TODAY'S MESSAGE

Ferguson is burning - we cannot sit and do nothing, we have got to bring people together. If this conflict does not recede by next week, I am going there to organize a unity day. Mike Ghouse

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

JFK Quote on Justice

I just read this quote and am pleased that I have been talking about the same thought for the last several years. Yes, what is good for America has got to be good for the world and vice-versa for it to succeed.

"We do not want a PAX Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children -- not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women -- not merely peace in our time but peace for all time."
John F. Kennedy (1963)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Obamas interview in 1996 - my impressions

I wrote a note in Face book this afternoon;

Mike Ghouse at 4:05pm January 10
Bonnie,Amazing! Your list of heros is identical to mine except Ann Frank and Victory Frankyl, I would like to know about them.

My Mentors are: Muhammad, Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, MLK, Mandela, My Dad, Mom and Grand father and now Obama (in the making). I draw inspiration from them.

And Bernies sends this article at 10:00 PM and I find these appealing;

[Sometimes, when we’re lying together," he says, "I look at her and I feel dizzy with the realization that here is another distinct person from me, who has memories, origins, thoughts, feelings that are different from my own. That tension between familiarity and mystery meshes something strong between us. Even if one builds a life together based on trust, attentiveness and mutual support, I think that’s it’s important that a partner continues to surprise."]

[ "A part of me was wondering what a strong, reassuring family life would look like," he says, "while Michelle in a way, wanted to break from that model. In a way only, because she’s very attached to family values, but I think she sometimes sees in me a more adventurous way of life, more exotic, and in that respect, we’re complementary." ]

[ "Barack helped my overcome my shyness, take on risks, and try a less traditional path, just to see how it would go, because that’s how he was raised," she says."I’m the more traditional in the couple and he’s the more audacious. I’m more cautious. I think it shows in photographs. He’s more extroverted, more expansive, me I’m more ‘let’s wait and see how things present themselves and how it can benefit us.’" ]

[ He says, "perhaps that’s where the private and public spheres meet, when it comes to couples, relationships, families or tribes. What’s important is empathy, an understanding of shared responsibilities, the ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes. That’s why my marriage to Michelle is vibrant, because we are able to imagine the hopes, the pains, the personal battles of other people, and the challenge for everyone is to transfer that ability (for empathy) from the family sphere to the public sphere." ]

Well, I give up, almost everything I read about him, of him, I relate it with him, as if I see me in him.

Mike Ghouse
# # #


Political Punch
Power, pop, and probings from ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper
http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/01/sacre-bleu-le-m.html

Sacre Bleu! Le Monde Publishes Never-Before-Seen 1996 Interview With Obamas About Their

"Ma priorité est de ramener les valeurs publiques ou collectives au centre du débat," said President-elect Barack Obama in an interview running in today's Le Monde newspaper.

Mr. Obama was not speaking in French; his words had been translated.

And in fact he hadn't uttered them in more than 12 years.

The French newspaper Le Monde on Saturday took the Obama team by surprise by publishing an interview with Barack and Michelle Obama from 1996 in which the two spoke at length about their marriage, only four years after they were wed, and two years before their oldest daughter Malia was born.

Many themes will not surprise those who know or follow the Obamas.

Sitting down to talk about their future the same year Obama eventually ended up running for state senate (and winning), his wife Michelle in the interview expresses reservations about whether a life in politics is what they want.

And while her husband is less uncertain of his calling, he wonders aloud about his ability to maintain a balance between private and public life. He also sounds out some notes about restoring civility in discourse to public life and the notion that we're all in this together, themes that have stayed with him throughout his career up through this week.

The interview, entitled "An Intimate Conversation with Michelle and Barack Obama," was conducted for a book about American marriages and was never published before today. The story was noticed in Le Monde by Tom McCarthy at the ABC News desk and translated from the French by Maeva Bambuck and Jean Fievet in ABC News' London bureau. (When assessing the precise accuracy of the quotes below, keep in mind they have now been translated from English to French to English.)

