President Obomber: Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
I recall several years ago arriving on a flight from London at Logan International Airport, Boston. The Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts and Spirit Centre in Marin County had kindly arranged for me in the 1990’s to use an R-1 (Religious) visa to offer my retreats in the USA.
The immigration officer asked me about my work. I said I was a teacher. He asked who I worked for. I replied I was self-employed (slightly odd for a teacher of non-self, of dependent arising).
He then asked: How do I know you will not stay on in the United States, overstay your visa and not return to your home country?”
I replied: “I have no wish to stay a day longer than necessary in this crime ridden country, appalling social services, dreadful health care for the poor and unemployed, 40 million people living on food stamps, people working 10 or 12 hours a day or more with two weeks holiday per year, FBI targetting dissidents, where 50% of the population, namely the poor, Afro Americans and Hispanics, don’t bother to vote and a general lack of human rights for people to live in a peaceful and healthy environment. “
The immigration said nothing. He stamped my passport and I entered the country. My retreat finished on a Sunday lunchtime at IMS and I flew home from Boston back to Europe that evening.
Obviously, Europe has a lot of soul searching to do as well.
Nothing much has changed in the USA. The plight of the poor and marginalised got worse under President George Bush and President Obomber – both in domestic and foreign policy. More than 47 milion US citizens surivive on food stamps, 50% of graduates are unemployed and more than 2,000,000 in prison – a higher number than in the Stalin period of Russia.
I watched on television the speech of President Obomber on the anniversary of 9/11. I was on a plane in US airspace the morning of that terrible day in 2001.
In his speech, the President made reference to the war the USA launched on Afghanistan, the longest war in US history. He did not make reference to more than a million deaths through the war on Afghanistan and Iraq. The death toll amounts to 300 days or more of the equivalent of the obscene day of suicide attacks on 9/11.
Drone attacks on villages in northern Pakistan have increased from the time of Bush from one attack a week to five attacks a week on poor, defenceless villages in remote areas with no health care or hospitals. Tribal leaders, young men and funerals are targeted as terrorist suspects. US has launched drones against villages in Somalia and Yemen.
In the 9/11 anniversary speech, the President then quoted the Bible. “Scripture tells us “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
I checked the source. It is from the New Testament. Romans 12:21. The President failed to read out Romans 12.20.
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him
If he is thirsty, give him something to drink,
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
“Heaping coals on his head” is a proverb from Proverbs in the Old Testament referring the burning out of the issue in the mind of the enemy.
In his speech on September 25, President Obomber told the UN: There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents.”
There is staggering level of self-delusion in Western democracy. I wonder what the delegates from the 200 plus nations of the world must think when the US President lectures them on human rights and American values.
I wonder if the President has even read the UN Declaration of Human Rights. It includes the right to life, the right to security, the right to be free from being subjected to degrading treatment and punishment and the rights to freedom of opinion and expression.
The regular execution of US prisoners, targetted assassinations overseas, Guantanamo Bay, harassment and arrests of Muslims resident in the US who criticise US foreign policy, the persecution of Wikeleaks, the deaths and suicides of US military personnel and the living conditions of millions of Americans surely does not go unnoticed among UN delegates.
Western democracies have a lot of work to do to establish human rights in our own countries.
Those who live in glass houses should not thow stones. In other words, when you throw stones, you damage yourselves.
Western democracy needs to sit up and wake up.