Page 6 - Silent Violence
P. 6

Unlike other airports where potluck or bad-luck
depicted whether you were selected by the
customs officers, here nothing was left to chance.

   After retrieving our baggage and loading the
trolley, we joined the line of jaded travellers.
Another plane must have arrived for there was
already a long queue of Asians to our right.

   Arab nationals were whisked through a third

   In the queue, well ahead of us, was a drunkard.
Drink had been flowing and free on the flight and
many had drunk as if there was no tomorrow. He
was not loud and reeling, but I could see that his
disgruntled mutterings were affecting neighbouring
people. Those in his vicinity wished for hats, or
high collars. They fussed with their bags, became
absorbed by a wall or verged on slinking away.
When his turn came and he heaved his cases upon
the counter and opened them I expected a scene.
I don't know whether respect or fear came into
play, but like everyone else he knuckled down and
was meek. Yet, his mutterings and overall
dissatisfaction remained with me. They spoke of
an antipathy that I would see again and again as
an undertow of cynicism, an invisible force: the

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