"If You Look Deep Into Her Eyes, There's a Certain Vulnerability"

President-elect Obama, who turned 35 that year, describes growing up with a single mother and absent father, and says, "I think that in a certain way, I’ve tried all my life to fabricate a family through stories, memories, friends or ideas. Michelle’s family life was different, very stable with two parents, a stay-at-home mom, a brother, a dog, that kind of thing. They’ve lived in the same house all their lives. And I think that in a certain way we complement each other, we represent two common models of family life in this country. One very stable and strong, another that frees itself from the constraint of a traditional family, travels, separates, is very mobile."

"A part of me was wondering what a strong, reassuring family life would look like," he says, "while Michelle in a way, wanted to break from that model. In a way only, because she’s very attached to family values, but I think she sometimes sees in me a more adventurous way of life, more exotic, and in that respect, we’re complementary."

Describing Michelle as "alluring" and with "a strong personality," the future President says, "if you look deep into her eyes, there’s a certain vulnerability. In any case, I see it even if most don’t realize it: she goes through life tall, beautiful, confident, very able…There’s a part of her that is fragile, young, sometimes scared, and I think these are contradictions that attracted me to her. And she makes me very happy. She is very familiar to me and so I can be myself around her, she knows me well, I completely trust her, but at the same time in certain respects she remains a mystery to me."

"Sometimes, when we’re lying together," he says, "I look at her and I feel dizzy with the realization that here is another distinct person from me, who has memories, origins, thoughts, feelings that are different from my own. That tension between familiarity and mystery meshes something strong between us. Even if one builds a life together based on trust, attentiveness and mutual support, I think that’s it’s important that a partner continues to surprise."

"I Was Thinking, 'He's Probably an Idiot, Whatever'"

"It was strange, that excitement over this first-year student," then-32-year-old Michelle Obama recalls when describing the buzz about a new summer associate at the law firm Sidley and Austin. "So smart, so good-looking, so intelligent, everyone was talking about Barack. I’m more of the skeptical kind, I was thinking, 'Yeah, he’s probably an idiot, whatever.'"

Why was she skeptical? "Because I always thought that when lawyers rave about someone, they always neglect the relational qualities," Michelle says, "so I told myself, 'He might be brilliant, but he’s probably very ordinary.' And then on the first day, he showed up late. He was late because it’d been raining! And then he walked into the office and we got along right away because he was charming and very good-looking, at least I found him good-looking. I think we were attracted to one another because we didn’t take ourselves too seriously, like some others did. He liked my dry humor and my sarcastic comments. I thought he was a good man, interesting, and I was fascinated by his personal story, so different from mine."

The first lady-in-waiting clearly liked the fact that he was different and perhaps even a bit exotic.

"It’s not every day that a girl from the South Side of Chicago meets someone who speaks Indonesian, who has traveled and has seen many fascinating things," she says. "It gave him a rather rare dimension in my higher middle-class work environment. Usually, these people are all cast from the same mold, but he came from elsewhere. He had a high level of conversation, while still remaining an average guy. He had an impressive curriculum, but was very down to earth and liked playing basketball. That’s what I found attractive in him. Our relationship was first a friendship. It took off from there."

"There's a strong possibility Barack will pursue a career in politics"

Asked how she envisions her future with her husband, Michelle says, "there’s a strong possibility that Barack will pursue a career in politics, although it’s not very clear yet. It’s an interesting challenge, the Illinois senate, although we’ve had disagreements on that topic. Once you’re involved in politics, your life becomes public and the people who scrutinize it are not always well-intentioned. I’m rather secretive and I like to surround myself with people I care about and who’s loyalty I trust."

"When you start in politics, you have to confide in all sorts of people," she continues. "We may go in that direction, even though I also want to have children, travel, and spend time with my family and friends. It’s not certain that we will succeed. But we’re going to be very busy with a number of different things, and it’s going to be interesting to see what life has to offer to us. We’re ready to take on that adventure for various reasons, for instance, for the opportunities it can open to us."

