Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bush In India: Just Not Welcome

This article by Arundhati Roy appeared in The Nation this week, and is so bloody funny I had to repost it (with my own pictorial contributions, of course). As an infrequent follower of the capitalist media (I get all my news from The Monthly Review, In These Times, The Texas Observer, and the like) I didn't even know Bush was going to visit India. Nevertheless, India is heavy upon my mind for many reasons. As an IT worker, I have worked for years with men and women from India. More recently I've learned a lot about the rich socialist heritage of India (previous post) and the current struggles between the neoliberal, globalist agenda and the grass-roots but strong socialist and communist traditions. Also of note is the succesful Maoist struggle in Nepal (previous post) which is in the verge of liberating the entire nation from reactionary monarchical rule.

In any case, Roy effectively captures the humor and hubris of Bush's visit to India. Below is an excerpt:
On his triumphalist tour of India and Pakistan, where he hopes to wave imperiously at people he considers potential subjects, President Bush has an itinerary that's getting curiouser and curiouser.

For Bush's March 2 pit stop in New Delhi, the Indian government tried very hard to have him address our parliament. A not inconsequential number of MPs threatened to heckle him, so Plan One was hastily shelved. Plan Two was to have Bush address the masses from the ramparts of the magnificent Red Fort, where the Indian prime minister traditionally delivers his Independence Day address. But the Red Fort, surrounded as it is by the predominantly Muslim population of Old Delhi, was considered a security nightmare. So now we're into Plan Three: President George Bush speaks from Purana Qila, the Old Fort.

Ironic, isn't it, that the only safe public space for a man who has recently been so enthusiastic about India's modernity should be a crumbling medieval fort?

Since the Purana Qila also houses the Delhi zoo, George Bush's audience will be a few hundred caged animals and an approved list of caged human beings, who in India go under the category of "eminent persons." They're mostly rich folk who live in our poor country like captive animals, incarcerated by their own wealth, locked and barred in their gilded cages, protecting themselves from the threat of the vulgar and unruly multitudes whom they have systematically dispossessed over the centuries.

So what's going to happen to George W. Bush? Will the gorillas cheer him on? Will the gibbons curl their lips? Will the brow-antlered deer sneer? Will the chimps make rude noises? Will the owls hoot? Will the lions yawn and the giraffes bat their beautiful eyelashes? Will the crocs recognize a kindred soul? Will the quails give thanks that Bush isn't traveling with Dick Cheney, his hunting partner with the notoriously bad aim? Will the CEOs agree?

Read more of Bush in India: Just Not Welcome

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