If Only They’d Crooned “The Indian Love Call”

As yet the facts are unclear, but when a Canadian airliner left Toronto bound for Panama today, a disruptive passenger – probably either mentally ill, or drunk – made threats that he was going to “blow up Canada”.

In their usual haste to be first with the news, the US media carried varying accounts, but it seems unlikely this man was to be taken too seriously, other than as someone requiring restraint. The pilots made the decision to return to Toronto.

Until this point everything appeared under control. Then, it was decided to send two US F-16 fighter jets “to accompany the plane to Toronto”. Scrambling jet fighters to ‘escort an airliner’ has always seemed something of an irrelevance to this writer. What are they supposed to do?

If a suicide bomber is on board an aircraft, are the F-16s designed to intimidate him to the point he removes his underpants (with bomb attached?) and hands them to a passing stewardess?

If, instead, he’s blows up the plane, are the fighter pilots supposed to swoop down like Supermen and pluck falling passengers from the ether? Hardly. Isn’t it all just a waste of petrol?

Of course, this Canadian didn’t have a bomb – just an apparent grudge against the Canadian tax system. He was eventually taken into custody by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at Toronto airport.

Those were the days

Sadly, those halcyon days of Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy crooning, “When I’m calling you…oo…oo…oo, oo…oo…ooooooo,” across the Canadian wilderness, have all passed into history. Today, the RCMP ain’t at all romantic.

Frankly, if aboard an aircraft hijacked by a dozen nutty Muslim fanatics armed to the teeth and determined to die for Allah, I might welcome the intrusion of this lot, but for one crazy passenger, this was nothing more than sheer overkill.

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I, for one, would prefer NOT to be protected in this way. Once upon a time, a couple of burly policemen would have discreetly entered the plane and escorted the unfortunate passenger onto the tarmac, all the while apologizing to the other passengers for disturbing their flight.

And if you’re not old enough to remember, let me tell you that’s no fairytale. It’s how it was done – pre-9/11, of course.

And they think the terrorists haven’t won!

6 Replies to “If Only They’d Crooned “The Indian Love Call””

  1. Of course the terrorists have won. And they are breeding like rabbits and emerging from under their camouflage in Israel and Russia and just about every other country. They walk among us. Armed to the teeth or in fighter jets.

    And blow up children for sport.


  2. It is said that one man’s ‘terrorist’ is another man’s ‘freedom fighter’.That may be true. But it is the question of the methods they employ.

    Once, at a communist party meeting, I asked the speaker if he believed that the ends always justified the means. He replied ‘the ends dictate the means’. Quite a smart reply, which pretty well sums up the philosophy of terrorists/freedom fighters of whatever cause, belief, ideology. The idea that those in power have got such a stranglehold that protesting by peaceful/legal means just does not work. And they may have a point.

    But it is always the ordinary folk – the ones in the middle – who suffer. Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, the Ukraine, Gaza. And, of course, closer to home: Ireland. It’s all there, writ large.

    I am always wary of fanatics: people so devoted to a cause that they are prepared to go to any lengths, any cost to forward that cause. And fanatics are a psychological type who always NEED a cause.

    But you could say: it is the ‘fanatics’ who have brought about major changes in society; fought for justice, equality and all of that. Well, maybe. I would still be wary though.

    Remember that song in the sixties…

    ‘Come with us, come with us,
    We’re going to change your world,
    You’ll be amazed when we’ve rearranged your world –
    We’re gonna change your world.

    Well, yes, thank you. But can we talk about this?

  3. I missed 4 important words out of that song…

    ‘You’ll be amazed SO FULL OF PRAISE
    When we’ve rearranged your world’

    …important, not just because it doesn’t scan without them…

  4. WWW – certainly, politically the terrorists have the upper hand. Our leaders have shown a distinct lack of both courage and professionalism in their approach to dealing with the threat. This cowardice is not, however, fear of the terrorist so much as panic that their political careers might be in jeopardy. Such is the state of US (and to a lesser extent, UK) politics today a politician’s main concern is losing the not inconsiderable benefits of his/her office should another fatal terrorist attack occur. Hence, the proverbial ‘sledgehammer to swat a fly’ approach, actually creating greater fear among the public, which is exactly what the terrorist is all about.

    George – I think your definition of ‘fanatic’ is a good one. According to the Oxford Dictionary the word springs from the Latin fanaticus – ‘of a temple, inspired by a god’. By the mid-17th century the adjective was used to describe a ‘religious maniac’. It’s use has broadened over time and now relates to anyone considered to have more than an average fascination with almost any topic.

    I find it interesting that so much that once related solely to religious matters now permeates our political scene. Here, in the US, despite the separation of church and state as set out in the First Amendment of the Constitution, no politician in recent history has ever stood any chance of being elected unless publicly professing the Christian faith (in one form or another). However, that’s a digression, but the line between a religious and political fanatic has now become so blurred it’s often impossible to differentiate between the two.

    You’re correct that it’s always the ‘ordinary’ folk who suffer the most from the antics of fanatics. And yet, I wonder if there isn’t a little of the fanatic in us all? Whether it’s the fanatical stamp collector, fitness freak, or Jehovah’s Witness knocking at your door.

    Of course, most fanatics aren’t terrorists, though your communist party speaker seemed content to resort to violence, when he considered it necessary. Here, surely, is the crux. It’s the power-hungry fanatic who is the real danger in the world. I’m convinced that both politics and religion are merely vehicles highjacked by those who would seek power and status by any means and at any price – whether it’s the kidnapping and rape of 300 schoolgirls in Nigeria, the slaughter of hundreds of Palestinians on the order of Israeli politicians, or the murder of 3,000 innocents in the World Trade Center.

    Those who would, “…rearrange our world,” their way, and insist that we like it…or else!

  5. Even your “burly cops” nowadays are scary as Hell, RJ. Did you read about Eric Garner last week? Killed by (illegal) choke hold (he was asthmatic and pleaded again and again for them to stop, they refused). He wasn’t being violent before this – at all.


    I recall friendly policemen in the town where I grew up, they rode around on bikes, only too happy to help in any way they could (PC 49 an’ all that)….what happened? The world has truly gone bonkers.

  6. Twilight – yes, and Garner was yet another of too many stories revealing the police for what they’ve become these days. We’re almost immune to such media accounts, they happen so frequently. Police brutality is now just another fact of life. Like you, I well remember when a policeman was your friend (if you weren’t a criminal). Now, we regard them all with fear and suspicion.

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