Her husband was clearly leading her down the path.

"Barack helped my overcome my shyness, take on risks, and try a less traditional path, just to see how it would go, because that’s how he was raised," she says."I’m the more traditional in the couple and he’s the more audacious. I’m more cautious. I think it shows in photographs. He’s more extroverted, more expansive, me I’m more ‘let’s wait and see how things present themselves and how it can benefit us.’"

Mr. Obama seems more sure that he will, in fact, enter politics.

"What concerns me the most are children and the way they are treated," he says about why he will pursue a career in public office. "As an African-American, I am very concerned about children from poor neighborhoods, the problems they deal with, the total lack of a stable environment to enable them to grow and develop. It depends a lot on the economy, the opportunities they are given, their own selves and their parents. It also depends on values, for instance on the kind of family values that get talked about a lot, especially by politicians."

He continues, saying, "values don’t just belong to individuals, they are also collective. Children are exposed to the values around them, and if they come to believe that the lives of their parents and their community cannot be rewarded, if their schools and homes are crumbling, how can they come to believe in their own values when they don’t have any to begin with? My priority is to return social values to public debate, because we are all one big family, transcending racial or class differences. We have obligations and responsibilities towards one another."

He says, "perhaps that’s where the private and public spheres meet, when it comes to couples, relationships, families or tribes. What’s important is empathy, an understanding of shared responsibilities, the ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes. That’s why my marriage to Michelle is vibrant, because we are able to imagine the hopes, the pains, the personal battles of other people, and the challenge for everyone is to transfer that ability (for empathy) from the family sphere to the public sphere."

"The Issue Will Be Finding a Balance Between Public Life and Private Life"

Describing his father, Mr. Obama said "he studied economy in the United States, at the University of Hawaii and at Harvard. He wanted to contribute to development of Kenya but in the end, he was disappointed, he found himself implicated in political rivalries and the government blacklisted him because he’d protested against nepotism and tribalism. He had a bitter life and died young. Michelle’s father also had to overcome challenges and was stricken by multiple sclerosis. He too died young, but I think he had a steadier and more established life."

Speaking of his mother's death just months before, Mr. Obama says, "she was only 53 years old. And when you have a small family, where every relative is very close to you…it was a difficult time for me. I have a sister on my mother’s side, she is half Indonesian like my mother’s second husband, and I also have brothers and sisters on the Kenyan side. They are very scattered, some live in Germany, others in Kenya, some here in the U.S."

Mr. Obama says that for him and his wife, "kids are an important priority. We really look forward to having them. I think that the issue will be finding a balance between public life and private life, which will mean finding a balance between my temperament that leans towards risk-taking and ambition, and Michelle’s instinct for stability, family and strong values. The way we go about dealing with these issues will be crucial."

Friday, January 9, 2009

Gandhi on Jews & Middle-East

I just read this piece "Gandhi on Jews & Middle-East" and had goose bumps. He is truly my mentor. I have written almost the same words on justice and non-voilence.

This is a powerful idea" The nobler course would be to insist on a just treatment of the Jews wherever they are born and bred. The Jews born in France are French in precisely the same sense that Christians born in France are French. If the Jews have no home but Palestine, will they relish the idea of being forced to leave the other parts of the world in which they are settled? Or do they want a double home where they can remain at will? This cry for the national home affords a colorable justification for the German expulsion of the Jews"

Why should other Arab nations allow Palestinians to live in their lands? It will simply legitimize Israel's forced annexations and will set a bad precedent. Whoever is powerful can push the indigenous people... and they have to run?

His talk about Jews should stick to their place firmly and not yeild to the pushers send goose bumps through me.. that has been my piece as well.

I need to learn more about Gandhi.

