Weekly Letter to President Obama
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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
December 11, 2015

Mr. President:  In your TV address, your sober assessment of the so-called threat
from Muslims was a statesmanlike contrast to Donald Trump the GOP candidate.  He
continued his buffoon act trying to grab media space through outrageous comments.  
It works.  This time he proposes prohibiting the entry of all Muslims to this country,
including the re-entry of Muslims residing here who for whatever reason go beyond
our borders.  And he grabbed headlines.

How does Mr. Trump decide who is Muslim?  If it is by parentage, as was the case for
Jews in Nazi Germany, then it seems our President will be denied re-entry to this

Is it a testament to the vacuity of Mr. Trump's GOP supporters that this ludicrous idea
has gained currency?  There are over a billion Muslims in this world, many have
invested billions in this country creating thousands of jobs.  A billionaire manufacturer
of auto parts, the heads of a pharmaceutical and a furniture firm and others.  Of
course a unique case in point is the late Steve Jobs.  His father, a Syrian Muslim, was
denied the chance to marry his pregnant girlfriend because of her bigoted family.  
The baby was given up for adoption.

This week brought forth more news about the San Bernardino shooting:  the man who
bought the rifles is in a mental hospital.  If the news is correct, he and Farooq had
planned an attack earlier but then abandoned the idea.  Last week this column noted
the psychosis in Farooq's family and that such problems, if they are inherited, often
manifest themselves in the middle twenties.  Quite clearly, two mentally disturbed kids
initiate the idea, then it is abandoned only to be taken up again with a disturbed wife
who was willing to leave behind a six-month old baby.

When it's a disturbed person with antipathy to African-Americans, inspired by the Klu
Klux Klan, he is correctly identified as disturbed.  Not when someone has a Muslim
background -- the Muslim is considered 'radicalized,' thereby making the whole
community suspect as potential radicals.  Angering millions of hard working innocent
Muslim citizens is hardly the way to fight radicalism.

The fear of the different and the tendency to mass hysteria should by now be lessons
we have learned.  In World War II, it was the shameful internment of
Japanese-Americans; in the eighties, it was an assault on pre-school day care givers
when many were falsely accused of nonsense like devil worship and sexual abuse.  
No matter how improbable or unbelievable, the public and our justice system become
the first true believers.

In marked contrast to the hysteria here is the sight of Mr. Justin Trudeau, the new
Canadian Prime Minister, welcoming this week the first batch of Syrian refugees.  He
unveiled plans to accept 25,000 by the end of February.  "This is a wonderful sight ..
we get to show the world how to open our hearts and welcome people who are fleeing
extraordinarily difficult straits."  What a change from the politics of hate initiated by his
predecessor, Stephen Harper, and what an example for us.