“Murder in Samarkand” confiscated by Luton airport security 8


From Eurasian.net

‘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.

But to ban a book widely available in book stores in the UK is just a joke. Now, cash-strapped, I have to wait for the paperback edition to be published. Already late for the flight and raging in front of the calm airport security manager, I must have overheard that they can – in exceptional cases – post confiscated material to a UK address. I recalled that onboard the plane’


8 thoughts on ““Murder in Samarkand” confiscated by Luton airport security

  • Lobster Blogster

    Going off track I know, but your source here reminds me that I haven't see any blogger posting about the seizures of Oxus Gold and Newmont Mining. Isn't this the point where the US starts to critically examine its relationship with Uzbekistan?

  • Nur-al-Cubicle

    Hmmm. Is this harrassment or is there some Psychology aspect to the confiscation, i.e. passenger hysteria aboard the aircraft–but applying only to Anglo-Saxons upon viewing the title? If sure if you had boarded in Madrid, Security would be up to no such shenanigans. Or if the book had been in French….

    The former generation would use leather bookjackets to hide booktitles title from the prying eyes from security and hysteria-prone passengers. Of course then, the trigger was sex in those "Banned in Boston" oeuvres.

  • Jherad

    What they do with the books – burn them?

    Utterly ridiculous. I'm wondering what would happen if I tried to take a copy of 'Milestones' on board, next time I fly.

  • Craig

    Or George Orwell. Interestingly, he had another book in German, which they didn't confiscate. My guess is that airport security had no idea what it said. But also interesting that this was a considered decision by a manager, not just a drone, presumably acting on imstructions.

  • Henry Barth

    Book banning is becoming a regular feature in the new and secure Europe.

    And not just banning books from airplanes.

    In Austria, the government has seized hundreds of books in libraries by jailed British historian David Irving and burned them. Imagine, in 2006, they are still burning books in Austria.

    I'm sure books about terrorism will be next on the List?the better to safeguard the people from dangerous ideas.

  • Craig

    I should be honest – I am not in the least a fan of Irving. In fact I think he's crap. But it is still very wrong to ban his books.

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