Monday, February 27, 2006

Insulting Ghandi?

What a classless jerk. Apparently, visiting Gandhi's shrine in India was on the agenda, then off, then back on (accompanied by protests) after this lovely bon mot last week:
His protocol handlers have notified India’s foreign ministry that the American President’s deep belief in his born again faith precludes the possibility of his visiting Gandhiji’s shrine at Rajghat during the forthcoming visit. Asked by reporters on a recent trip aboard Air Force One if he would be breaking the tradition of foreign dignitaries visiting India paying their respects to the Mahatma, President Bush is believed to have mumbled something about how the Gospel of Jesus Christ viewed cremation as a pagan practice. (02-26-2006)
Bush actually is going to visit the shrine (at least according to the latest news) and water the tree his father planted (or, according to some other news reports, plant another tree) and the shrine is being cordoned off and handed to Secret Service security until March 4th. The visit is being protested by many Indians who say that "George Bush knows nothing of non-violence" and that his visit would be insulting to the memory of Gandi. I don't see how any bow to the work done by Ghandi could be contrued as insulting, and I think that he should visit (minus the foofaraw about closing off the shrine for a week of course). To not go would be more insulting -- although I do hope he can keep himself from blurting out something ridiculously and offensively religious.

The visit is apparently just as shrouded in secrecy as the rest of the things that Bush does -- no one is talking about it, and the US group is just rolling in and taking over and entire hotel, as usual. While some of this just basic security, I honestly don't remember any previous president requiring so much in the way of security and annoying so many people in the process. Huge parts of cities must be closed down. Did this happen with other presidents? I don't remember it, but then again, I'm likely to view Bush more negatively since I think he's a classless boob.

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