A month after Grooverider’s release from a Dubai prison, Big Shot‘s UK Editor Oliver Guy-Watkins was detained by airport officials at the country’s international airport. Oliver reports on the scary incident which took place last week.
I happened to be working in Dubai last week…. So my plane touches down with no issue (after flying over Iraq), and I proceeded to baggage claim after being ushered through passport control. As I awaited my bag, there was a tap on my shoulder. A short man in a blue uniform asked if I would let him look in my bag. I said, “Sure.”
After pulling out my camera, books, pants, etc., he begins to run his finger along the lining of the bag. When he pulls out his finger he reveals a small piece of tobacco stuck to the end. “Ah, you smoke,” he said. “Yes, tobacco.”
“No, no, no.”
But my feeble pleading gets me nowhere, and I quickly found myself in a very small metal room with the clothes I was wearing on the floor. They brought in my hold bag, and began to take everything out. At the bottom they discovered two tiny balls of mud. “See hash, I knew,” said the little man, as another larger guy arrived. They talked briefly in Arabic. Then the larger guy said, “We know what you do. You go to college, you sit around with your friends playing computer games, listening to dance music and smoking weed….”
The short guy has the balls of mud inside my passport and he looks at me to says, “Okay, sir, we test now and arrest…okay?”
I should have really thought my reply here as “I didn’t go to college” wasn’t the response he was looking for. An hour later, after being ushered between various guys who smell the balls of mud and point toward someone else, I found myself back in the baggage claim hall. The short guy has the balls of mud inside my passport and he looks at me to says, “Okay, sir, we test now and arrest…okay?”
No, this was not really okay, and my complexion began to drain.
He began to walk me toward a man I assume is a policeman, then after five steps he stops, turns around, looks me in the eye and says, “I know this is hash.” He then throws the two balls of mud in the bin, gives me my passport and tells me to go. A request I am quite happy to fulfill.
photo by Craig Cowling