Shoshana Hebshi, a woman with a Saudi father & a Jewish mother, was traveling on Sept. 11, 2011, when she was detained with two Indian men who happened to be sitting in the same row as she was. When her plane arrived in Detroit, it was diverted because someone had told the crew that she & the men were acting suspiciously. Then the police entered the plane.
Someone shouted for us to place our hands on the seats in front of us, heads down. The cops ran down the aisle, stopped at my row and yelled at the three of us to get up. “Can I bring my phone?” I asked, of course. What a cliffhanger for my Twitter followers! No, one of the cops said, grabbing my arm a little harder than I would have liked. He slapped metal cuffs on my wrists and pushed me off the plane. The three of us, two Indian men living in the Detroit metro area, and me, a half-Arab, half-Jewish housewife living in suburban Ohio, were being detained.
The cops brought us to a parked squad car next to the plane, had us spread our legs and arms. Mine asked me if I was wearing any explosives. “No,” I said, holding my tongue to not let out a snarky response. I wasn’t sure what I could and could not say, and all that came out was “What’s going on?”
No one would answer me. They put me in the back of the car. It’s a plastic seat, for all you out there who have never been tossed into the back of a police car. It’s hard, it’s hot, and it’s humiliating. The Indian man who had sat next to me on the plane was already in the backseat. I turned to him, shocked, and asked him if he knew what was going on. I asked him if he knew the other man that had been in our row, and he said he had just met him. I said, it’s because of what we look like. They’re doing this because of what we look like. And I couldn’t believe that I was being arrested and taken away.
After four hours of sitting in a cell with a full bladder, she was questioned by Homeland Security & FBI agents. They eventually released her & the two Indians from custody. A policeman drove her to her car in an airport parking lot & she drove home. Apparently Ms. Hebshi & the Indian men got swept up because of the high state of alert due to the news stories stating Al Qaeda had sent three operatives to make an attack in the US during the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Well, hearing this story, I now have the suspicion that the Al Qaeda attack rumor was supposed to make Americans freak out & attack each other. We fell for it.
Read the account on her blog: Some real Shock and Awe: Racially profiled and cuffed in Detroit
Hat tip to Boing Boing.