Books with murder verboten on planes?

Sometimes, I can’t figure out for sure if there is a collective complete brain shared among all the people making up the dumb rules we have to live with since authorities successfully used intelligence methods to stop a terrorist attack. This latest involves a man travelling from London to Berlin. Because he had forgotten to remove a cream from his luggage, he was subjected to extra security screening. I don’t like that (which you already know if you’ve read much of my recent posting) but I can live with it – that’s a rule we know about, and he made a minor error and had to pay for it.

While security officers were checking his back, they found a book titled “Murder in Samarkland” which greatly concerned them. This story of former British ambassador Craig Murray’s [bad] experiences in Tashkent (Uzbekistan). That is, it’s based on factual events. But that didn’t seem to matter security personnel.

“Is that about terrorism?”, asked the lady that examined my onboard luggage. “Humm, well, it contains mentions of that, but it’s about your former ambassador to Uzbekistan and more about diplomacy”, I replied politely. “Does it have al-Qaida in it?” I looked a bit confused. “What?” – “Well, I have to check this with my manager, the rest of your stuff is fine, though.”

The manager then came after a minute or two. “Hello Sir, can you tell me about this book?” “Sure, it is about Craig Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan.” “Where, if I may ask, did you buy this book?” – “Well, it is available at any Waterstones here in Britain. I just bought my copy in the Angel branch yesterday.”

“I am afraid you cannot take this onboard, Sir.” You must be kidding me. I just spent 20 pounds on a book that, despite arousing some controversy in the UK, should not be banned onboard a flight to Germany. I understand that the terror plot (which coincidentally seems to have an Uzbek dimension) makes for some overwrought nerves.

More wow moments in time. Yes, a book is allowed, unless it has a scary word in the title.

[tags]More troubles for air travellers, Book with “Murder” in the title not allowed on a plane[/tags]