Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Mr. Obama, will the US lead by example?

The President was here. He came, he spoke and he went. The media frenzy was there to see. It appeared as if God was descending on earth to guide his followers. To shower his blessings and generosities (read: the $10  billion plus business deals) for the progress of the Indian nation. The Lord was followed obediently and care was taken to see that he wasn't offended due to any incident. So much, that Pritish Nandy feels that the CM and deputy CM of Maharashtra were nothing but a bunch of cribbers, when they protested against the US consulate's demand for providing passport and other documents of identification 'as a matter of security'. This is what the former MP had to say
 They were invited to meet Obama at a gathering organised by the US Consulate and were requested in advance to provide their identification through PAN cards and whatever ID our own Government demands of us whenever we enter an airport or any other place where security's an issue.
We mortals thought that Chagan Bhujbal's outrage was justified. After all, Shri Ashok Chavan and Shri Chagan Bhujbal are the heads of Maharshtra state, which was welcoming the Lord on his first descent to earth from the skies. We thought it was improper and rude to question the host's credentials. But Mr. Nandy feels offended. The ever forgiving Lord didn't mind.

And before ascending back to the skies, the God addressed the fair, just and beloved rulers of our 1 billion plus nation. Obama spoke about a lot of things, many of which can be taken as a sign of India's coming of age on the world stage. The White House has done an excellent job of posting the transcript of Obama's speech on its website. No, do not intend to criticise or praise Obama's speech. Just would like to tell him, that like Jesus Christ, he too could lead by example. Let's look at this part of the Lord's sermon
Now, we all understand every country will follow its own path.  No one nation has a monopoly on wisdom, and no nation should ever try to impose its values on another. But when peaceful democratic movements are suppressed —- as they have been in Burma, for example -- then the democracies of the world cannot remain silent. For it is unacceptable to gun down peaceful protestors and incarcerate political prisoners decade after decade. It is unacceptable to hold the aspirations of an entire people hostage to the greed and paranoia of bankrupt regimes. It is unacceptable to steal elections, as the regime in Burma has done again for all the world to see.

Faced with such gross violations of human rights, it is the responsibility of the international community —- especially leaders like the United States and India —- to condemn it. And if I can be frank, in international fora, India has often shied away from some of these issues. But speaking up for those who cannot do so for themselves is not interfering in the affairs of other countries. It’s not violating the rights of sovereign nations. It is staying true to our democratic principles.
The Lord is not known to forget. Perhaps it is an oversight. Why choose Burma/Myanmar, O Lord? It is a tiny nation, with no known trade with your nation. However, it has a neighbour, known has People's Republic of China. There, the country has jailed the your successor, the winner of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, Liu Xiabo. And why? Because Xiabo tried to promote those same democratic values that the Lord was talking about in the Indian parliament. But O Lord, why didn't you say anything to China, when you were there? Your nation itself has shied away from this issue. You haven't spoken out for your own successor to the Nobel Peace Prize. Your nation hasn't till date officially demanded for his release. How can you impress your followers, the Indian nation and polity to act as per your sermon?

There is one more 'democratic' nation, that USA treats as a friend and  close ally. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  This country, O Lord, doesn't have any democracy, and is ruled by an autocratic king. Its law agencies follow a perverse interpretation of Islam, which treats women as slaves. There are numerous reports of violations of human rights, especially those of women. Infact, there was a case where a woman was raped, but the rapists were let free by the courts. Instead, the woman was awarded a punishment of 150 lashes, because at the time of rape, she wasn't accompanied by a male relative. The generous king of Saudi Arabia, reduced this punishment to 50 lashes. Yet, my Lord, USA didn't raise its voice for that woman.

I plead to you my Lord. Please lead by example. It is blasphemous for devotees to question their Lord, but once in a while questions need to be raised. At this moment, the question is, whether you will choose to lead us only through sermons or by setting examples. You have a ripe opportunity to do that if you could say to China and Saudi Arabia, all that you expect us to say to Burma. Your idol, Mahatma Gandhi said "Be the change you want to see in the world." Hope you follow his advice.
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