Showing posts with label Nelson Mandela. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nelson Mandela. Show all posts

Saturday, April 08, 2023

The Hammer Of Peaceful Activism

Putin, in his speeches, falls to the gender topic as a reflex action. I need to stay in power or they will come and turn your children into transvestites! I needed to go to war or they might have come and dressed your children into drag queen attires! Send 300,000 men to the front or they might come and turn men into women, and women into men! It is bizarre logic.

Alexei Navalny was safe. He did not have to go back to Russia. It was certain they would jail him and worse. But still he went. And he has indeed been subjected to jail and worse.

Zelensky fights for Navalny.

One man suffers so his country might not have to suffer indefinitely. Navalny chose to go. He was safe abroad.

But the thing about the moral fiber of someone like Alexei Navalny is it is a rope. It ties him to you, and it ties him to me. There is no escape route. You don't have the option to be quiet. You don't have the luxury of inaction. This is the spiritual reality. Just like your soul is a spiritual reality. It is true. It exists. It is indestructible. It is not the pancreas that a surgeon might dig out. But it is much more real. Your soul is more real than heaven and earth.

By choosing to go to jail and suffer Alexei Navalny communicates with the rest of us at the level that souls talk to each other. You can not look the other way. This man speaks for a nation.

Russians are not a different species. Or they might not have been able to produce the world class literature they have. Russians are long accustomed to the life of the mind. They are one of the best suited for this knowledge economy.

I am a friend of Russia. I want the best for Russia. I want a Russia that is richer, more secure, and yes, I want a Russia that is a power. Major powers like the United States and even China need other power centers. The global system needs a strong Russia to provide a counterbalance. How can there be freedom of thought and freedom of speech and freedom of conscience if truth can not be told to power? Be that to powerful America or to a powerful China?

The fight is inside Russia. The fight is in Moscow. All it will take is for one million Russians to take over the streets and not leave until Putin resigns.

I am not liking the war in Ukraine. I want peace. The path to peace is not this talk or that talk. The path to peace is a mass movement for democracy inside Russia that installs Navalny as the country's interim president who steers the country to elections to a constituent assembly. A democratic, federal Russia will make NATO irrelevant, keep Russia one, and shift the center of gravity in Europe to Kyiv.

Putin is a blight on the Russian conscience. Navalny is Russia's Mandela.

The Kremlin throws cold water on China mediating peace in Ukraine as Macron urges Xi to 'bring Russia to its senses' "So far there are no prospects for a political settlement," the Kremlin said. ....... The Kremlin on Thursday said there were "no prospects" for China to play the role of mediator in Moscow's unprovoked war against Ukraine at present, as French President Emmanuel Macron met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and urged him to "bring Russia to its senses." .......... Peskov said there were "no other ways" forward for Russia aside from continuing its offensive in Ukraine, signaling that Moscow has no interest in negotiations in the foreseeable future. ....... This came after Macron in Beijing said that Russia had dealt a blow to international stability by invading Ukraine, and called on Xi to push Russia to see reason and "bring everyone back to the negotiating table." ......... Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has invited Xi to visit Ukraine and repeatedly expressed a desire to speak with him. The two leaders have not spoken since Russia invaded over a year ago. ........ China has claimed that it's neutral in the Ukraine war and unveiled a peace plan in February on the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion. ........ The war in Ukraine has made Putin a global pariah and isolated Russia economically and politically, but the Russian leader on Wednesday insisted that his country remains a "respected center of world politics." .

China’s Ambassador to the E.U. Tries to Distance Beijing From Moscow The ambassador, Fu Cong, said China was not on Russia’s side in the war in Ukraine. “‘No limit’ is nothing but rhetoric,” he said, referring to a statement from last year about the countries’ relationship......... China tries to present itself as a mediator, insisting that it respects the territorial integrity of Ukraine while endorsing some of Moscow’s narrative about the war. ...... China had not provided military assistance to Russia, nor recognized its efforts to annex Ukrainian territories, including Crimea and the Donbas. ........... Beijing has not condemned the invasion, he said, because it understood Russia’s claims about a defensive war against NATO encroachment, and because his government believes “the root causes are more complicated” than Western leaders say. ......... In her speech, Ms. von der Leyen described the E.U.-China relationship as having become “more distant and more difficult,” and endorsed the view of China as an assertive global player seeking to become “the world’s most powerful nation.” ............. the bloc should “de-risk” its relationship with China by setting new ground rules rather than “decoupling” or withdrawing. ........... China was the third-largest destination of E.U. exported goods in 2022, and the largest exporter of goods to the bloc ......... He said Europe should carve out its own policies and develop more “strategic autonomy,” instead of following Washington’s lead. ......... the backdrop to Mr. Macron’s visit, as it was to the visit of Germany’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, in November, with both accompanied by businessmen eager to continue to do deals with China. ...... “E.U. claims to be a big center, a power center in the world, an independent power center in the world, as much as the United States, as much as China,” Mr. Fu said. “So why does it have to listen to the United States all the time?” .

