Good idea, "M.S."

The Economist” has published a blog post of sorts, as part of their “Remembering 9/11” efforts. Weak efforts. Remembering the most destructive, disruptive and tide changing act of terrorism in our century is important, and expressing the thoughts that pop up in our heads and hearts when that fateful day is remembered is important. However, a mediocre blog post on the economist’s web page should perhaps be avoided.

Musings about security is something we do here every day, and it could perhaps be said that much of what we say and do is mundane and less than important in the bigger picture, and we would disagree. Whatever the opinion might be, we try, at least, to avoid being petty, and we try to understand, and make others understand. This is where the anonymous Economist writer, calling himself simply “M.S.” has failed miserably.

He doesn’t want to remember 9/11. He doesn’t want to try to understand. He wants to vent his own, personal frustration, and he wants the world to know that he’s irritated and feels that his personal preferences and comfort should supercede everything else, and preferrably everyone else. It’s hardly appropriate at all.

Embassy Security

Now, titling your blog post “The feelings of security” is something that’s pretty much bound to catch our attention. It’s strange, then, to realize that MS’ blog post isn’t about security at all. Yes, he mentions embassy security, and he mentions border security – sort of – but that’s where it ends. Here’s the deal:

MS is peeved because his American citizen children need US passports to enter the US… Yes, you read that right. That’s what this “Remembering 9/11” blog post boils down to. MS doesn’t like the fact that he has to go to the US embassy and renew his children’s passports, and he doesn’t like the fact that he has to stand in line to pass embassy security. He doesn’t like the fact that his wife bringing her laptop to the embassy makes for trouble and delays (something they would have known if they’d bothered to read the embassy’s website…) and he doesn’t understand that the guards are actually doing them a favor by letting them wait until everyone else is inside, then letting them have their laptop there instead of just sending them away.

MS doesn’t, for some reason, understand that US citizens need US passports to enter the US. It’s simply staggering. Everyone needs a passport to enter any country (except when travelling inside the EU – you only need a passport at the outer “edge” of the thing), and that it is a normal and very prolific practice to demand that children are either added to their parents’ passport, or have passports in the same nationality as them. What MS doesn’t understand is that this is for his, his wife’s and his children’s safety as well as for the well being of the country.

MS goes on to complain about the delays they encounter when they’re done being ignorant at the security checkpoint. He complains that the consular officer “doesn’t show up” until 2 hours after their “appointment”, not realizing (again because he hasn’t bothered to check up on procedures and the embassy system) that their “appointment” is merely a confirmation that they will have their business tended to that day, and that the “appointments” is simply to make sure that everyone doesn’t show up at 7am, or make miles of lines outside the embassy, which would be a security risk both to visitors, employees and the compound itself. He doesn’t understand that there are other things to do at a US diplomatic mission than tending to his personal needs when he finds it fitting to show up.

Let’s repeat something – the blog post that MS has posted to “The Economist” is a part of the “Remembering 9/11” effort… Just making sure you don’t forget. This is MS’ way of remembering 9/11.

MS uses the second half of his post to describe a “strange” happening at a concert house, where “a tall, olive-skinned, handsome guy in a dark suit” strides onto the stage and apparently wants to lead a prayer to Allah. There’s no threat of violence, there’s no uproar, there’s no running feet stampeding to exits. There’s no reason for it.

MS remarks on the apparent “craziness” of Dutch security to let “someone” (apparently he means olive-skinned handsome guys) come that close to the Queen, who was also in attendance. He remarks that “security is virtually non existant”, which is in itself a funny way of seeing things. How does he know? Doesn’t he realize that security is more than checkpoints and uniforms? Apparently not. And again… what does this have to do with remembering 9/11? Nothing that we can see, at least. Again, it’s the personal complaint of MS that security measures inconvenience him. And his wife. His kids probably don’t give a sh!t.

Is a poorly researched, poorly written blog posts about completely unrelated, personal annoyance about security measures that amount to…nothing…really an appropriate way to “Remember 9/11”? We don’t think so, really. And frankly, we’d like the 3 minutes it took to read the thing and scan the comments back. Time is money, as the Economist should know, so we’ll be sending them an invoice. A hearty one.


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