The "Washington Post" headline sounded the clarion call that Arabs are "poised to take over significant operations at six American ports."..... This was all very confusing to me. As a Philadelphian who used to live near the waterfront, knew people who worked there and would occasionally watch ships unload, I knew that the port was controlled by the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) - not by any one company.....
It seems the facts are quite different from the hysteria. I asked the port authority to explain what will happen after DPW buys P&O. According to Joe Menta, communications director for the PRPA, what this sale means to Philadelphia is that Dubai Ports will acquire half interest in a firm that loads and unloads ships at one terminal - Tioga Marine. Little or no container cargo passes through this terminal, primarily used for the fruit trade. Menta explained the structure of the port of Philadelphia. It's controlled by the PRPA, an independent entity of the state. PRPA owns several terminals on the waterfront. It leases these terminals to private operators who are primarily responsible for arranging the loading and unloading of cargo.
Arabs will own or control no part of the port itself. The only Arab influence will be on the appointments of some of the board members of the stevedoring firm. This is quite different from the image of Arabs controlling the port. The idea that Dubai Ports World will be determining who comes, who goes, the number and type of ships, how and where they are unloaded and loaded, who's hired and the security for the entire port of Philadelphia is simply not true.
Ever since 9/11, the liberal mantra (which included even some Republicans) has been to chide Americans in general and the Bush administration specifically to be careful about stereotyping all Arabs and Muslims as terrorists. As recently as last week, Al Gore, while speaking in Saudi Arabia, said that the Bush administration had mistreated Arabs. Now, many of these same folks are now themselves stereotyping Arabs.... Many Democrats went from demanding constitutional rights for Arab terrorists in court to opposing Arab business owners buying a share of some terminals.
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