Brooke Shields and the Curse of Great Beauty “Pretty Baby,” a new documentary on Hulu, explores the toll that sexual and commercial objectification takes on women....... Ms. Shields was a generational touchstone of the 1970s and ’80s, an omnipresent vision — in magazines, television ads and films — of astonishing natural beauty. Luminous deep-blue eyes under those famous dark brows, delicate features, dimpled smile and a glossy brunette mane. By the time she was a preteen, her look had developed — or rather, been groomed into — an improbable blend of Renaissance angel and vamp. ....... We use beautiful young women’s sexuality to sell products (including films); we conflate the women with the products; we imagine women need to be ever newer, younger and shinier — like products. As a result, we grow inured to seeing barely pubescent girls presented as “things,” as erotic commodities. (Driving the point home, the film features an old television ad for toys made in Ms. Shields’s likeness, with the tagline “Brooke Shields: She’s a real living doll.”) ....... The film offers many examples of the exploitation and abuse (including one outright sexual assault) suffered by Ms. Shields ........ a loving but troubled (and alcoholic) single mother, Teri Shields, who also served as her manager, and Ms. Shields understood early that her career provided the family’s sole income. ........ Ms. Shields’s uncannily adult persona remained as impeccable and serene as her appearance. But there is a static quality to her in these clips, a blankness suggesting the practiced deflection of disturbing emotion, as if being treated constantly as an object had nearly turned her into one. ......... Recounting the director Franco Zeffirelli’s attempts to extract from her, 16 and a virgin, a scene of erotic “ecstasy” in the film “Endless Love,” Ms. Shields recalls: “I just dissociated.” (Off camera, to try to simulate passion, Mr. Zeffirelli repeatedly twisted Ms. Shields’s toe, causing her to cry out and contort her face in pain.) In such moments, she says she was “zooming out, seeing a situation but you are not connected to it. You instantly become a vapor of yourself.” ......... Eventually Ms. Shields overcame this vaporous existence, largely through the saving grace of a college education. Encouraged by her professors at Princeton to voice her own opinions, Ms. Shields says she “learned I could think for myself,” which “morphed into this big rebellion.” ........... She set boundaries with her controlling mother, discovered her untapped talents for comedy and dance (with which she could break free of those beautiful blank-slate roles) and, for the first time, found a boyfriend. .........

the story of the terrible toll that sexual and commercial objectification takes on women

....... When Ms. Shields’s image is on the screen, it’s almost impossible to look away. It’s that magnetism that everyone wants to bottle and sell. It’s what launched her career.

‘It Was Not Love at First Sight’ It took Samantha Weinstein and Philip Della Noce a few years to form a friendship, and another few more to become romantic......... “I got to Toronto, and the first person I called was Samantha,” Mr. Della Noce said. “We FaceTimed every single day.” .

U.S. Economy May Be Heading to a Place That Must Not Be Named A hard landing? A banana? Euphemisms for recession have a long history in Washington. Whatever the Fed is stating, it seems to be expecting something ugly, our columnist says. .

@dasha_navalnaya Пошли на аквадискотеку (?) #дашанавальная #навальный #navalny #dashanavalnaya #навальная #partygirl #parents ♬ how would they know bad girls club - Chris Gleason

Saturday, December 26, 2015

2016: The Year For Barack Obama's Revolution From The Top

2016: The Year For Barack Obama's Revolution From The Top

Barack Obama’s autobiography Dreams From My Father is full of little references to what Nelson Mandela in his autobiography called “a thousand little indignities.” But one was talking mostly about America, the other about apartheid South Africa. Can one black man’s ascension to the top make up for racist snarls at the highest levels of government like in the US Senate?

