Weekly Letter to the President
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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
January 3, 2020
Mr. President: Happy New Year. People often start a new year with resolutions, and
what the earth needs is a resolution from everyone to aid the environment. For
example, eating less beef or no meat at all. Numerous studies have shown that
vegetarians live longer so we do a favor to earth and ourselves.
A steady stream of evidence continues to warn us of the future. The latest on
sea-level rise in the Indian Ocean confirms an acceleration in the past two centuries,
although ebb and rise over two millennia correlate with a cooling and warming earth.
The source of the evidence are fossil coral micro-atolls in the Maldives.
Further north in India, Narendra Modi disgraced himself exposing the Fascist behind a
mask. The new Citizenship Amendment Act offering amnesty to refugees specifically
excludes Muslims betraying his origins in the Rashtriya Swayamsovak Sangh (RSS)
the well-spring of the parliamentary Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Its notion of Hindu
superiority is as absurd as the rest of its ideology in the face of India's history in the
millennia prior to independence. The RSS was outlawed by Jawaharlal Nehru, India's
founding prime minister as extremist. It was also a former RSS member who
assassinated Mahatma Gandhi for being too soft on Muslims.
If Mohammad Ali Jinnah has been proven right for wanting a separate homeland for
India's Muslims, then Mr. Nehru must be turning over in his grave watching his dream
of a socialist, multi-religious, multicultural state being shattered. While his own party's
Manmohan Singh put a dagger in the heart of socialism, the BJP has finished off the
rest. Rest in peace the Gandhian (and Nehruvian) dream.
On the other side of the border, we have a former playboy who discovered religion,
and a following through it plus a repeated call to root out corruption and punish the
corrupt. Former leader Nawaz Sharif was duly arrested but mysteriously allowed bail
and an exit visa. He has left the country as has his former rival Asif Zardari ... and
Meanwhile the playboy appears to be a total incompetent and worse. The pressure
being put on the press centers on targeting the other businesses of the TV station
and newspaper owners. It is said to be the worst ever. His constant drumbeat of
corruption and a corrupt country has driven away investment, which a contemptuous
disregard for the judiciary, civil servants and legislation has not contributed to a
successful legislative agenda or smooth running of the country.
An emphasis on the external signals of his religiosity has him starting his speeches
with verses from the Quran. Photographs now show him often with prayer beads in
his hands. When the founder of the country was famously known for being partial to
a usual drink of whisky in the evening, he was clearly not particularly preoccupied with
religious practice, In his first speech [para 7], he emphasized the harm caused by
religious divisiveness. Mr. Jinnah, too, must be turning over in his grave.
In the UK, however, members of Parliament of Indian subcontinent origin continue to
increase with fifteen from Pakistan alone. Sajid Javid, the Chancellor of the
Exchequer (Treasury Secretary), and Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, are descended
from Pakistani and Indian immigrants for example. In such circumstances, would it be
very wrong to invite Britain back to sort out the mess that India, Pakistan and
Bangladesh have become? After all, it would be brethren ruling brethren ... and then,
too. eliminating the risk of nuclear war will be an added bonus.