Well, OK, but……

An Australian woman has described the “terrifying” experience of being taken off a Qatar Airways flight by authorities who strip-searched passengers as they tried to identify the mother of an infant found in the Doha airport toilets.

Kim Mills was one of nine women taken off a Qatar Airways flight bound for Sydney on 2 October and led through the bowels of the Hamad International airport to what appeared to be a dark carpark or turning circle, where three ambulances were waiting to perform medical examinations to determine if any of the women had recently given birth.

Mills was the only woman not subject to an examination.

“They told me to step forward, to go into the ambulance, and as I stepped forward another officer came round and stood in front of me and said: ‘No, no, you go, you go’,” Mills told Guardian Australia. “And as I was standing there with this officer telling me to go, a young lass came out of the ambulance and she was crying and distraught.

Terrified by not being strip searched seems a bit much.

But let’s try this the other way around. There’s a newborn right there. Abandoned. We tend to think that’s a bad idea. Further, the new mother might actually need medical attention herself. Right. So, how do you work out who the new mother is?

Suggestions?

54 thoughts on “Well, OK, but……”

  1. Bigots! Why single out people who they assume to be women? Anybody can identify as a person who has given birth, it’s their yuuman right.

  2. Firstly, in a free society, adults get to decide if they want medical attention and are fully within their rights to refuse it, so we can ignore the fact that the new mother might need medical attention.

    Secondly, in a free society, which Qatar is not, we accept that not all means of solving crimes and the like are acceptable and sometimes we have to accept not finding out. Mass, non-consensual sexual assault of all women within a certain radius certainly falls within those methods which are not acceptable.

  3. DocBud
    October 26, 2020 at 9:28 am
    Firstly, in a free society, adults get to decide if they want medical attention and are fully within their rights to refuse it, so we can ignore the fact that the new mother might need medical attention.

    Do tell. Where is this ‘free society’ of which you speak, with personal choices allowed? UK, Europe?

    Do you not get the News?

  4. JGH- To protect us from our emotions the G hasn’t reported the reason “another officer came round and stood in front of me and said: ‘No, no, you go, you go’,” And before we jump to condemnning the progressive bones of Qatari institutions this might be an example of a single bad date.

  5. I suspect that this is nothing to do with ‘medical attention’, but rather a police-driven exercise to find a mother who they would then charge with abandoning her baby. I doubt whether the police in Doha:

    a) think that any activity they wish to carry out should be banned (except drawing pictures of Mohammed)
    b) care very much about anything any female human thinks

    They find a baby – they have a group of ‘suspects’ – they initiate a check of them….

    Since they obviously overrode any requirement for consent, I would have thought that a DNA test would have been less invasive. A cheek swab or hair sample would have caused less international press interest. But, again, I doubt if the Chief of Police in Doha cares very much about the International Press….

  6. Bloke in North Dorset

    I spent my consulting career avoiding projects in that region, as soon as you get off the plane you give up all rights.

    Perhaps a DNA test would work, but that would mean detaining the women until you’ve done the testing. I don’t know how long it takes but I guess it would have meant all of them missing the plan, another international outcry.

  7. Won’t someone think about the children? (or new-born child in this case) is apparently not considered important by either the G or the “terrified” Sheila.

  8. If the baby was pale and the toilet airside departures, that’s a fairly small pool of suspects. I’d just walk around with the crying baby looking for a guilty face.

    Anyway, I though airports had security cameras everywhere?

  9. “Terrified by not being strip searched seems a bit much.”

    That was not the source of her terror. From reading the Guardian article:

    . . . I was finally woken, I guess it was three hours later, by the head steward actually shaking me awake. He said I had to get my passport and leave the plane.
    “Being half awake, I thought: what are you talking about, what’s going on?
    “He said, the police need to talk to you, and you need to get your passport and come straight away.”
    Mills said she had no time to change out of her pyjamas and slippers. She walked to the door of the plane and presented her passport to two waiting guards, assuming it was a simple check.
    “They said: ‘No no, you have to come with us.’ I was absolutely terrified at that stage, I didn’t know what was happening.”

    She was terrified at being taken off the plane for police questioning without knowing what was going on.

  10. Mass, non-consensual sexual assault of all women within a certain radius certainly falls within those methods which are not acceptable.

    Apparently they were subjected to a non-invasive check by a lady doctor. No doubt an unpleasant and slightly scary inconvenience to them, but the Qataris had literally just found a child’s dead body somebody abandoned like garbage at a busy international airport.

    Given the likely pressure of time (the Qatari cops probably want to solve possible homicides and also probably would get into deep shit if they just arrested every foreign woman and held them for days pending DNA tests), it’s not an outrageously unreasonable course of action.

    The Guardian and Sheilas are shrieking about this because if there’s one thing white women hate with the fury of a thousand suffragettes, it’s the idea of ever being held responsible for their behaviour.

  11. ‘So, how do you work out who the new mother is? Suggestions?’

    Easy. Split the baby with a sword, and see which woman objects.

  12. Steve:

    “The Guardian and Sheilas are shrieking about this because if there’s one thing white women hate with the fury of a thousand suffragettes, it’s the idea of ever being held responsible for their behaviour.”

    Absolutely right, of course, but there is the added tension involved in trying to avoid saying that some of the dusky men involved in the operation were probably turned on by it.

  13. The baby is alive, Steve, so start again. Though dead or alive, violating the rights of innocent individuals is an “outrageously unreasonable course of action”. In liberal democracies, taking DNA without consent is not considered acceptable, let alone someone looking at your genitalia. I’d consider someone looking at my genitalia without my consent as being invasive, it wouldn’t be necessary for them to touch them.

  14. “Firstly, in a free society, adults get to decide if they want medical attention and are fully within their rights to refuse it”

    This isn’t actually true is it, just as a matter of medical law? Lot depends on you being a “competent” adult and many people who are either very sick or very traumatised will fall short of that. Moreover, authorities may want to make sure the choice of medical attention is proactively put in front of an individual who, prima facie, requires it, rather than leaving them to seek it out. Not saying this was the primary concern in Qatar but in the UK police will certainly get involved in searches for the mother if eg a stillborn baby is found abandoned, and every time I’ve heard tell of it, they’ve publicly stressed that it’s a “welfare” issue.

  15. . . . the Qataris had literally just found a child’s dead body somebody abandoned like garbage at a busy international airport.

    Where do you get this from?

    The baby is alive.

  16. “The Guardian and Sheilas are shrieking about this because if there’s one thing white women hate with the fury of a thousand suffragettes, it’s the idea of ever being held responsible for their behaviour.”

    That has to be one of the biggest load of bollocks ever spouted, at most, only one of the women who was violated had behaviour to be responsible for, and possibly none of them.

  17. . . . if there’s one thing white women hate with the fury of a thousand suffragettes, it’s the idea of ever being held responsible for their behaviour.

    Yeah, having the fucking audacity to use international air travel. Bitches.

    WTF?

  18. (Making the stillborn point since it’s relevant to the medical welfare issue without dragging in the “someone related should probably have first dibs at looking after this baby” point, rather than because it’s the best analogy for the issue at hand. Definitely agree with DB that even external genital inspection by a doc of the same gender as you is an uncomfortable breach of privacy.)

  19. Well, MBE, they do need to establish that a person is not competent to make a decision for themselves, but either way, when trying to find the mother of a stillborn baby, they don’t round up every women in the district and get them to spread their legs.

  20. . . . when trying to find the mother of a stillborn baby, they don’t round up every women in the district and get them to spread their legs.

    I volunteer Steve’s missus. I’m sure he’ll be happy for her to be held responsible for this behaviour.

  21. “Mills said she had no time to change out of her pyjamas and slippers. ”

    On a plane… Definitely not travelling Economy Class….

  22. Sam – maybe? Tbf, while it’s not entirely true that Islam is right about women, it’s not completely wrong either. Can’t see any Muslim countries electing an Angela Merkel/Theresa May/Nicola Sturgeon/Horsefaced Kiwi figure to ruin them. And my guess is that teenage girls in Mohammedan countries probably aren’t prostituting themselves on OnlyFans or having abortions. At least not as much.

    Pretty annoying for these Sheilas to be reminded that their rights are, in fact, gifts given to them by men.

    DocBud, PJF – Weird. I was sure I read this story yesterday and it said the infant was dead. Could be a mistaken early draft, a CBD oil induced fever dream, or one of them parallel reality thingies.

    In liberal democracies, taking DNA without consent

    But they weren’t in a liberal democracy, they were in the Ummah.

    violating the rights of innocent individuals

    Rights are a social construct. If only those backwards Qataris could be as free and enlightened as we Westerners, eh? (Oi mate, you got a licence to buy non-essential items in a supermarket?)

  23. PJF – I volunteer Steve’s missus.

    Imagine thinking I’d ever allow my wife to set foot in a Muslim country tho. (I don’t even let her play with my power tools, and Black & Decker is less dangerous)

  24. What’s your point, Grikath?

    Does traveling business class mean your rights are different than those in economy?

    Steve, Islam is entirely wrong about women. Should we ever meet, please don’t suggest to MrsBud that her rights are gifted to her by men, I wouldn’t want to clean up the mess.

  25. @Steve
    “Can’t see any Muslim countries electing an Angela Merkel/Theresa May/Nicola Sturgeon/Horsefaced Kiwi figure to ruin them.”