It is time we faced the fact the United Nations is not a world government. It is time to call a spade a spade. It is time to see this institution designed by the World War II victors no longer works. This is not a world government by the far stretches of the imagination. Often when we talk of civil rights movements, we think in terms of ordinary people marching out in the streets. But now is the time for a civil rights movement in which the heads of state march.

What we have is essentially apartheid. The leading country remains fundamentally racist, nowhere more evident than in the country’s criminal justice system. There is no world government. There is a need for one. The thorniest global problems, the loftiest trade deals are worked on outside the UN framework.

America itself needs to be reimagined if it is to fulfill its original mission of a total spread of democracy. It needs to become a country where African immigrants are as at home as European immigrants. White is black is white.

In a democracy you get to vote because you are a human being, not because you are literate or rich. But in the community of nations, there are countries that are rich and have guns, and most have neither. The entire continent of Africa stands disenfranchised. This landmass that is the most central of all, from where we all originated, is still in the clutches of a contemporary incarnation of colonization, slavery and apartheid. We don’t have a name for it yet, but the affliction is very real. Its poverty and disease stem from that disempowerment, not the other way round. And so, any voice that seeks to address its poverty and disease without taking stock of its disenfranchisement is shedding crocodile tears.

What is Barack Obama going to do? Leave the White House and do paid speeches? Write books? Launch a foundation? Raise money for AIDS? Share a stage or two with Bono and George Clooney? The guy is still young. This guy who has cleared up half century old cobwebs every year he has been in office is best suited to lead this revolution from the top. And this is not a cry for Africa, although Africa could use some empowerment. This is a cry for the world. Right now we are a species looking down a sinkhole of uncontrolled weather patterns that just might wipe out life and civilization as we know it. We still have immense poverty and disease that Bill Gates says “only a world government can solve,” and Gates is a guy who has thrown the kitchen sink at the problem, one of the leading entrepreneurs of the era in whose wake many billionaires have given money to fight basic poverty. We face security threats that no one government can solve. Globalization continues to move at breakneck speeds speeding up as the Internet takes deeper roots everywhere, but we have not done the task of institution building that that globalization requires.

Let’s open our eyes and take a look at the elephant in the room. Yes, what we need is a world government, and there is no person better than Barack Obama to take the lead on it. We are lucky we have a George Washington precisely when we need one. And lucky us that the guy is almost done with his current job where he has been stellar every year. Heads of state across the world should join in this chorus and shape this revolution from the top. Lucky us that our thorniest global problems have solutions in political concepts we have already designed, like one person one vote taken to its logical, global conclusion.

There is always inertia. Every monumental political change that in hindsight looks so obviously positive has faced inertia. And this likely will be no different. But the blueprint has to be made, and it has to be presented to ordinary peoples on all continents, so a groundswell of support can build around it.

We want to live in a world where human beings can feel equal everywhere. We want to live in a world with abundant clean energy. We want to live in a world with abundant water, and food and green space. We want clean air. We want to create the industries of tomorrow. We seek unprecedented rises in productivity, as well equitable distribution. We want people to be happy.

It is time the heads of state across the world came together and created the world’s first world government in the leadership of Barack Obama. In his birth as well as personality and outlook, he bridges the world. In his person the world has a chance to come together to reach new heights. This century can not only be the best ever, it can also be one where we have gone past our existential worries, where we have created a truly global civilization, one grand village where everyone can feel a sense of belonging everywhere, where people can take pride in their heritage and claim the common future at the same time, without hassle.

This is in essence a political struggle, where all you start with is a voice. Ordinary people have done it many times before. Heads of state can do it this one time.

It is still about Hope. It is still about Change.

We need a world government because it is time we established rule of law between nations. That is the civilized way.

राजेंद्र महतो लाई ICU पुर्याउने सरकार राजीनामा दे, काठमाण्डु छोड़, देश छोड़, ये धरती हमारी, ये मुल्क हमारा
E for Education, E for Entrepreneurship, E for Energy
Barack Obama: George Washington
आर्थिक क्रांतिका पाँच पाण्डव: सुशासन, शिक्षा, स्वास्थ्य, संरचना, (उद्योगव्यापार) सुलभता
Barack Obama Is Biologically Superior
An Open Letter To Barack Obama

Monday, March 03, 2014

A Statement For My Next Immigration Court Date

Official photographic portrait of US President...
Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Prosecutorial Discretion For Me
A Statement For My Next Immigration Court Date
Paramendra Bhagat
March 3, 2014

There were racist people at the college in Kentucky where I was at who thought I would go to Harvard Law School. They obviously had no clue. This was after I had been part of an exciting tech startup. In short, the legal process I see as red tape. It is beyond me. So I am glad I have a lawyer. Because the whole thing is beyond me. It tries my patience every step of the way.

