While some 40 world leaders came together Monday in Paris to lead a massive march through the streets, in solidarity against terrorism and for the freedom of the press, a London School of Economics student named Daniel Wickham watched with scorn and amusement; all too aware of the hypocrisy on display. Here were leaders or representatives of governments whose policies towards the press have not been without blemish, to say the least. Deciding to “shame them” (how sweetly naïve are the young: we old folk know politicians know no shame!) he tweeted the records of many of these nation’s records regarding freedom of the press; perhaps attempting to turn this moment of tragedy into one of farce.
The kid is right, of course: the world is full of hypocrisy. That’s why the UN Human Rights Commission is Chaired from time-to-time by such notable champions of HR as North Korea, Iran, and Sudan. Hypocrisy in politics (and the world in general) is old as history itself.
But so what?
This was still a historical occasion, when 40 world leaders marched arm-in-arm in solidarity with some 1.6 million more behind them, against terrorism (in total, some 4 million marched Monday through the streets of various French cities). Included in the Paris march was a descendent of “The Prophet”, the King Abdullah II of Jordan; as well as the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu. When the lion lays down with the lamb, that is time for history to take note.
Will it make a difference in the long run? Only time will tell. At worst the world will move on as before. But this could be the moment when the world as a whole really does act as a community, and collectively says, “ENOUGH”! When the tipping point was reached and the civilized nations of the world decided that Islamic fascism must be combated, not ignored.
But even if nothing comes of this, that makes this moment no less historical.
Where was the leader of the “Free World”? Where was President Obama?
Kicking back at home, watching Football games.
Lame Duck presidencies are nothing new; but this may be the lamest on modern record. With half of his second term just beginning, President Obama seems disinterested in most aspects of his job. Like the part where he is supposed to lead the world.
He should have been leading that parade of leaders. At the least, he could have sent Joe Biden (what else does a Vice President do when he isn’t chewing on his foot?); or Secretary of State John Kerry, already in Europe. Even Attorney General Eric Holder, who was in Paris Monday, was not dispatched to represent this Administration.
Could it be that the President doesn’t want to focus any more attention on terrorism than he can help? After all, his narrative for the last two years is that the War on Terror is over. So, as other world leaders are declaring war on terrorism (as France did yesterday
), Obama is pointedly ignoring them instead of embracing and leading them.
If this does prove to be a turning point in the tides of history, historians will record that America missed the boat; a rudderless ship whose captain was asleep at the helm.
Jon Stewart’s satirical take on this event, the hypocrisy and Obama’s absence.