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The arab guy shouting down his mobile rushes past me at Gatwick: is it racist to be a bit spooked?

Tom Winnifrith
Thursday 24 March 2016

It was less than 24 hours after the Brussels attacks when the Mrs and I arrived at Gawtck at 4.30 AM. Given the images we had seen on our TV screens for almost the entire previous day, being in the departure lounge of an international airport was not exactly our preferred location but needs must.

As we wandered towards the terminal a guy rushed past us in a real hurry shouting loudly down his cell phone in arabic. I gave a bit of a double take and was glad he was rushing away from me. Is that racist? I am terribly sorry if admitting my feelings offends any arab speaking readers. But as Westerner I right now feel kind of offended - not to say a it scared -by yet again seeing my fellow Europeans yet again butchered by folks who speak arabic.

If I was a Guardian journalist - something we can say that will never be the case - I would probably get sacked for admitting to my feelings. But I bet that though the DNA of a lefty is embedded with guilt and political correctness - they too now feel scared in the same way I do. It is just that they don't dare admit to it.

After our encounter with our arabic speaking pal I could not get the other side of security quick enough. The Mrs wanted to go to the loo. Nope. Don't you dare. Think of dry deserts darling, lets just get through passport control to a safer haven.

Of course you are not utterly safe anywhere. But is it really offensive to say that I'd rather be in an area where all bags have been scanned and passports chequed or in an area where nothing has been chequed and a bloke is rushing past me screaming arabic into his cell phone?

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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