cab driver was recently attacked by his passengers.
There are more than 70,000 Indian students in Australian universities and the international
student sector is Australia’s third largest export totaling almost 13 billion Australian
dollars in 2007-2008. There has already been a drop of 20% in the 2010 enrollment
of Indian students in Australian universities negatively impacting the Australian
economy by 78 million Australian dollars, based on one estimate. Australian authorities
have stated that the attacks were committed by opportunistic miscreants and are not
bias-related crimes. While there is a slim possibility that bias was not a factor,
all the victims of the attacks have been Indians and continuing attacks on other
Indians strengthens the case for the Indian population who say that these are racially
motivated crimes. If the assailants are not arrested and / or further attacks continue,
Indian students will stop enrolling at Australian universities and the loss of billions
of dollars will be a costly education for Australia on the need to provide a safe
environment to guests who are aiding the host economy.