Eulogy by Obama at charleston: 14th in his tenure.

Shoot out in USA to kill without provocation

President Obama had misfortune to deliver 14 eulogies in his tenure. Each in respect of civilian death(s) caused by a discontent fellow civilian, without any apparent provocation. No person will envy President Obama. Violence is last expression of discontent. While contentment is like unicorn, it appears we are left to deal with discontentment without the former. About discontent in students, I had expressed my humble observations here. But it would also be the right time to review the Military Type education we provide in our schools. The violence at charleston has a racist angle. It appears that a 21 years old boy with white supremacist mind set opened fire during prayer inside a ‘black’ church. Though not sure, the fact that initially the shooter also joined the victims in prayer makes the violence even more macabre. But who am I to comment anything on it. Here in east, USA is 7 continents apart. Is it really? Yesterday night terrorist attack at Tunisia, Kuwait and France was visible at every personal at airport(here in India). Yesterday morning. I could smell the chill. The heightened anxiety in security personal was confirmed by referring to news section in phone. It was reassuring to see an alert sniper with telescopic weapon at the other end of airport, as after such incident ghost shooters are felt lurking in corners.

Global connectivity & transborder effect of events:

Charleston killing and issue of slavery both are connected, may be in the past. Would there been slavery if English court had not been hypocritical in 16th century, in not issuing extraterritorial writ to stop it? Can we be absolutely sure that crusades from Europe to Jerusalem in Middle Ages have absolutely no bearing on ISIS today?

My point is that we are globally connected and affected by each happening and it is a time to acknowledge that. Nationalist emotionalism may galvanise better taxes and more armies but it remains an emotionalism which is an impediment in understanding problem much less in finding solutions.

Racism and Charleston shoot out:

Back to Obama’s eulogy and beautiful words, he certainly impressed with his knowledge of Bible. Even more impressive was its application on the departed soul. Grace is one of the words which has no translation in Hindi/Sanskrit in the same way as Hindi word ‘punya’ which is opposite of sin (like grace) has no meaning in English. Therefore often treated similarly but this eulogy confirms that difference is far more than subtle. As regards eulogy it can be summed up by a couplet from an old Urdu song:

वो अफ़साना जिसे अंजाम तक ले जाना ना हो मुमकिन, उसे एक ख़ूबसूरत मोड़ देकर क्षोड़ना अच्छा ।

This would roughly translate as: If a story can not be led to logical conclusion, better give it a beautiful turn and leave it there. And as a deft politician, this is what Obama did. In English there is one word for it: Deflected.

Discontentment in humans is a matter which requires global debate. Mere yoga would not solve it. Issues like racism, castism, apartheid or plain old hatred are not a matters of past. These are the matters buried inside our head. Obama as a fist black (and articulate) president could have started debate about racism which is as real as other issues. A society which deflects issues causing discontentment is forced to deal with frequent ruptures caused by it. And occasional hurricanes as well.

Discontent in a developed country:

America saw the hurricane 1992 and ever since is seeing small blisters of discontentment in each shoot out but society is not debating it. Ethnic violence has gripped the world for a long time. So much so that wikipedia has a page devoted to list of ethnic violence here. It deals with every country in the world. It would be surprising that India does not figure in this list. But it also has problems.

President of USA is ignoring the fact that discontent people will find excuse to vent anger. Every year USA has incidents of ethnic violence. Details of these incidents have been documented at this wikipedia page. It can be anything from job, education, race, colour or religious or political ideology. This is true not only for USA but every country and society to admit problems and debate about it. Merely repeating that these incidents do not happen in developed country will not change the fact that these incidents not only do not happen but are a regular and frequent feature of the society. Denial is hallucinating.

God and his son and even grandsons or other siblings may own the World but they certainly do not own human mind. If they did churches, temples and mental counsellors would not exist. We have to solve this problem ourselves. Who will lead the country if the First Man will deflect the problem?

Human programming:

Every human is a reaction of its past. Or should I say past suffering. We do not live we react from the past. Our past programs us, so does our neighbourhood, peers, relatives which can be collectively called as environment. What was the environment of the shooter? Did anybody addressed to that? Is very high cost of living and presumed high standard of living causing discontent? Merely declaring oneself developed country is not enough especially when society stoops to crimes of those order which are found in most backward state of Bihar in India. Obama as first black president of USA had better chance of reaching out and starting debate on racism but he chose to remain non practicing black which is unfortunate. Even more unfortunate is fact that the country which so proudly proclaims itself developed has 1/4th of its population homeless but there is no debate about it. Is it because they are also not electors.

Political debates in public:

Privacy and individuality has a place in bed rooms and bathrooms. Religious and political views do not deserve that privacy. But president would not come out and admit problem of racial bias in society for he would appear weak and his party would electorally suffer. But white policemen killing black in cold blood would not end by mere prayers for God is helpless.

Problems in east:

Back to East we have similar issue and similar problems but an interesting twist. Religious tolerance as Obama during his last visit rather smugly pointed out, needs debate. But religious issues are made a reason for chest beating deflecting any debate. Tolerance has been given a new meaning in last about 65 years. Every religion claims a right over public property and resources while Government of the day would cave in to protect vote banks. Courts had to step in to maintain the balance. Intolerance is caused by too much freedom of religion. The freedom of every person must stop at my nose and arse. BTW the the presidents of USA may keep a watch at Bihar, when we solve caste problem there, we shall give you the solution to apply on your rednecks. You may modify and apply. But until then, sorry, you are at your own.

(E.& O.E.) {second draft under revision}

About Sandeep Bhalla

A lawyer, thinker, author, Linux/Ubuntu power user and sometime an economist or gardener or philosopher or cook or photographer depending upon the current thought and environment. View all posts by Sandeep Bhalla

2 responses to “Eulogy by Obama at charleston: 14th in his tenure.

  • 21stcenturyxstian

    Very fine. Your “global” perspective is almost as “global” as mine!!! Seriously, I always appreciate your astute observations. Yes, Obama has equivocated but he had to. Any politician has to equivocate or he will get nothing done. He has been described as “messianic” and his eulogy illustrated this marvelous quality of his. But he is also grounded in this world enough that he can be “political” or otherwise he would not have been presidential timber in the first place. Politics is an ugly business. Human enterprise is an ugly business. When I get to heaven, I think I’m going to usurp God’s thrown and will then say “enough of this” and with my celestial thumb just flick this whole enterprise into oblivion! (Uh oh, that would not be Christian, would it?)

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    • Sandeep Bhalla

      I agree about Obama being a politician and that is why that couplet. As regard throne and usurping it, I am not sure if I am qualified to comment on christianity. But why bother you can always be founder of a new religion. I had written a quick guide on that. Shall look up and send the link. All the best.

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