A Story

On one of my trips abroad I found myself in transit at Amsterdam airport. It is not an enjoyable experience (to say the least) on the best of flights, but this one experience will be one I continue to remember with a mixed sense of pain and disillusionment. Airport security controls are not something unfamiliar to me, and again, I braced myself as I carefully unpacked the dubious objects from my handbag—a clear plastic bag containing my lip gloss, perfume and anti-bacterial lotion among other indispensable items, as well as my laptop. I don’t remember ‘beeping’ as I walked through the security gate. Yet, I was hailed to step aside by a female customs officer who had been deemed as appropriate to physically examine my body—rub it from head to toe to ensure that I had not carefully strapped any explosive devices to my admittedly fitted clothing. She looked noticeably indignant, and she made no attempt to hide her scorn. I breathed deeply and walked into the curtained area where I was to be further examined. I had the sense that I was in for something different this time. The whole time, the power dynamics that were at play were so thick that they almost took on a presence of their own.


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