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
February 7, 2014
Mr. President: The magnificent, astonishing opening ceremony at the Sochi Winter
Olympics just ended. A mixture of showmanship and art, tastefully presented and
lavish beyond imagination, it summarized Russian history in breathtaking displays. A
pity politics intervened to keep some leaders away -- their loss -- and to pepper us
with Sochi bashing before it all began. Why does it matter to us how much money
was spent? Some say $50 billion. Others note $7 billion was spent on the Olympic
facilities, and $43 billion went towards infrastructure to develop the area into a
world-class, year-round vacation playground; or else why would internationally
recognized hotel chains build properties.
While the Russians were entertaining billions across the world with such
extravaganza, we, too, managed to take the world's breath away. Someone recorded
a cell phone conversation where a U.S. Assistant Secretary of State can be heard
planning a new government in the Ukraine. Noting lukewarm support from Europe,
she wants to forget about the EU -- except the word used was not 'forget' but a
profanity. The comment has gone viral, as they say.
So, here we are caught red-handed interfering with an elected government. Not for
the first time. The world is aware of what happened to the elected governments of
Allende in Chile, of Mossadegh in Iran, of Guatemala, and recently other
governments. Coups and attempted coups, wars and proxy wars leaving a long and
bloody trail of injured, maimed and dead, of refugees and the internally displaced.
Which presents a better face to the world? It is a question to ponder, because
traveling in many parts of the world these days, many find it prudent to pose as a