Weekly Letter to President Obama
Copyright © 2010
ofthisandthat.org. All rights
INAUGURATION, January 20, 2009
Drunk in its stale air
For two hundred years.
Fettered in mind and body,
The soul, the safe escape
To let me breathe the cries
Of my heart singing
Tears of mel-an-choly.
The tears flow free today
Washing the stains of blood
And sweat in brotherhood.
Raise the curtain then an'
Let the world look in
On this promised land --
We breathe free today.... almost.
--- Arshad M. Khan
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.
--- Native American proverb
April 22, 2011
Mr. President: This is Easter week, the holiest in the Christian calendar. No
doubt there will be an Easter egg roll on the White House lawn this Sunday.
It is also Passover and the White House announced a Passover dinner, a
Seder, it held. It is all commendable.
There is, however, a third Abrahamic religion: your father belonged to it;
your step-sister and numerous other relatives practise it; you as a child were
enrolled in a school in Indonesia as a member of it by your stepfather.
Returning to the the U.S., raised by white Christian grandparents, you eased
into the Christian religion. What amazes one is your complete disassociation
and distancing from the religion of your two fathers. In fact, the level of
uninformed bigotry in this country against it has risen exponentially during
your tenure. One might be reluctant to admit it but George Bush did more to
assimilate the hard-working five million or so U.S. citizens who practise it.
The fathers who are just "daddies" in Milan Kundera's novel, Identity, come
to mind ... when what this country needs is a real father who will not just play
a Kundera "daddy" with the moneyed corporate interests in banking, health
care and everything else. So this country can have a decent health care
system like every other industrialized country; so its future is not mortgaged
to the greed and whims of bankers; so there can be rules that root out
corruption and the robust openly vulgar intimacy between lawmakers and
the interests they are supposed to regulate; so our flagellated democracy
can be revived.
This week also, some donors who had paid $5000 to attend one of your
fundraising dinners rose up to protest the treatment of Bradley Manning, the
whistle blower who placed morality above laws and is paying for it. Your
response, "this is a country of laws." But what if laws are being broken as
when a helicopter gunship slaughters civilians on an Iraqi street. The Iraqis
know of it, but it takes a Bradley Manning to tell us. What of the openly
celebrating crew of the gunship, heard during the killing spree? Nothing, it
There is a reason why after trillions of dollars wasted in the wars, an
American President dare not set foot in Iraq or Afghanistan, or even Pakistan
now, and walk a hundred steps in any major city there. Your policies
continue to expand "this type of influence" -- as China quietly soaks up
business, investment and friends in the region and elsewhere around the