There is something about almost getting blown up that makes you really want a beer. I wish I had a picture of my face when the waitress at the Embassy Suites in Romulus, Michigan, about ten minutes from the Detroit airport, informed me there were blue laws in effect that made it illegal to sell alcohol on Christmas Day.
I have to wonder what ill conceived notion these Michigan legislators had in their heads when they drafted such an absurd rule. Though it was likely they had not conceived of a passenger needing to decompress following a terrorist attack, surely they were aware that alcohol was the only thing that get most of us through being with our beloved families over the holidays.
So there I was, watching CNN's coverage of my flight's terrorist attack trying to decide who I was more pissed off at: Al-Qaeda for almost killing me or the local municipal government for stopping me from hitting the bottle. After 20 hours of connecting flights originating in Uganda, almost getting killed by a terrorist attack on our final descent, being detained by Homeland Security for six hours, and watching the first twenty minutes of "Land of the Lost," all I had to show was a hotel voucher for one room and $13.00 meal and I was damned if it wasn't going to include a beer. Luckily that's when the Wall Street Journal reporter showed up.
"Can you believe this?," a thirty something fellow with glasses said as he approached the bar.
"Mhmm." I mumbled.
"What a piece of work. Can you imagine what it must it been like to be on that flight?" he remarked, in awe of what was taking place on the T.V.
"Sure can," I answered matter-of-factly.
"How's that?" he said raising an eyebrow.
" I was on that plane." I related with a smile.
"Can I buy you a beer?"
"Hah. Wish you could, but it's illegal. Fucking blue laws. "
"Huh...well if I get you a beer will you tell me what happened, I work for the Wall Street Journal." With this he threw down a card. "Been running the auto industry beat but conveniently this happened."
He then stepped behind the bar, grabbed a beer from behind the counter and handed it to me, and while I normally wouldn't condone theft, considering the day's events I made an exception and slid the beer into my pocket.
When the interview was over I made my way back to my room. Mulling over everything that had transpired. A couple was coming down the hallway to catch the elevator, they seemed so normal I had to say something.
"Yeah, coming back from Las Vegas, we had a great time. Yourself?"
"Coming back from Africa." With this I removed the closed beer bottle from my pocket, some sort of winter harvest ale, placed the bottle cap against my right canine tooth, bit down, pulled up, and then spit out the cap. A trick I had learned from my Ugandan ex-girlfriend.
"Al-Qaeda tried to blow up my plane, so I missed a connecting flight, but I'm catching a new one in the morning."
I took a swig looking at the couple, staring at me in horror, thinking that this this may actually be the best beer I've ever had.
"You know, it feels really, good to be alive."
I think they almost ran out of the elevator.
That was day 1.
Because of the Wall Street Journal article being one of the first bits of media to include a passenger account I was immediately contacted by media outlets all over the world. But as I engaged in this act, typical I suppose of these circumstances, I kept having the feeling that not enough was being said. That no matter the length or depth of the interview, my words and thoughts ultimately were being edited and skewed to meet the constrains of article length or ideological skew of the TV network. Consequently about 72 hours after the attack, unable to sleep, I decided to write my own account, and not know what else to do with it submitted it to the Huffington Post. After my blog post became the primary headline, another slew of media publications started calling, and consequently my name got even more widely distributed.
While 95% of comments on Huff Po and other outlets were great, the comments in some of the print publications were also particularly disturbing, this for example came from the pages of an article written in the St. Louis Post Dispatch:
Dont Matta 2 Me December 28, 2009 9:41AM CST
jds100: The reason that the media is flatulating over Roey is due to his belonging to the Tribe. You see it all the time with the business section. Tribe members get unprecedented levels of coverage for non-achievements while legitimate business achievements are overlooked.
It is also disappointing to me that the media didn't pay even more attention to this tribe member. Our grip on the handles of power must be slipping, those darn Greeks on the other hand (particularly the red headed ones)...you better watch them.
libertystlboy December 28, 2009 9:55AM CST
Roey and his Tribe are going to use this to enforce full-body screening in airports to take away more of our liberties. Why no mention that this guy had no passport? Why no mention of the well dressed man with the terrorist?
Right the well dressed man. I've heard Kurt Haskell, another passenger's account of this. In any case for those of you that don't know Kurt Haskell seems to think that an Indian fellow tried to get Abdulmutallab on board the flight without a passport. In my opinion this would be utterly impossible, and experts seem to share this opinion.
Dont Matta 2 Me December 28, 2009 9:11AM CST
Roey Roesenblith looks like a MOSSAD agent. He's got the right profile for it. The clowns on the board are always complaining about Muslims but never speak a molecule about the dual Israeli/American citizens or question their loyalty.
ru4real December 28, 2009 9:35AM CST
Dont Matta, the Israelis aren't trying to kill Americans simply for being non-Muslim like your typical Islamic terrorist. Which pretty much defines all Muslims, either directly or indirectly (passive support or non-condemning). Riding on an airplane isn't a right, so the terms under which people are allowed to board a plane in or coming to the US should be severely restricted. The screeners should err on the side of safety and not be bound by political correctness. But, how in the world do you check for explosive underpants???BTW, how does Roey survive financially with his African solar company? Are US taxpayers footing the bill for his adventure? Heck, we can't afford solar in the US, how can an impoverished area like Africa?