After they nabbed Nelson Mandela, his process also went on for five years. You have been playing cat and mouse with me for years now. I hope you don’t send me downhill like they sent Nelson Mandela. Frankly I don’t think too highly of this country. I see the huge limitations of this country as clearly as I see garbage in New York City. But I guess I do need a physical country, and this country is the only option I have for now. When I have more resources I might build up a tech team also on St. Lucia, but let me not get ahead of myself. I already have a tech team in Portugal. We are going to build something bigger than Angry Birds. And you are standing in the way right now. It blows my mind that you would be. This country gives someone a green card for a half million dollar investment. And I have started work on a billion dollar idea. Give me 2,000 green cards. Easy arithmetic.

US immigration is easily the most humiliating experience I have gone through in my life. I have been a free spirit. Because that is where the cutting edge thoughts come from. I have made major career sacrifices at various periods of my life when I could hardly afford to to remain a free spirit. And you put me through what you put me through. I was born in Bihar, politics in India is rough, but nowhere rougher than in Bihar. The machine in this city is not going to play cat and mouse games with me. But that is political, and beyond the jurisdiction of this case and this court.

Before 2008 I had a photographic memory. Your mind tries to forget the painful. My mind in trying to suppress the six months in 2008 has also messed up other parts of my past. My memory has no longer been photographic after 2008. You don’t put a free spirit behind bars.

There is the pragmatic and then there is the indignant. So my record shows two blips on the screen. The NYC agents give me a clean record, do they? As if nothing happened in 2008. No, something really big happened in 2008. It might not be on my records, but all details are at my blogs. Some day somebody is going to make a movie called Slumdog Billionaire. The kids in the movie Slumdog Millionaire are all from my birth state of Bihar. That kid was also thrown behind bars by the powers that be. When they took me to Rikers Island in 2008 in the same dorm they threw this Punjabi guy, a Senior. He still had bruises from having been beaten up. His mugshot was all bruises. But the guy who had beat him up was American, and this small, thin, old Indian guy was out of status. So they nabbed him instead of the young, big American guy who beat him up. If you are not American, you don’t have human rights. It is like, they never read me my Miranda rights in 2008. I was not a US citizen. They said I had violated the court order. No, I had not made contact with the said person. I had emailed two people who I had met hundreds of times over the prior years, one of them is now an enemy. But the machine did not care. When you make disappear Barack Obama’s first full time volunteer in New York City on the precise day Hillary loses her primary fight, I have to admit, it is poetic. But all that is political and beyond the jurisdiction of this case and this court.

When you had me inside, I saw almost all your prisoners were black and Hispanic, and almost all your guards were white. That is as concrete as racism gets. Putting one black man in the White House does not change that. That is a special man, but he is only one man in an office with huge limitations to power. Tectonic societal change takes more than putting one man in one office. I guess.

My immigration lawyer is Tamil. I grew up Indian in Nepal. He grew up Indian in Sri Lanka. I identify with the blacks in America because I grew up Indian in Nepal. I have some idea of what it means to be Tamil in Sri Lanka. How can the most literate country in South Asia be so wrong? Is there a non violent way? Could international law give genuine federalism to the Tamils in Sri Lanka?

I guess racism in America is not all that bad, comparatively speaking. Tamils in Sri Lanka have it much worse. But the number one country on the planet does not have the luxury of that logic. What is wrong is wrong. What is bad is bad. What is broken is broken.

Let’s not get into the narrative business. Let’s not suggest they put me through what they put me through in 2008 because two blips showed up on their screens. That is not accurate.

If two blips are showing up on your screen, let me explain.