Mike



Gandhi on Jews & Middle-East
http://www.kamat.com/mmgandhi/mideast.htm

A Non-Violent Look at Conflict & Violence

Article Written on November 20, 1938
Published in Harijan on November 26, 1938
This Web Page Last Updated: September 07,2008

It is of utmost importance to remember the time of this writing. It is 1938, Hitler is ruling Germany, and the clouds of a terrible conflict have begun to form. Gandhi's article shows his incredible sense of right and wrong, his blind faith in his methodology, and his profound vision of things to come. -Ed.

by Mohandas K. Gandhi

Several letters have been received by me asking me to declare my views about the Arab-Jew question in Palestine and the persecution of the Jews in Germany. It is not without hesitation that I venture to offer my views on this very difficult question.

My sympathies are all with the Jews. I have known them intimately in South Africa. Some of them became life-long companions. Through these friends I came to learn much of their age-long persecution. They have been the untouchables of Christianity. The parallel between their treatment by Christians and the treatment of untouchables by Hindus is very close. Religious sanction has been invoked in both cases for the justification of the inhuman treatment meted out to them. Apart from the friendships, therefore, there is the more common universal reason for my sympathy for the Jews.

But my sympathy does not blind me to the requirements of justice. The cry for the national home for the Jews does not make much appeal to me. The sanction for it is sought in the Bible and the tenacity with which the Jews have hankered after return to Palestine. Why should they not, like other peoples of the earth, make that country their home where they are born and where they earn their livelihood?

Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct. The mandates have no sanction but that of the last war. Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home.

The nobler course would be to insist on a just treatment of the Jews wherever they are born and bred. The Jews born in France are French in precisely the same sense that Christians born in France are French. If the Jews have no home but Palestine, will they relish the idea of being forced to leave the other parts of the world in which they are settled? Or do they want a double home where they can remain at will? This cry for the national home affords a colorable justification for the German expulsion of the Jews.

But the German persecution of the Jews seems to have no parallel in history. The tyrants of old never went so mad as Hitler seems to have gone. And he is doing it with religious zeal. For he is propounding a new religion of exclusive and militant nationalism in the name of which many inhumanity becomes an act of humanity to be rewarded here and hereafter. The crime of an obviously mad but intrepid youth is being visited upon his whole race with unbelievable ferocity. If there ever could be a justifiable war in the name of and for humanity, a war against Germany, to prevent the wanton persecution of a whole race, would be completely justified. But I do not believe in any war. A discussion of the pros and cons of such a war is therefore outside my horizon or province.

But if there can be no war against Germany, even for such a crime as is being committed against the Jews, surely there can be no alliance with Germany. How can there be alliance between a nation which claims to stand for justice and democracy and one which is the declared enemy of both? Or is England drifting towards armed dictatorship and all it means?

Germany is showing to the world how efficiently violence can be worked when it is not hampered by any hypocrisy or weakness masquerading as humanitarianism. It is also showing how hideous, terrible and terrifying it looks in its nakedness.

Can the Jews resist this organized and shameless persecution? Is there a way to preserve their self-respect, and not to feel helpless, neglected and forlorn? I submit there is. No person who has faith in a living God need feel helpless or forlorn. Jehovah of the Jews is a God more personal than the God of the Christians, the Musalmans or the Hindus, though, as a matter of fact in essence, He is common to all the one without a second and beyond description. But as the Jews attribute personality to God and believe that He rules every action of theirs, they ought not to feel helpless. If I were a Jew and were born in Germany and earned my livelihood there, I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest gentile German may, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon; I would refuse to be expelled or to submit to discriminating treatment . And for doing this, I should not wait for the fellow Jews to join me in civil resistance but would have confidence that in the end the rest are bound to follow my example. If one Jew or all the Jews were to accept the prescription here offered, he or they cannot be worse off than now. And suffering voluntarily undergone will bring them an inner strength and joy which no number of resolutions of sympathy passed in the world outside Germany can. Indeed, even if Britain, France and America were to declare hostilities against Germany, they can bring no inner joy, no inner strength. The calculated violence of Hitler may even result in a general massacre of the Jews by way of his first answer to the declaration of such hostilities. But if the Jewish mind could be prepared for voluntary suffering, even the massacre I have imagined could be turned into a day of thanksgiving and joy that Jehovah had wrought deliverance of the race even at the hands of the tyrant. For to the god fearing, death has no terror. It is a joyful sleep to be followed by a waking that would be all the more refreshing for the long sleep.

