Whats in a name?

Recently, it seems that a lot is in a name.

Couple of years ago my brother asked me to transfer money to his university in France. Two days after I made the transfer, I got a call from the money transfer agent that my transfer request has been rejected by correspondent bank because my name has been flagged as a possible terrorism suspect. At that time, I found out that I share the name with a certain african warlord. Luckily, I don’t look anything like an African warlord otherwise it would have caused a lot of problems.

Earlier this year, my name was flagged by the State Security because of the Pakistani passport (profiling) and it took a lot of strings-pulling and chips-cashing to get my name off the list. Those three months were a night mare.

Yesterday, I received this in my facebook mailbox

Dear XYZABC:
Is the Faisal Shahzad whom you know the same Faisal Shahzad who was arrested last night? If so, can you help us make any sense of it? Alison Cowan
NYT 212 556 1501 cel: 203 913 5573 and cowan@nytimes.com

A few hours later it was followed by this

I am a reporter at the NY Post and I am doing a story about Faisal Shahzad. How well do you know him? Do you think he really could be behind this?

Thanks,
Jeremy Olshan
New York Post
212-930-8039, office
917-771-7837, cell

I know this Faisal Shahzad who is my friend and he is not the one arrested by US authorities. He lives and works in Pakistan.

I was thinking of asking for cash upfront for more information on my friend as a prank but then remembering the trouble that I have already run into with security establishments decided against it.

I had read earlier that US monitors global telephone calls through a software which triggers recording and monitoring if someone utters certain words say Allah, Al Qaeda, Osama etc. But to think that one day my facebook profile could become a liability, never crossed my mind.

I realize it has nothing to do with privacy settings. Someone just has to type a name in facebook and he can have access to names of all his/her friends for sending out such emails.

I sent the copies of above emails to mailing list and this is how one of my friends replied in jest. (Honestly, this should be the correct way to reply to my email)

I do not know any of you. Who are you? Why am I in this mailing list? Who are these other strangers? J

Where am I?????

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