Blip number 1. This white girl who I handpicked to the number three position in the student government I was leading after having had myself elected student body president at the number one liberal arts college in the Bible Belt South as a freshman breaking all records in college history, she had had a lousy childhood, I did not know. She had run away from home. That bad. People like that are more likely to engage in things like racist demonization. But then college administrators who participated in the same had not had lousy childhoods, or none that they admitted to. This girl came to the forefront of a racist demonization cottage industry one of whose highlights was an article in the college newspaper where I was a rapist in an incident where the girl in question was more offended than I was. If I was a rapist, Bill Clinton had murdered Vince Foster. I get the politics part of it. But the racism part of the experience you might not get. A phone conversation with the lousy childhood white girl where she went berserk and called me all those names all over again. My follow up emails where I was saying things like how can there be rape without sex, or if there was rape, how come the girl in question was more offended than I was, well those emails became raw material for a harassing communication charge in the local court, where the elected judge told me he owes his taxpayers to not give me a lawyer, and “your silence tells me you are guilty.” The pragmatic thing to do is to get a lawyer and get it off my records, and I will do that. It has to be noted though that the only wrong I was accused of by the racist establishment was emails.

Blip number 2. A month after 9/11 I got into a 18 wheeler and I did not get off the road until I had been all over the 48 states. The period lasted on and off for about two years. I call it my Peace Corps experience. You can only drive for 10 hours. Then you have to take an eight hour break. It is a good law. It keeps tired truckers off the road. A 80,000 pound truck moving at 70 miles an hour is a missile. I was nearing 9 hours 45 minutes. I had already figured out the Rest Area where I’d get off and park for the night. This was in northern Texas. This was in the middle of nowhere. You quite literally did not see a single light anywhere on the horizon. So I get off. By now my truck is moving at five miles per hour. Well, it ends up there was not a single empty parking slot. So I had no option but to go back on the interstate highway and get off at the first exist and park on the side road’s shoulder for the night, something I had done many, many times before. You go for Rest Areas and trucks stops, when you can’t, you park on the shoulder of a side road. After I parked I saw ambulance lights in my mirror. The ambulance was not moving. I am like, oh no, looks like I have parked in a way that an ambulance behind me can’t get past me. As soon as I released the brakes, before I moved the truck, I heard loud thumps on my trailer. It was as if there were people beating on my trailer saying, stop, stop, stop. So I did not move. And I opened my door and proceeded to get out of my vehicle.

What had happened was at the Rest Area my truck had gently sideswiped another truck and in the process had slightly damaged one of its headlights. That truck was parked, my truck was moving at five miles per hour. There were no human injuries involved. Even the damage was very minor. Trucks have company insurance, no big deal. That trucker had called 911 and had proceeded to follow me. That was not an ambulance I saw but a whole bunch of police cars. Those were not thumps but a ton of police officers emptying their guns into my truck that was not moving. They took out all the tires.

I had legal insurance at the time through Pre-Paid Legal. My lawyer said, they will try to get you to accept blame, do not do anything like that. Let us handle it. I took the advice. They wrote me  a speeding ticket. I was not speeding. Trucks are designed in a way that you can’t speed even if you want to. I could not get my truck past 68 miles per hour. That is how it had been engineered. When they had me inside for the night in my cell was a Mexican guy, local, who said they nabbed him every month on false drug charges and released him the following day. He did not do drugs, he did not sell drugs. But it made the cops look like they were doing something. It was racial harassment. Those brain dead, stupid motherfuckers. You can do that in Texas. Heck, you can do that in New York City if you want to.

I was out on bail. My bail company had me call in once a week, which I routinely did for years. I had a lawyer. But there was no court date anywhere in sight. After a few years I guess I stopped calling. I felt it had been long enough. Perhaps. I don’t know. I don’t remember. Maybe I moved to New York. Maybe that is what happened. Now you tell me there is a blip on your screen where I was found guilty of hit and run. The phrase makes it sound like I ran over a human body or something. I did not even ever get to see the damaged headlight. But even if their story is true my truck moving at five miles per hour at a Rest Area gently sideswiped another truck that was parked. I did not speed. I could not have. But then this is a country where racism is not illegal, systemic racism sure isn’t. It is the system. It is what keeps the system intact, looks like. It is the air, the blood.

Again, the pragmatic thing to do is to get it off my records. And I will. I am a tech entrepreneur. I need to get to work. Please get out of my way.

