Man Detained And Misses Flight For Speaking Tamil

A man missed his flight last Saturday after an airport worker overheard him speaking Tamil, a South Asian language, on his cell phone. The worker reported the “suspicious” behavior and airport security held the passenger was for questioning.

    ” [Airport spokesman] Bob Parker had no explanation as to why a man speaking Tamil, which is spoken worldwide, would be considered suspicious…

    Parker said the man was cooperative and boarded a later flight to Texas. He told officials that he would not speak in a foreign language on his cell phone at an airport in the future.”

Remain vigilant against terrorism. Read the sign above. At airports, bridges, and national monuments, report sightings of speech bubbles containing similar script.

Man questioned and misses flight for speaking Tamil” [Seattle PI]

Comments

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  1. amazon says:

    I’m sure I’m going to be the only one, but what I read was “airport spokesman Bob BARKER” and immediately wondered what that man was doing speaking for an airport.
    oops.

  2. RandomHookup says:

    Tamil is spoken worldwide in the same sense that Flemish is spoken around the world.

  3. Pelagius says:

    ATTENTION FOREIGNERS: Please do not fly on our airlines or use our airports for connecting flights. We don’t want your strangely colored money, anyway.

  4. Jess A. says:

    Tamil is spoken worldwide in the same sense that Flemish is spoken around the world.

    I’m not sure what that has to do with the story. Speaking a language other than English in an airport is no reason to detain and interrogate a passenger.

  5. kerry says:

    According to Wikipedia, Tamil is spoken by 74 million people predominantly in 4 countries, and has smaller communities of speakers in other countries (the US probably being one of them). Jess beat me to it, but whether the guy was speaking a “worldwide” language or not, he certainly didn’t deserve to be detained for it.

  6. madderhatter says:

    I’m not sure what that has to do with the story. Speaking a language other than English in an airport is no reason to detain and interrogate a passenger.

    If you’re in an “all English speaking” airport where nobody understands what you’re saying it could be a big deal. And Tamil being spoken worldwide ? I’ve never even heard of it before … then again I’m not from South Asia either.

  7. Sheik says:

    I cant believe how ignorant some people can be. I am continuously suprised.

  8. madderhatter says:

    Hmm, no surprise there.

  9. kerry says:

    madderhatter:
    I’ve never been in an airport that was “all English speaking.” I would imagine most airports sort of get that they’re going to encounter passengers who don’t speak the local language, or speak a non-English local language (like Spanish).

  10. pbasra says:

    why am i not surprised, this is why i try not to fly through or go to the US. I’ve had to make 2 trips this year and both times was detained to either almost missing a flight or missing an appointment because Homeland “Security” deems people of colour a security threat

  11. JackieTreehorn says:

    Americans would report somemone speaking Spanish as suspicious. Because we are dumb and xenophobic. And dumb.

  12. Anyone not speaking American in this country is probably a terrorist. or at least a terrorist sympathizer.

    Ugh. Everyday, I am amazed at this country’s ignorance to anyone not like them. We are not a White Christian nation. Get over it.

  13. Manue says:

    “he would not speak in a foreign language on his cell phone at an airport in the future.”

    uh… Where can I buy the multi-lingual chip? My brain does not have it yet (French, English and German only ~ what should I do in Mexican airports, or in Japan???)

  14. LafinJack says:

    No, that’s bullshit. Completely unacceptable conduct by the airpot. Next time I’m in an airport I’m going to start speaking loud pseudo-Arabic into my cellphone in the middle of the terminal. I’m not sure anyone will fall for it, though, as I’m about as white as a person can get. But I’ll try!

  15. North of 49 says:

    American is not a language. English is.

  16. moejuda says:

    The English would probably disagree with you.

  17. EBW says:

    Tamil is also a Dravidian language, meaning it’s historically related to English as part of the Indo-European language family–it’s not related to Arabic (and doesn’t sound at all like Arabic). And you may not have heard of it, but it has as many speakers as Korean and Vietnamese, and is an official language in India, Sri Lanka and Singapore.

    I guess Speaking While Brown is now a crime, too.

  18. spinachdip says:

    If you’re in an “all English speaking” airport where nobody understands what you’re saying it could be a big deal.

    Holy fucking shit! A non-English language spoken in an American airport? Now I’ve heard everything!

  19. Tankueray says:

    Did anyone else notice how poorly that article was written? Unless someone recognized that he was speaking Tamil, who in the brain trust of airport security figured that one out? (OMG! He’s speaking in tongues! Call the preacher!) “It’s nu-cue-lar Lisa, nu-cue-lar.” -Homer Simpson. I guess if we all spoke very rudely in the past-tense, the airlines wouldn’t have a problem.

  20. North of 49- I know, I was being sarcastic. Sorry if that didn’t come across.

  21. synergy says:

    Dr. Paul Proteus, the sarcasm comes across if you spell the “language” American just like its users pronouce it – Uhmurkun. ;)