An Open Letter To President Elect Barack Obama
By Shibayan Raha:
President Elect Barack Obama,
United States of America
Namaste Obama Jee,
A hearty congratulations on being re-elected as the President of United States. I do feel America and the rest of the world will be much better off with you at the helm of affairs. But unlike other Indian citizens I didn’t actually follow the Presidential race closely but was updated all the time, thanks to interpret Tweets from my Tibetan-American friends.
I am from India, a country touted as the next global leader. I seriously doubt it though but not because I don’t believe in my people but mostly that I don’t believe in the politicians running this country. As you gear up to take your seat in the White House I have these following suggestions which I think if accepted will raise USA’s status much higher in the developing world. Please read-
1. Put Tibet on top of your Foreign Policy Agenda-
You must be aware that the occupation of Tibet continues to this day. While you give your victory speech, China continues to suppress Tibetan’s basic demands for liberty and self-rule. Till date 63 Tibetans have self-immolated inside Tibet. Their demand was very simple- Return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet/ End of Chinese Rule in Tibet/ Freedom to practice their religion and preserve their culture. Instead of opening a dialogue the Chinese regime has turned Tibet into a prison with massive security presence and roadblocks all across the country. Free Tibet groups are calling for a multilateral action on Tibet and I urge you to lead this effort by putting Tibet on top of your Foreign Policy.
2. Stop the Drone Attacks-
I know what happened on 9/11 in USA. Lot of my friends and families were devastated by it too and you have every right to declare war on terrorism. But killing innocent people in the name of fighting terrorism doesn’t help at all. The drones that you send to Pakistan also kill innocent civilians which include children. Maybe you don’t get to see their pictures but we do and it brings tears to our eyes to see kids being bombed and annihilated for no offence. Therefore it’s an earnest request to stop the drone attacks and rather look at an alternative strategy regarding this issue.
3. Release Bradley Manning-
Remember Bradley Manning? I am sure you do. He is the US Soldier charged with espionage for allegedly leaking secret military files to whistleblowing website Wikileaks. He has undergone inhuman mental torture by means of solitary confinement, being stripped and shackled, denied visitation rights among some of many. His crime has not been proved yet but what he has undergone will remain with him as long as he lives. Release him until all charges are proved and let him live a normal life again.
4. Don’t let Israel Bomb Iran-
Tensions are rising again in the Gulf. This time over a possible military action against Iran for allegedly trying to build nuclear bombs. While I, as a non-violent activist vehemently opposed to weapons of mass destruction and any country building it, I do urge you to exercise restraint and use diplomacy over war. Israel supposedly has the largest stockpile of Nuclear weapons in the Middle East and morally doesn’t have any right to voice concern over this. Experts and credible reports suggest Iran is nowhere near to building a nuclear bomb and sending drones or Israeli aircrafts will further destabilise the region and bring untold miseries to the Iranian people.
5. Close Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility-
Your Excellency, if I remember well that you had made a election pledge last time that you will do everything possible to close down Guantanamo. Sigh that it is nowhere near to being closed or prisoners being transferred to normal prisons in USA. I am not blaming you since I do know your administration has been doing a lot to close the detention facility. But I do think a lot more has to be done so that more detainees don’t commit suicide after spending decades in inhuman conditions and for a crime they have no idea of.
I know that you have just got re-elected and probably throwing a champagne or two before you settle in at the white house. All the best again and I do hope that Indo-US friendship will also reach a new level which will be based on mutual understanding and trust. I do also hope that you get some time from your busy schedule to read this note and do the needful. I would absolutely love it if you also get the time to write me a reply. My email id is listed below-
Love and Freedom,