The Clash hates freedom

Now it probably had nothing to do with the fact that Indian-born Harraj Mann was named Harraj Mann, but the 24-year-old was frogmarched off his plane at Heathrow Airport after a taxi driver reported him to the authorities.

The driver had been tipped off by music the young man had been playing in the car -- The Clash's London Calling and, ironically, Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song.

The lyrics to London Calling that not only got the driver worried but which prompted the authorities to take the extreme measures they did? "Now war is declared -- and battle come down" while other lines warn of a "meltdown expected."

Yeah, well: Ring around the rosie/pocket full of posies/ashes ashes/we all fall down. That song's about the Black Plague but we don't see kiddies hauled off planes.

The reality is this: the driver's impulse, benevolent though it may have been, seems to have been fueled by ethnic suspicions. The agents he spoke with, while they may have taken that into account, must respond to the fear communicated by the tipster. They're ultimately responsible for the safety of those on the plane, as they're responsible for upholding the standards of a free society, which supposedly England is.

I'm just saying, it's not evil, it's slightly comical, it's horribly frustrating, it's endlessly complex. (Reuters)

--> Sign up for Peek in your inbox... every morning! (Go here and check Peek box).

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.