You know, for a political person like me, I don’t see me ever running for public office. The digital tools might be enough work for the rest of my working life. And my impact designs are global not local in scope. Otherwise for someone like me becoming Mayor of New York City would be a a cakewalk. It would not be hard to do. Early education is all good, but where I disagree with the current Mayor is, if you want to bring down inequality you offer citywide free WiFi. The 100 biggest cities of the world should build a Consortium of Cities to go past the nation state concept. That is the solution to immigration and population and the environment.

But then such thoughts are beyond the scope of this case or this court.

Know I am a good guy, talented, hard working, with big plans, with the greater good in mind, and get me off this immigration treadmill. It has gone on for too long. If an honorary citizenship is too much to ask for, give me a green card. I already had one. Renew it. I think you can if you wanted to.

I am legal. I can legally work and live in this country right now. But my Employment Authorization Card last year was sent to an address that my lawyer says he never submitted to the immigration people. I did live there for a few temporary months between places. That house was sold to someone else last year, and it has been dismantled. And that is how I was not able to track down whoever might have received my card on my behalf. Talk about drama and government conspiracies.

It is like one day a few years back I was walking around Williamsburg taking pictures. I love this city and I like taking pictures. I have probably uploaded 15,000 pictures of NYC on my Facebook pages. And I had a Jason Bourne moment. I got to say hello to a police sniff dog. There were personnel in a vehicle. An officer with a handgun at the ready quickly turned away across a side street as I crossed a street!

Who or what do you think I am? I am tech entrepreneur without a country right now. That is who.

I guess I could say I am Indian. Culturally I am. I look the part. But it is very hard for someone of my political built to identify intimately with a country whose Supreme Court recently took a major homophobic step.

I am a man without a country. I am a Netizen. Allow me to go online. Get out of my way. 
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Saturday, December 07, 2013

Mandela's Passing

"I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die." - Mandela

I was at a clinic, not for medical reasons. And Mandela was all over TV, and I asked, “What happened? Did Mandela die?” Mandela has passed away at the ripe old age of 95, and we have seen this was coming for months now: the Obamas paid their respects in person.

Mandela had Pele status when I was at high school. He was this mythical figure behind bars. You never expected the Berlin Wall to fall. You never expected Mandela to come out. But come out he did. Heck, he became president. Prisoner to president was a long journey for this son of a tribal chief.

Mandela, Gandhi, Lincoln. America elects a president every four years, but it has not elected another Lincoln.

Mandela did the political thing he set out to do. And South Africa is a leading second tier economy, but many blamed him for not having taken South Africa through a radical economic transformation. Too many blacks were still unemployed. Too many white South Africans still had too much wealth. What was Madiba thinking?

That economic mantle has fallen to his successors. The least they could do is transform South Africa and give it China like growth rates. That future economic transformation is less challenging than ending apartheid was. Apartheid was downright ugly.

Gandhi inspired MLK. Mandela inspired Obama. All of them will inspire generations to come. This world still struggles with issues of race, ethnicity and identity.

27 years is a long time. It is practically a lifetime. He was behind bars for 27 years. He spent his best years behind bars. Like his daughter said, he was a great leader, but not a great father. An absent father is not exactly a great father.

Gandhi never tried violence. Mandela did not start out violent, but during one phase he was open to violent methods: "There are many people who feel that it is useless and futile for us to continue talking peace and nonviolence against a government whose reply is only savage attacks on an unarmed and defenseless people."

And he never regretted the support at one point he received from Gaddafi of Libya. When much later Bill Clinton showed up to see him as President Of The United States, at the press conference Mandela reminded him of his past ties with Gaddafi with a smile, and said, “If someone has problems with that, they can go jump into the pool!” Clinton could not contain his laughter. Because Clinton knew, he never got to meet Gandhi, or Lincoln, or MLK, but here he was standing right next to Mandela. He was honored. He was touched. He worked hard to become a family friend.

Dick Cheney and Margaret Thatcher opposed imposing sanctions on the apartheid regime in South Africa in the 1980s, but sanctions worked. Economic sanctions are a powerful tool, as we are learning on Iran.

I never got to meet him. But you knew he was somewhere there out on the planet. And now he is gone. There is no one like him left. It is like, Michael Jordan was on the courts. And then he was no longer playing. Mandela is no longer breathing. You feel the pinch, the loss. His life’s work long done, he just needed to be. I guess he could have pushed to 100.

"As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison," a free Mandela said in 1990. For many his struggle and his imprisonment are easier to understand than his forgiveness after 1990. He never set out to create a black South Africa.

