Sunday, April 12, 2009

Arizona State University and Barack Obama

As the global drama unfolds in the major theatres of Iraq and Afghanistan, piracy and nuclear tests, another theatre is opening up. This one is at home in the U.S - the blight of racism. I feel very sad when I write this.

First it was Notre Dame University where a Catholic Bishop and many of his followers are protesting that Obama must not give a commencement address there because he is pro-choice. Now Obama has killed no one. Is it possible that it has something to do with the colour of the skin of the President? George W. Bush caused the killing of tens of thousands, and maybe hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and Afghanis. Notre Dame had no problem giving Bush such an address. Many around the world, including many in Canada, consider George W. Bush a war criminal and a murderer. I suppose these Catholics endorse such killings by allowing Bush to speak (at least that's what Notre Dame seems to think).

Now Arizona State University does not object to the speaking of President Obama at the university, but university officials say he does not deserve an honourary degree because he does not have enough "body of knowledge." Now let us see whom else the university gave an honourary degree to. One is our own Kim Campbell, who was Prime Minister from June 1993 to October 1993 and lost her own seat in the October 1993 general election. It was so bad that only two Progressive Conservative MPs were elected. Now did she have enough body of knowledge when she became Prime Minister, for a short few fleeting months, that she warranted receiving an honourary degree from Arizona State University?

Here is what the spokesperson for ASU, Sharon Keeler, had to say:

"It's our practice to recognize an individual for his body of work, somebody who's been in their position for a long time."

Arizona State University President Michael Crow crowed Saturday in an e-mail to faculty and students that he was hesitant to award President Obama an honorary degree because of potential political consequences to the state-supported school. I wonder what those political consequences will be? Maybe the white folks of Arizona will be offended.

It is indeed sad state of affairs. Many Americans are unable to cope with the fact that world has changed and colour of skin does not matter. It should have never mattered but then we humans are known to commit such blunders and justify it through the dark cloak of religion.

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