By David Swanson
Here’s a columnist in Media General newspapers named Scott Hollifield ridiculing Raed Jarrar’s settlement that gave him $240,000 as compensation for having been thrown off an airplane for looking middle-eastern and wearing a t-shirt with Arabic words on it. This is an on-going problem. A whole family was thrown off an airplane at National Airport in Washington, D.C., a couple of weeks ago because they looked middle-eastern and one of them said to another that they should sit in the safest seats. Now, it’s possible that a $240,000 penalty would be enough to change the behavior of an airline if repeated a few times, but this money is coming from the federal government, which now throws around trillions like they were millions. The purpose of the penalty is not to measure the suffering, although that should not be mocked. While Mr. Hollified may or may not have felt bad when he was accused of being a biker, I have no doubt that Raed, who works night and day to save lives, felt physically ill when accused of trying to destroy lives. The purpose is to end the discrimination. Raed was not, like Hollifield, offered the opportunity to turn his shirt inside out and remain on the flight. He was removed under suspicion of wanting to engage in mass-murder. So was that entire family. So are others, quite frequently, at airports and elsewhere in this country. Dredging up a petty offense from your drunken past with which to mock the victims of official and widespread discrimination is something only a Media General columnist or perhaps George W. Bush would think of.