    Pakistan elected Benazir Bhutto. Bangladesh has had a string of female Prime Ministers.

    You appear to need a memory upgrade.

  26. “Imagine thinking I’d ever allow my wife to set foot in a Muslim country tho.”

    And you can’t see what is wrong with that statement?

  27. DocBud, he’s just jealous.

    Besides, so few people are currently allowed to travel to the Soviet Peoples Democratic Republic of North Kostralia that they are likely bumping all the economy passengers. One less cabin to disinfect.

  28. @DB

    There’s often a presumption in that kind of case that the mother might be in serious distress, for which reason they won’t just sit on their hands and say “well if she wants to turn up to a hospital that’s her choice”. If they find her and she competently refuses then so be it.

    I think the Qatar incident is a prototypical example of something not in the training manual, but also sufficiently serious and urgent to make the authorities feel they had to do something without really knowing what. People do all kinds of nonsense in that kind of scenario, especially if they have hefty legal or practical powers at their disposal, and in retrospect those choices often look crap. Human nature under pressure does some pretty odd things. (Cf countless air or rail disaster reports when staff have encountered an urgent situation outside their training manual, or the litany of irrational / counterproductive things people do as attempted “first aid” when they or someone nearby gets hurt.)

  29. Decnine – and we had Maggie Thatcher (who was wonderful). The Monstrous Regiment of contemporary female Western ‘leaders’ have nothing in common with Thatch or Benazir Bhutto or Golda Meir.

    Doc – And you can’t see what is wrong with that statement?

    No? I’m just being honest.

  30. PJF – WTF

    While it’s probably true that I’m a male chauvinist, if it was men being examined to investigate a shocking crime (dunno what that would involve – emergency sperm samples?) I wouldn’t care either.

    My sympathy is with the baby.

  31. DocBud, if Steve ever allowed Mrs. Steve to travel to certain Middle Eastern countries they would request a letter from Steve granting her permission to do so.

  32. “Firstly, in a free society, adults get to decide if they want medical attention and are fully within their rights to refuse it”

    What else is the current Coronavirus policy mess but a form of medical intervention forced on the public without individual approval?

  33. I think the Benazir thing is very explainable by name recognition, same reason for Indira, same reason for Hilary. It’s kind of different from Angela, Theresa, and Jacawtf.

  34. @ Bloke in North Dorset

    “……..Perhaps a DNA test would work, but that would mean detaining the women until you’ve done the testing. I don’t know how long it takes but I guess it would have meant all of them missing the plan, another international outcry………..”

    I can’t see why it need detain them long. It’s only a cheek swab. Since all the passengers are travelling and have their passports there is no need whatsoever to stop them continuing their journey. You have their guaranteed identities, and when/if you identify the mother you simply send the data over to her country. Let her be charged there…

    I suspect that they missed their original plane anyway, and probably had a 12-24 hour wait. If having a delay in an aviation journey was international news, there would be precious little room in the newspapers for much else…

  35. The Monstrous Regiment of contemporary female Western ‘leaders’ have nothing in common with Thatch or Benazir Bhutto or Golda Meir.

    Just about all western leadership is useless shite. It’s possible that gender (the old fashioned kind) has nothing to do with it.

  36. I was finally woken, I guess it was three hours later, by the head steward actually shaking me awake. He said I had to get my passport and leave the plane

    Three hours later?

  37. asiaseen, no doubt they are making people turn up six hours ahead of time to wait at the gate, and board three hours before departure to reduce the spread of covid. The same logic as shutting pubs earlier and all at the same time to spread people out more.

  38. Three hours later?

    They were delaying the flight because of the abandoned sproglet.

    Three hours is pretty efficient given they had to assess the situation, formulate a response and arrange ambulances with female medicos.

  39. “where three ambulances were waiting to perform medical examinations to determine if any of the women had recently given birth”.

    Am I the only person who thinks abandoning either a new-born or at best a very young baby is a pretty big deal?

    I expect the usual faux outrage from the G and Sheila but plenty of comments on here are getting heated about invasion of privacy and such. Call me old-fashioned but I think finding out which passenger had abandoned this child is a pretty big deal. Accepting the inconvenience as a consequence of a matter of this importance would have been the norm just a generation ago rather than “poor poor me”.

  40. ” In liberal democracies, taking DNA without consent is not considered acceptable”

    So I can refuse the police taking my DNA if I get arrested then?

  41. Call me old-fashioned but I think finding out which passenger had abandoned this child is a pretty big deal.

    It appears none of those passengers abandoned the child. Maybe Interpol should inter all the female passengers who flew out of Doha and subject them to genital examinations.

    Hey, maybe it was trans-man who gave birth. They should check all the men too. It’s the only way to be sure.

