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
December 23, 2016
Mr. President: What is Christmas, if we do not give a thought to the oppressed, the
disadvantaged, the less fortunate, indeed the unfortunate among us. By us I mean
not just parochially but as widely as possible, I mean the family of man.
Among the most unfortunate remain the Palestinians leading the hellish existence of
an open prison, surrounded by walls and checkpoints. Originally one fifth of
Palestinians were Christian, some of the families in fact the original Christians,
although their numbers have now diminished. Given the number of instances of
Palestinians needing urgent medical attention being snarled at checkpoints instead of
being rushed through, I fear if Joseph and Mary, in the apocryphal tale, had traveled
to Bethlehem today, Jesus would have been born at a checkpoint.
The 22 percent of the land left to the Palestinians out of the original Palestine is
sometimes quietly, sometimes noisily, getting gobbled up by illegal settlements. In
theory, the US opposes them but in practice does nothing. So it came as a pleasant
surprise when the U.S. did not cast its expected veto against the recent UN Security
Council resolution condemning them. Congratulations are in order to the all too
gutless Obama administration and to our Compromiser-in-Chief, a Peace Nobelist,
who has remained nobly aloof (at least apparently) while a swathe of countries
stretching from North Africa through the Arabian Peninsula and into the Pakistan
border have been devastated, not to mention Ukraine destabilized through a coup.
Yet out of this cauldron of death and destruction plus a resulting refugee tsunami
destroying a European experiment, comes a chance, a small chance, of some legacy
-- even Obamacare the health initiative has taken to its sick bed. In the three weeks
remaining of this president's term, he can recognize Palestine as a state. It would
enable Palestine to become a full member of the United Nations and press its
legitimate rights. Otherwise the future is bleak, both for Palestine and Israel.
President-elect Trump has signaled the last gasp of the two-state solution through his
choice of ambassador to Israel. His friend and bankruptcy lawyer (used often) David
Friedman is noted for his affinity with extremist Israeli settlers, illegally squatting in
universally condemned settlements that also violate the Fourth Geneva Convention.
He is president of the American Friends of Bet El Yeshiva and Bet El Institutions,
raising money to support settlers.
Since the end of his presidency, Jimmy Carter and his exemplary foundation have
undertaken many admirable challenges including the eradication of certain
waterborne diseases in Africa. He has also written about the plight of Palestinians,
the latest of which is an op-ed in the New York Times (November 28, 2016) titled
America Must Recognize Palestine. He exhorts President Obama to recognize
Palestine as a country and annul U.S. objections to it becoming a full member of the
It is perhaps the last hope for a two-state solution.