It is hardly necessary for me to point out that it is easier for the Jews than for the Czechs to follow my prescription. And they have in the Indian satyagraha campaign in South Africa an exact parallel. There the Indians occupied precisely the same place that the Jews occupy in Germany. The persecution had also a religious tinge. President Kruger used to say that the white Christians were the chosen of God and Indians were inferior beings created to serve the whites. A fundamental clause in the Transvaal constitution was that there should be no equality between the whites and colored races including Asia tics. There too the Indians were consigned to ghettos described as locations. The other disabilities were almost of the same type as those of the Jews in Germany. The Indians, a mere handful, resorted to satyagraha without any backing from the world outside or the Indian Government. Indeed the British officials tried to dissuade the satyagrahis (soldiers of non-violence) from their contemplated step. World opinion and the Indian Government came to their aid after eight years of fighting. And that too was by way of diplomatic pressure not of a threat of war.

But the Jews of Germany can offer satyagraha under infinitely better auspices than Indians of South Africa. The Jews are a compact, homogeneous community in Germany. they are far more gifted than the Indians of South Africa. And they have organized world opinion behind them. I am convinced that if someone with courage and vision can arise among them to lead them in nonviolent action, the winter of their despair can in the twinkling of an eye be turned into the summer of hope. And what has today become a degrading man-hunt can be turned in to a calm and determined stand offered by unarmed men and women possessing the strength of suffering given to them by Jehovah. It will be then a truly religious resistance offered against the godless fury of dehumanized man. The German Jews will score a lasting victory over the German gentiles in the sense that they will have converted that latter to an appreciation of human dignity. They will have rendered service to fellow-Germans and proved their title to be the real Germans as against those who are today dragging, however unknowingly, the German name into the mire.

And now a word to the Jews in Palestine. I have no doubt that they are going about it the wrong way. The Palestine of the Biblical conception is not geographical tract. It is in their hearts. But if they must look to the Palestine of geography as their national home, it is wrong to enter it under the shadow of the British gun. A religious act cannot be performed with the aid of the bayonet or the bomb. They can settle in Palestine only by the goodwill of the Arabs. They should seek to convert the Arab heart. The same God rules the Arab heart, who rules the Jewish heart. They can offer satyagraha in front of the Arabs and offer themselves to be shot or thrown in to the Dead Sea without raising a little finger against them. They will find the world opinion in the their favor in their religious aspiration. There are hundreds of ways of reasoning with the Arabs, if they will only discard the help of the British bayonet. As it is, they are co-sharers with the British in despoiling a people who have done no wrong to them.

I am not defending the Arab excesses. I wish they had chosen the way of non-violence in resisting what they rightly regarded as an unwarrantable encroachment upon their country. But according to the accepted canons of right and wrong, nothing can be said against the Arab resistance in the face of overwhelming odds.

Let the Jews who claim to be the chosen race prove their title by choosing the way of non-violence for vindicating their position on earth. Every country is their home including Palestine, not by aggression but by loving service. A Jewish friend has sent me a book called The Jewish Contribution to Civilization by Cecil Roth. It gives a record of what the Jews have done to enrich the word's Literature, art, music, drama, science, medicine, agriculture, etc. Given the will, the Jews can refuse to be treated as the outcaste of the West, to be despised or patronized. He can command the attention and respect of the world by being man, the chosen creation of God, instead of being man who is fast sinking to the brute and forsaken by God. They can add to their many contributions the surpassing contribution of non-violent action.

© 1987 Navajivan Trust.