  42. @ PJF
    The Qataris didn’t know that until they found the actual mother (on a different flight?, working in an airport cafe?).
    I agree with John. The airport authorities were justified in stopping all take-offs until the mother had been found.

  43. PJF – I don’t really mean to be Sid the Sexist, honestly. I love women. Most of my favourite people are women. Nobody loves women more than Steve.

    But they’re like cats: they’re beautiful, mysterious and they poop in a box in the kitchen. Also not very good on the whole at driving or making political decisions.

    Just about all western leadership is useless shite. It’s possible that gender (the old fashioned kind) has nothing to do with it.

    I kinda think it does. Western politics is very feminised now (you’ll remember that Lady T brought a rather masculine energy to the table). When Tony Blair (what’s the opposite of PBUH?) came out crying like a girl about Princess Di, and wasn’t laughed out of the country, I had an inkling we might be fucked.

    Modern politics is all about feeeeelinngs, whooooaaa feeellings…

    Needless to say it’s an absolute, civilisation-imperilling disaster. You can make major public policy decisions on the basis of not annoying Mumsnet, but not for very long. We’d be far better off with misogynistic, poor-hating, Victorian toffs in charge.

    Tits oot for the lions.

  44. Anyone else finding the language used in the modern media annoying? And by people describing incidents like this?

    Terrifying?
    Terrifying?

    Inducing a state of terror?
    I doubt it. Intimidating? Sure. Worrying?
    Probably.
    She even says if it wasn’t for Covid she would have been kicking up a fuss.
    People who are terrified don’t kick up a fuss. They plead, beg, scream or are paralyzed.

    Sounds to me like they were trying to keep it all fairly discreet – a quiet location, out of the way, I doubt many airports have a dedicated woman’s vajayjay examination area.

    Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t be chuffed if I was suddenly subjected to an examination out of the blue.
    But note, they also didn’t say what they actually did. Anyone with any medical knowledge enlighten us? Is it a quick, drop your knickers and have a look, see? Or does it involve a more invasive rummaging around?
    Cos if its the former then jeez, have some perspective.

  45. We’d be far better off with misogynistic, poor-hating, Victorian toffs in charge.

    Yes, I’m sure they’d have stopped a ship setting sail over the discovery of an abandoned baby.

  46. At last, something I know about. Flying business class with Qatar that is. Strange thing is flying from Italy with them is really cheap but from LON it’s very expensive.

    Back to the topic. How the hell did a woman that pregnant get on a plane in the first place? What skin colour was involved as I bet that’s got something to do with who got pulled of planes? How are Qatar still flying when there are so few people on what would be a full flight?

  47. No, Jim, if you get arrested, you do have to provide a DNA sample, but the police are not allowed to go on fishing expeditions, along the lines of this situation, in which they DNA test everyone in an area, even though they’d like to.

  48. How about some way that doesn’t violate the rights of a whole bunch of innocent people, to start?

    Does this really justify arresting a bunch of randos, stripping them, and subjecting them to an invasive medical examination?

    The Aussie chick is crying because no one in the civilized world would have dreamed of doing such things.

  49. John
    October 26, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    “where three ambulances were waiting to perform medical examinations to determine if any of the women had recently given birth”.

    Am I the only person who thinks abandoning either a new-born or at best a very young baby is a pretty big deal?

    I expect the usual faux outrage from the G and Sheila but plenty of comments on here are getting heated about invasion of privacy and such. Call me old-fashioned but I think finding out which passenger had abandoned this child is a pretty big deal. Accepting the inconvenience as a consequence of a matter of this importance would have been the norm just a generation ago rather than “poor poor me”.

    It is a big deal. So is not allowing the police to run roughshod over everyone any time they feel like it. *We* do that by keeping them on a very short leash. Sometimes that means an a mother who abandons her baby doesn’t get thrown in jail. Its a price I’m willing to pay.

    Or else where does it stop? Someone’s murdered so warrantless door-to-door searches? Because finding the murderer is important. Mandatory ID and DNA testing – just in case someone’s raped?

    A certain amount of horrible things are tolerated by society because giving the police the power to intervene as they see fit might prevent some of those horrible things from happening – but at the cost of even more horrible things being done by the police.

  50. How the hell did a woman that pregnant get on a plane in the first place?

    Quite, Andrew Again, it seems far more likely that the mother was a local Qatari woman who could face the death penalty if she got pregnant out of wedlock.

  51. As bad as this is, some people don’t get to get on the plane without having their genitals inspected.

  52. Are there no surveillance cameras outside of the bathrooms? They can’t hold the plane until they’ve reviewed security footage of a lady entering with an infant, and leaving without?

    At least then, you could narrow the field of potential suspects/victims.

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