He also knew to retire. Too many African heads of state go on and on and on. Mandela retired in 1999. He passed on the torch to the next generation of African National Congress leadership.

"Don't call me, I'll call you," he said to the world in 2004.

He was also a rabid soccer fan. In fact his last public appearance was at the 2010 World Cup held in his country. He said he felt like he was “15.”

His life is a lesson that there is hope under the darkest of circumstances, and that one must carry on the duties of justice, one must struggle, one must forgive, one must soldier on. His life is a message for equality, and not just racial equality. His life is also a lesson in leadership that can be carried on to other domains like business and sports.

Oh, to be able to say you were on the planet the same time Mandela was.

BBC: Obituary: Nelson Mandela
Wikipedia: Nelson Mandela
CNN: Nelson Mandela, anti-apartheid icon and father of modern South Africa, dies
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gaddafi Helped Mandela

Imran Khan, December 2007Image via WikipediaIt is important to maintain perspective.

I have always believed in democracy, and I have never thought of it as some kind of a western thing.

The day 9/11 happened I compared it to the start of something along the magnitudes of the Cold War.

Gaddafi is like Castro in that he saw a lot. He saw colonialism, the Cold War, the aftermath, the War On Terror. This guy stayed in the news for half a century.

I was doing school in Kathmandu. We were amazed about this guy who seemed to drive Reagan crazy. Who i-s this guy? We read up on him.

One of the details that has to be noted is that Gaddafi helped Mandela when nobody helped Mandela. Dick Cheney was opposed to imposing sanctions on the apartheid regime and I don't think he has ever course corrected that stand.

I have often wondered what a Gaddafi like political animal functioning in a democratic set up might look like. Because the world does need people who will speak to the west on their own terms.

I am thinking Imran Khan might emerge that welcome voice, someone who is a democrat, a son of the soil, intelligent beyond belief, and someone who simply can not go corrupt.

Gaddafi was a dictator like Saddam was a dictator. I would not put Castro in the same basket. Castro was never a mass murderer. And the US could learn from some of what Cuba has done in education and health. Castro exported many a doctor to Third World countries over decades.

A new world order asks for personalities like Imran Khan who will ride the world stage on behalf of their peoples, democratically elected, and subject to peaceful recall once every few years.

Imran Khan
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Gaddafi Just Did The Bin Laden Thing: He Threatened America

931030-賓拉登再度現身/Bin Laden Appears on Vedio, Oct...Image by KarlMarx via Flickr
Business Insider: Qaddafi Says He Will Join Al Qaeda If The West Invades: Qaddafi is switching scare tactics. ....... For weeks he warned that any ouster of himself would let Al Qaeda take control of Libya...... Now he warns that in an invasion he would join forces with Al Qaeda. Qaddafi told Il Giornale: "We will ally ourselves with al-Qaida and declare holy war."
Used to be about do gooderism. Used to be about helping the Libyan people out. Maybe they can't do it themselves in the face of bottomless brutality. Maybe they can't stand in the face of aerial strikes. Not any more.

Now this has become about America. Here is a guy with billions at his disposal now daring America to an Al Qaeda style Holy War.

Look, I am no American stooge. For me democracy is not about America. I have strong views on race relations in America. I have strong views on campaign finance reform. During the apartheid era Gaddafi was one of the few friends Nelson Mandela's African National Congress had. Gaddafi has been at the forefront of the idea of a United States Of Africa. But you have to be elected to be a country's leader. You have to contest elections. You have to respect human rights. You have to respect free speech. You have to respect a people's right to peaceful assembly. And this guy has not been doing it.

For me this is not about doing America'd bidding. I want Iran to become a modern democracy and I want that Iran to ask as to why America has nuclear weapons. We have to complain about the global drug trade, but we also have to complain about the global gun trade where America is the largest supplier. Guns are deadlier than drugs.

For me this is about the people of Libya, for me this is about the people across the Arab world.

And now this guy just crossed a line whereby it is no longer about Libya, this is now about America. What will you do to a guy who sits on billions of dollars and tens of thousands of armed men with a global network who is threatening terrorist strikes upon the US?

You conduct surgical strikes and you take him out, that's what. This is no longer about democracy and Libya and air strikes and no fly zones. We are in the War On Terror territory now.

Democracy's Despair
The Anatomy Of Revolutions For Democracy
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