Special report from New Delhi, India
The air in Delhi is absolutely still. Still and hot. So hot and dusty that a film of black soot covers the body after just a few moments under the blazing India sun. In the narrow streets of the Bhar Gang (the old market) merchants and taxi drivers look to the sky and mumble “Where is the monsoon?”
The monsoon is late to Delhi this year, and it is a topic of general conversation - “Oh yes-it will come in 2 days, or 3 days”.
The Times of India carries daily reports speculating with comments like “meterologists report that conditions delay the monsoon, but farmers are praying for rain” Ah for a monsoon to break this dreadful heat, to clean the air and to bring in new life and resserection.
In the meantime dust piles layer upon layer of filth, in an ancient wait to be washed away when the monsoon comes. It seems to be an interminable wait.
One of the few cool places seemed to be the Ghandi Institute that gathered scholars, intellectuals authors and government advisors to share my presentation: “PUBLIC POLICY AND FREEDOM SINCE 9/11, IS THE WORLD CLOSING UP?”
During the discussion we reviewed the question: “Does political leadership of major nations reflect intellectual vision, depth, inspired compassion, and devotion to democratic ideals?”
We reviewed the legacy of Ghandi, his non-violence. We observed the legacy of Neru of tolerance and compassion in diversity. We noted the legacy of Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty and his Civil Rights movement. We looked at John F. Kennedy’s “Peace Corps” and the “Free Trade not Aid” legacy of Bill Clinton that brought dynamic growth throughout the world.
Then we asked: “What are the legacies of today's world leaders?” Consider:
- George W. Bush: “Good at War”
- Tony Blaire of Britain: “Good at articulating the U.S. position on war”
- China's Leadership: “More repression, of Tibet and other autonomous areas”
- India’s Leadership: “Trade Tibet for Sikkum”
- Pakistan's Leadership: “Accept U.S. Dollars to fight terrorists that Pakistan trained
- Saudi Arabia: “Fight the terrorists that Saudi Arabia financed”
- Iraq’s Legacy: “Exchange the rule of a dictator for an occupation of a foreign power”
- Japan’s Legacy: “Inability to deal with years of recession”
In our discussion it soon became apparent that this crop of world leaders leaves a lot to be desired. The people of the world are not electing leaders of vision and depth, but rather reactionaries and political functionaries.
Therefore, the nations of the world are experiencing governance that:
- Reduces individual rights
- Removes legal rights
- Justifies violence and repression in the name of war on terror
- Reduces tolerance for diversity
- Plunges budgets into deep deficits and then uses this to cut social services
- Uses fear to whip up religious fever to build political power
Therefore because of the lack of good world leaders nations throughout the world report their economies are suffering, their nations more war-like and the daily sense of security eroded. Slowly, gradually the people of the world are realizing that they must bring in better leadership.
We all wait in the stifling heat and stench of corruption, for the monsoon rains, to wash away the filth and bring forth new life.
Bring on the rains of political change!