Thursday, February 28, 2008


The controversy around the very 'presidential' picture of Obama wearing a turban brings out the rampant Islamophobia in this country. Even right after 9/11, the sensible people did disassociate the faith of islam from Al-Qaeda. Bush himself spoke at one point that Al-Qaeda is the distortion of a peaceful religion. In the 6 years followed 9/11 quite a few things have changed. The violence unleashed by the insurgents in response to the American occupation in Iraq has become highly vicious and the line that once was considered solid - the demarcation where the faith ends and extremism begins - is slowing fading in the minds of people. Even the people who are apparently liberal and firm believers of secularism are suffering from the same problem. While all the presidential candidates are trying to prove how christian they are, they are also finding ways to distance themselves from any aspects of Islam. Couple of days ago, NYTimes reported that Obama had spoken about the suffering of Palestinians somewhere and he was trying to backtrack on that. 1.7% of the jewish voters, albeit small in number, represents a large democratic base, while ~1% of muslims have no voice. I am not particularly critical of Obama for distancing himself from Islam, as doing otherwise would definitely put an end to his candidacy. But the state of the affairs is simply appalling.

By the way, the Naomi Klein has an excellent article on this subject and it reflects my thoughts exactly.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The last of the debates

The American politics has always been very civil - no shooting down of opponents and throwing chairs like you see in the other countries. Even the close elections like 2000, candidates concede to preserve the unity - some times civility is too boring. This election has brought out solid entertainment for the apathetic as well as politically savvy folks - this is as good as it gets. Is it a surprise that Oscars had far fewer viewership this year? I think there is only a finite TV time for the hardworking American and if you got to choose, I can see why Oscars would be the last in the priority list.

At times, failure brings about the worst in people - the recent tactics employed by Hillary are clearly desperate measures to salvage a troubled candidacy. But do you want to really go down as a sour loser? Tonight's debate clearly positioned Obama as the presidential candidate - he deflected every attack directed against him with grace. Yes, he is already presidential. I can't wait to see him crushing McCain.