August 04, 2004

Iraqi saboteurs barred from Memphis City Hall, evacuation plan readied, bomb squad on speed dial

From the Associated Press (link now dead):

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Iraqis visiting on a civil rights tour were barred from city hall after the city council chairman said it was too dangerous to let them in.

The seven Iraqi civic and community leaders are in the midst of a three-week American tour, sponsored by the State Department to learn more about the process of government. The trip also includes stops in Washington, Los Angeles and Chicago.

The Iraqis were scheduled to meet with a city council member, but Joe Brown, the council chair, said he feared the group was dangerous.

"We don't know exactly what's going on. Who knows about the delegation, and has the FBI (news - web sites) been informed?" Brown said. "We must secure and protect all the employees in that building."

Elisabeth Silverman, the group's host and head of the Memphis Council for International Visitors, said Brown told her he would "evacuate the building and bring in the bomb squads" if the group entered.

"They are in charge of setting up processes in their country. They have to educate themselves about how it works in this country," Silverman said.

(emphasis mine)

How ignorant, racist, and alarmist can you be?

"Gee, we don't get none too many of you towel heads round these here parts, so you must a being look for trouble of some sort. We don't take none too kindly to strangers so gon git now, ya hear?"

The Iraqi delegation were invited by the State Department ...and this guy probably wanted to check with the Feds to make sure they were aware a potential terrorist cell was present in Memphis, Tennessee. Apparently, Councilman Brown subscribes to the same illogical equation as most uneducated Americans: Bin Ladin is from the Middle East and is a terrorist, therefore, all Middle Easterners are terrorists.

The Iraqi delegation learned their first lesson in the politics of exclusion and privelidged access to those in power. Hopefully they didn't write that down in their notes.

Posted by Kyer at August 4, 2004 12:42 PM