I was in the kitchen, listening to some TV announcer drone on in the background about new airport security screening guidelines, when it hit me.
MY first name is Arabic.
I've used a shortened version of my middle name for so long I didn't even think about my first name until I'd heard the latest Homeland Security directive for the umpteenth time that decreed special handling of passengers with Muslim names.
All Arabic names are not Muslim names, but all Muslim names, at least according to our security guidelines, are Arabic.
It's a good thing I don't fly that much. Even if I do, I don't think I will feel much different than I already do when I get on a plane. I'm terrified as it is at the idea of a steel tube hurtling through the air with me in it. Changing a light bulb is a challenge - flying several thousand feet in the air is almost incomprehensible.
Since I always think I am about to die when I get on an airplane, the idea of a terrorist possibly being on board wouldn't change things a bit. In fact, knowing how safely the authorities would want the plane to land so they could take the terrorist alive might take my airplane anxiety down a notch or two.
The announcer kept going on about heightened security, and what the Obama administration was doing about it. I walked down the hall, her voice shrinking to nothingness, and wondered to myself just when the land of the free and the home of the brave had turned into the land of the terrorized and the home of the scared.
Bill O'Reilly has never spoken truer words than his statement last year - "we can't kill all the Muslims" - and yet the public is willing to totally ignore what the root causes of this intense hatred might be, relying instead on our government's ability to find every needle in every haystack, an impossible task if there ever was one for ANY president, not just President Obama.
The picture above is the original Arabic version of the English translation that graces my South Carolina birth certificate. Unless I change it, which is highly unlikely, since I've had it so long, I guess I need to start getting ready for a lifetime of strip searches from here on in.
Thank god my parents had the foresight to switch up and make my middle name a Hindu one - otherwise, I'd probably have to get to the airport a day in advance.