While the news is usually focused on hate, corruption, and crime, not all is lost. While your favorite actress was caught on film belittling a young girl with cancer for asking for her autograph, or as her publicist puts it, "No comment," everyday heroes were at work.
Our story begins in Östersund, Sweden. Ghader Ghalamere, a Kurdish Iranian married to a Swedish resident, was facing deportation to Iran due to bureaucratic red tape. Even though he was recognized by the UN as a refugee and was on a legal path to Swedish citizenship through marriage, Ghader had to leave Sweden to finish paperwork due to initially arriving without documentation. While the Persian people are vibrant and welcoming, the Kurds have a less than warm relationship with Tehran. More on that in a minute. When the flight was about to leave the runway, the passengers found a brilliantly simple way to ground the airplane. The flight never launched, and Ghader was saved.
Since the Kurds have never attacked us or been on the receiving end of abuses at the hands of the U.S., many people on both sides of the American political spectrum tend to ignore them. The plight of the Kurdish people is an impossible complicated subject that one could get a PhD in and still barely understand, so here's a perfect explanation of Kurdish relationships with Iran, Iraq, and Turkey: After the Ottoman Empire was on the losing end of WWI, it was renamed Turkey, just to rub their noses in it. Its territory was then arbitrarily split into new countries without regard to culture, ethnicity, or religion, creating fun and exciting new conflicts! The Kurds got split up primarily into southeast Turkey, northern Iraq, and northwest Iran, despite not being ethnically Turkish, Arab, or Persian. They've at times been forbidden from speaking their home language in Turkey, attacked with chemical weapons in Iraq, and have faced ongoing persecution in Iran. Ghader was allegedly a member of a Kurdish separatist movement in Iran. Needless to say, Ghader was not looking forward to returning to the area.
When his deportation flight was about to take off, the other passengers took action the only way they knew how: they listened to Disney Channel protest music and threw overpriced bumper stickers on their cars, raising awareness so that someone else could take care of the problem. Just kidding, they aren't Californians. When the flight was about to take off, the passengers simple refused to buckle their seat belts. That's all. Because the passengers weren't buckled up, the plane couldn't launch and his deportation was delayed. After the delay, more protests got him a new hearing and now he has been released from detention.
In summary, the passengers were true heroes: They refused to buckle up. That's it. It was simple, yet effective. At this point I am just throwing in extra phrases because I feel like the summary should be longer. No elaborate scheme here. No dangeresque escapes. Thanks to their efforts, Ghader was not deported to Iran, potentially saving him from persecution and separation from his family or something.
Until next week, may all your dreams come true.
Founding Artistic Director, Prof. Grayson Hirst, UofA (retired) features contemplative, inspiring, whimsical and fun pieces from Beethoven… More