Raqim: "The presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia." Leo wonders what Raqim's problem is with this. Raqim points out that Saudi Arabia is the home of two of Islam's holiest mosques (the Ka'aba in Makkah and the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah): "How would you like it if I camped out in front of the Vatican with a stockpile of M-16s?" Leo claims, "I'd like it fine if you were there to protect the Vatican." Yeah, right. One of the agents tries to speak to Leo, but he doesn't notice as he tells Raqim, "We sent troops down there to make sure our friends didn't cross the Kuwait border and seize Saudi territory." Raqim points out that he means Saudi oil. Leo acknowledges this: "Yes, we have oil interests in the Gulf. So does the rest of the world." Raqim objects, "You sent an army composed of women as well as men to protect a Muslim dynasty where women aren't even allowed to drive a car!" Somehow I don't think that was the primary objection to the presence of American troops in the Kingdom. Leo snipes, "Maybe we can teach 'em." They just glare at each other a bit until Raqim says, "Anyway...that's what I was protesting." Leo nods at one of the agents, who asks him about where he went to high school. Raqim confirms the information. Apparently in December of 1994 someone called in a bomb threat to the school. Raqim recalls that there were bomb threats, but he doesn't remember the exact dates. ["He was in high school in 1994? That would make him younger than I am, and I don't see someone younger than twenty-five getting a sweet job at the White House." -- Wing Chun] Apparently his transcript indicates that he was questioned by the police. Raqim mutters, "Yeah, it's on my school transcript...because I wasn't arrested." All this time Leo is just staring at Raqim without blinking. Raqim says that the bomb threat was called in by a couple of football players who didn't want to write a final Chemistry exam. The agent, standing up between Leo and Raqim, says, "So it was a couple of football players but they called you in anyway?" Looking at Leo, and not the agent, Raqim says, "It's not uncommon for Arab-Americans to be the first suspected when that sort of thing happens." I had been wondering whether he was supposed to be Arab, since I think the actor is actually Indian. It's already been made clear he's supposed to be Muslim. (And here's a chorus of "Truth: Our Maligned Little Sister," it goes something like this: "All Muslims are not Arabs. All Arabs are not Muslims." Repeat as many times as necessary.) Leo says, "I can't imagine why." I know Leo is actually representing the attitudes of God only knows how many people, but it sure is sickening. Raqim starts to take Leo to task, but Leo interjects, saying, "No! I'm trying to figure out why anytime there's terrorist activity, people always assume it's Arabs. I'm racking my brain." Yeah, me too, especially since according to U.S. State Department reports on global patterns of terrorism (released in 1997, the most recent date for which I can find statistics), "terrorism originating in the Middle East is sixth in order of occurrence and frequency," as Edward Said points out in his excellent book Covering Islam. Raqim says, "I don't know the answer to that, Mr. McGarry, but I can tell you...it's horrible." Frink can vouch for that. Leo then says something I can hardly believe: "Well, that's the price you pay." I literally gasped and my mouth hung open when he said this. Raqim's also deeply offended: "Excuse me?" He pauses. "The price I pay for what?" Leo just stares in his hateful, unblinking way and says, "Continue the questions." I considered using the commercial time to phone Frink (he's watching elsewhere) to vent but decided to wait until the show was over.
Episode Report CardDeborah: C- | 1310 USERS: C+
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