Current Events

By Padmini Arhant

Earthquake in Haiti

The Caribbean nation on the western hemisphere, Haiti, is hit with a massive earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale. Natural disasters are generally devastating for any country, particularly the poorest nations.

Unfortunately, Haiti with reportedly 80 percent of the population below the poverty line will require more than financial aid.

President Obama’s action to provide military assistance in rescue operation combined with necessary humanitarian relief is praiseworthy.

Other nations including the Vatican should come forward and join the efforts with the United States in the financial contributions to help victims and their families experiencing the greatest tragedy.

I offer my sincere condolences to the victims’ families and hope for the Haitian population’s sufferings to end now and in the future.

Vice President Joe Biden’s Personal Tragedy

I extend my condolences to the Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden in the recent loss of his beloved mother, Catherine Eugenia “Jean” Finnegan Biden. It’s never easy to bid farewell to the loved ones and more difficult with the members who leave a lasting impact in one’s life.

However, Mrs. Jean Finnegan Biden was blessed to have lived a long healthy life and participated in the swearing in ceremony of her son the then Senator, Joe Biden to the office of Vice Presidency of the United States.

I join the President and members of Congress in the somber moment and pray for Mrs. Jean Finnegan Biden’s soul to rest in peace.


Guantanamo Guard’s Portrayal of Human Character

According to the BBC World news featured on January 12, 2009:

“Brandon Neely – A Guantanamo Bay Guard, 2002 had serious doubts about the unfair imprisonment of two inmates Shafiq Rasul and Ruhal Ahmed – 2002 -2004, and believed them to be innocent during their captivity in prison. So, he traveled to London to reconcile the error.”

Both inmates were released after being held without any trial due to the denial of Habeas Corpus, the tradition introduced during the Bush-Cheney era and continued until date. Shafiq Rasul and Ruhal Ahmed reportedly left for the United Kingdom, as they were British subjects.

Brandon Neely tormented by the task that involved torture and extreme brutality against the majority innocent captives, could not live with the guilt of having carried out the order as a security guard and apparently established contact with the exonerated inmates through the social networking site, Facebook.

Brandon Neely traveled all the way to London and apologized to the victims of the massive witch-hunt that is guided by the “indefinitely guilty,” law and branded “enemy combatant,” to evade the normally applicable Geneva Convention.

Brandon Neely is truly a hero and a human being of good moral character, not to mention a great ambassador of the United States. Shafiq Rasul and Ruhal Ahmed share the honor for their extraordinary courage and act of forgiveness.

Perhaps, the advocates of torture like water boarding and other inhumane tactics at the Guantanamo Bay, representing the tainted image of the United States along with the authorities contemplating on prolonging the infamous boot camp could pause and reflect on the cited thought-provoking incident.

History is testimony to the fact that violence begets violence and aptly described by the pioneer of peace, none other than Mahatma Gandhi,

“An eye for an eye will make the world go blind.”

It’s evident in the contemporary world. It’s never too late to change the course of action and submit to peace and non-violence.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant