What’s in the freedom of right to carry what one wills on a departing flight? A bomb on a plane- no that’s an obvious no. How about a gun? Again another no. A withered hard cover copy of the latest celebrity gossip- of course, assuming you don’t intend to throw or beat people up with it on the plane, that’s an instant pass.
Hmm, okay how about a book describing the teachings of Lenin and Karl Marx? Well that might get you a few sneers but one can reasonably assume you’d still be able to get on the plane and make your final destination. What though if you tried to get on the plane and you are carrying anarchist literature? Say like leaflets dubbed the ‘Bank of Ideas,’ challenging the hegemony of the banking industry? Brief pause. That’s right you will be promptly barred from getting on the plane as one Occupy London protester, John Charles Culatto had the displeasure of finding out when he recently tried to get on a Ryanair flight to Malaga from Bristol, for fear that he might begin distributing leaflets on the plane and generally upsetting passengers.
independent.co.uk: John Charles Culatto, 34, claimed he was approached by police at Bristol International Airport who told him they had seen him “acting suspiciously” on the airport’s CCTV system when he stopped to talk to fellow travellers.
He said he went to airport security an hour before his flight was due to depart, where staff found posters in his bag linked to the anarchist group Crimethinc and refused to allow him through until they had contacted the airline. He claimed he overheard security staff who were examining his luggage using the word “terrorism”.
When he finally got to the boarding gate, he claimed he was prevented from boarding by staff. Mr Culatto said: “[I was told] that because of the very remote possibility I could distribute leaflets on the plane and upset people, the captain had decided not to take me aboard.”
If one had overheard this at a bar one might be suspicious to think this was all being made up, but it is not. It actually happened the other day. Which is to say not only are physical things that you may choose to carry onboard subjected to scrutiny, but it now seems so are the ideas that you may choose to inspire yourself with.
In some parts of the word that’s called totalitarianism, but at Ryanair and one wonders what other airliners these days that’s called keeping things ‘stabilized.’ Stabilized? That sounds like a convenient word one can use to usurp one’s ideological will and agenda, otherwise there’s always that celebrity rag you threw away just before you got on the flight to keep you from thinking too much about things that might otherwise might be unsettling.
A spokesman for Servisair, which manages the departure gates, said Mr Culatto was stopped because he arrived at the gate after it closed because of the time it took to clear security. He said the decision not to allow him to fly was taken by the airline.
Ryanair called the allegations “complete and utter rubbish”.
Utter rubbish or just another convenient way to deny the obvious?
Don’t you wish you could one day live in an equitable tolerable society where all manners of ideas and expressions were tolerated? Who can say, after all
the establishment’s passenger safety must always come first. Wonder where we’ve heard that one before…?