Huh, while the commentator did accurately assess that I am a dual citizen, how I'm not sure, its interesting that he also makes the jump to me being a Mossad agent...a mossad agent that apparently doesn't want to stop an islamic terrorist from blowing up a plane over a country that gives Israel $3 Billion in military aide every year. I've never quite figured out the logic in the Israel wants terrorists to blow up America train of thought, but that's just me.
In regards to hard earned american tax dollars being used on my solar enterprise in Uganda, I would like to assure the commenter that the only money being used belongs to myself, my partner, and our investors. Not a dime from anyone's taxes.
Another blogger seems to be trying to create a conspiracy that because I worked for the Obama Campaign I somehow had a hand in orchestrating events on board the flight.
The blogger writes:
Obama Campaigner Was On Flight
When investigating staged airplane incidents, we frequently find that many suspicious individuals are aboard as "bystanders". Roey Rosenblith was a passenger on Flight 253 who said "This guy wanted to kill all of us, he had wanted to blow up the plane."
Certainly, someone like this is a star witness for the official version, correct? Well, get this -- he worked on the Obama campaign.
Yet another blogger, at a blog ironically titled Truth and Common Sense, accuses me of being a (gasp) liberal, and hopes that almost getting blown up will be my wake up call to stop being a sheep and start being a sheep dog.
The blog post entitled: A liberal nearly gets blown up and suddenly there's a light over his head.
The poor leftie who wrote this article spent most of his time with self-examination, astounded about how he was handling the whole event. You could read the shock in his words. He hasn't really come to grasp with what happened outside the intellectual understanding that he was one bad detonator from being bones and DNA left behind in a fiery crash.
In his defense he's been taught that been a leftie is almost god-like and should insulate him from harm. "Do good works and good works will come to you." kind of bullsh*t. Well, here's the real world. That works as long as someone who isn't so "pie in the sky" about life stands in the breach and takes the arrows of evil so lefties like this kid can reap their rewards unharmed. It is that simple. I've talked a lot about Dave Grossman's speech on Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs. It is something everyone who is waking up must read. There are three kinds of people in this world; sheep- who would rather be left alone as long as there is green grass, water and a sunny meadow; wolves- who prey on the sheep and are basically evil through and through; and sheepdogs- who stand between the two and sacrifice so the sheep can live in peace and in ignorance of the way things truly are. Sheep can become sheepdogs, but it usually takes a significant event in their lives to wake them up.
This particularly blog posting really requires a more detailed and through discussion than I can currently offer. In the days ahead I will return to it with a more in depth discussion. For now I will simply highlight the small irony, that my name, taken from the 23 Psalm means "My Shepard," who of course is neither wolf, sheep, nor sheepdog, but perhaps a mixture of all three.
The last bit of news to come down the line was an email from Delta Airlines regarding providing us some compensation for almost getting blown up and then detained for 7 hours at the Detroit airport. I have copy and pasted it here for your reading pleasure:
Dear Mr. Rosenblith,
Please disregard my previous email. I apologize you were sent the
content of an alternate message. Below is the correct information.
On behalf of Delta Air Lines, I want to take this opportunity to express
our concern for the inconvenience you experienced when there was a
disturbance by another passenger as you approached Detroit on Flight
I understand how unsettling this event must have been for you. As you
are aware, the passenger was subdued and was taken into custody by law
enforcement authorities. Delta Air Lines will be fully cooperating with
the law enforcement officials who are leading the investigation.
As a gesture of goodwill, we are providing you with an electronic credit
voucher for $250.00. The voucher can be applied to a future ticket
purchase. The terms and conditions will arrive under a separate cover.
We pledge to you that we are dedicated to providing safe transportation,
and we hope you will provide us an opportunity to serve your air travel
needs again soon. Thank you for your understanding and for flying
Delta Air Lines.
General Manager, Customer Care
Northwest/KLM/Delta Air Lines
To be frank, I could care less about the money. I don't know how anyone can provide me with adequate compensation for a near death experience. Nor do I think that the folks on the airline were doing a bad job. Security in Amsterdam, as I said before, seemed more than adequate, however it was beat by Al-Qaeda's creativity and at the same time saved by their incompetence.
However the flight crew did act heroically. So do I want compensation?I guess i don't need it but the part that irks me is that they offered such a paltry amount and referring to the terrorist as "another passenger that caused a disturbance."Surely you can step back from the banal airline speak for a second to acknowledge the seriousness of what happened!
To that effect, I would much prefer it if Delta kept their $250. Perhaps they can put it towards some serious security, or a bonus to the flight attendants on the flight that managed to put out the fire.
On that note, I'll end this post with the following thought. Currently I am writing this from the Emirates terminal in Dubai, en route to Uganda. As promised in my last blog post, Al-Qaeda has not stopped me from flying, and certainly not from pursuing my life goals.
If anything I should really be offering them a bit of thanks, the only effect this whole incident has had is to give me and my company, Village Energy, (www.villageenergyuganda.com) some free publicity so that we are better able to pursue our goals of providing affordable solar lighting systems to the developing world.
I'd write more, but we're getting ready to board.
Follow Roey Rosenblith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/roey82