This blog post is mainly about the joint press conference Joe Biden and Narendra Modi recently gave at the White House, June 23, 2023.
The contrast between the decaying American and the phenomenal statesman from the largest democracy in the world was so great that I felt as if I was watching a surrealist play.
Not only the most fanatical fans of Donald Trump, but also very solid conservatives in the US sometimes overestimate the speed with which Joe Biden is declining. But here this POTUS starts a press conference clumsily reading a written text for six and a half minutes. Only when Narendra Modi took the initiative to do so Biden received a polite round of applause for this ‘accomplishment’. Yes, unlike the greatest statesman ever -Churchill- Narendra Modi is almost always polite.
In 2002, before he became prime minister of India, Modi acted less polite and very unlike ‘world champion of all times in modesty‘, Mohandas Gandhi …
In February of that year, the ‘Gujarat riots’ cost the lives of many people: guilty and innocent. Many of them Muslims. While around 10% of the population of Gujarat then was registered as muslim around three quarters of those who died belonged to that group.
Modi was then prime minister of the state of Gujarat, not of India yet. Although there was pressure in India and from around the world to ignore the cause of the riots -both the immediate cause and the historical background- Modi refused. The large-scale violence had started after the attack on a train in Godhra by mohammedan extremists. Over fifty Hindus died, mostly women and children.
The wikipedia lemma on Gujarat riots even mentions a theory that the attack on the train by hundreds of extremist Muhammedans was planned by Hindus to start the violence against muslims …
I am convinced that Narendra Modi still regularly thinks back to those terrible events in 2002. That is why I have included that burnt-out train in the tribute to Modi that I painted.
Bush and Obama versus Trump
Over the past two decades, the relationship between Narendra Modi and the White House in the US has been subject to major changes and this continues to this day.
Under the horrible George W. Bush, Modi was de facto persona non grata [like in the UK under the horrible Blair]. Modi was denied a diplomatic visa under section 214 (b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, because:
The Section makes any foreign government official who was responsible or “directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religions freedom”.
The first time Modi visited the White House was in September 2014 when Barack Houssein Obama was POTUS. How totally surreal to read this passage in the official account of that meeting of Obama and Modi now:
We discussed what has now been a successful peaceful transition of power in Afghanistan and the need for all of us to work together to ensure that there is stability there.
Narendra Modi’s own statements in that same official account, despite a joke about visiting the planet Mars, seem to me to be an illustration of the fact that feeling uncomfortable is an extension of too much politeness. And especially when you compare it to the way Donald Trump and Narendra Modi interacted in 2019.
It is from a video from ‘The Print’ that is actually published under the title “Modi speaks good English, but does not talk, says Trump” and the still shows Modi’s reaction to Trumps remark.
These men understand each other and are evenly matched! Watch it completely: it is a pleasure to look at and it lasts less than one and a half minute.
These images are from the sidelines of the G-7 Summit in France but Trump visited India and Modi visited the USA during Trumps first term as POTUS. According to Reuters February 2020 Trump was welcomed in Ahmadebad (capital of Gujarat) by more than 100.000 Indians.
“You have done a great honor to our country. We will remember you forever, from this day onwards India will always hold a special place in our hearts,” Trump said to thunderous applause.
And vice versa Modi visited the USA under Trump twice. In June 2017 he had an ‘official working lunch’ at the White House.
In September 2019 he visited a rally in Texas. The BBC called it a “a rare mass rally for a foreign leader”:
US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi exchanged warm words of friendship in Texas at a rare mass rally for a foreign leader.
Around 50,000 people gathered for what Mr Trump called a “profoundly historic event” on Sunday in Houston.
The “Howdy, Modi!” event was billed as one of the largest ever receptions of a foreign leader in the US. (…)
In his speech, Mr Modi said India has a “true friend” in the White House, describing Mr Trump as “warm, friendly, accessible, energetic and full of wit”.
The puppeteer and two female ministers of finance
Since that joint press conference in the White House, only two weeks ago, a lot has happened especially in relation to a ‘question’ of one ‘journalist’.
At around 21 minutes into the video she addressed Modi actually using these typical activist words: “many human rights groups say“.
That is the moment of the still above this blog post.
When Modi takes his earpiece out.
And he doesn’t get on the defensive against this manifestation of that special phenomenon of islamophilia on the offensive.
In Dutch ‘islamophilia’ is written as ‘islamofilie’. The Google text editor has magnificent qualities, but when in a Dutch text I write the word ‘islamofilie’ the editor comes with this suggestive question:
You meant to type islamophobia, didn’t you sir?
The English version of this editor does not come with this suggestion by the way, but unfortunately this attitude of embracing that duplicitous concept islamophobia is definitely not limited to the Dutch speaking peoples!
Perhaps the Netherlands IS one of the countries in which this idea is most rampant, however.
Shortly after the press conference of his puppet Barack Houssein came with a statement, that was rapidly embraced by haters of Narendra Modi:
But his remarks also drew attention from people with very different views. Especially the remarks of Indian finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman were noticed.
Al Jazeera quoted the finance minister:
He was commenting on Indian Muslims … having bombed Muslim-majority countries from Syria to Yemen … during his presidency,” (…) “Why would anyone listen to any allegations from such people?
British newspaper The Guardian headlined Obama remarks on India’s treatment of Muslims ‘hypocritical’.
Sitharamans strikingly powerful statements, which she gave at a press conference specially organized for this purpose, could very well have been partly inspired by a most despicable action by the Dutch minister of finance, Sigrid Kaag!
This lady -who for decades lived in the Middle East where she married a longtime ally of Yasser Arafat- is a disgrace as finance minister but also has the function of vice prime minister under Mark Rutte: an absolute favorite of the leader of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab.
Last February I wrote about Kaags despicable action on Twitter:
Warmongering is one thing, distorting the views of the government of by far the largest democracy in the world – India – is another. In her capacity as VICE PREMIER, #Kaag has lured them into an anti-Russia discussion regarding Ukraine at a #G20 meeting of FINANCE MINISTERS. Not the ministers of Foreign Affairs! India’s finance minister may have been distracted for a moment.
In an indirect way this Ukraine-horror leads us at the organization BRIC or BRICS. In case you forgot that peculiar fact: the acronym “BRIC” is older than the organization! I keep repeating it: wikipedia is unreliable when it comes to (politically) controversial subjects but quite reliable about a subject like this: BRICS-numbers:
As father of daughters and grandfather of granddaughters (and grandsons) I cannot help adding this type of context: a link to rape statistics. South Africa ranks number 6 in this ranking: it is only worse in neighbour-country Botswana, in Grenada, in two former parts of South Africa and in Sweden (!).
It is quite possible that the number of Indian women who think living in South Africa could be preferred over living in India is considerably lower than the number if Indian men. Especially if they knew that the GDP growth in India is about 50 times higher …
The countries that are official members of BRICS differ greatly from a political point of view. They are together, but different from each other, a polar opposite of the USA. And this changes over time. One of Lula’s first statements as ‘new’ president of Brazil in this regard was that he is in favor of BRICS membership for Venezuela. Talk about an anti-American approach!
There can be not a shred of doubt: from the point of view of every conservative in the western world Modi is the most interesting politician outside their own country, to say the least.
And conversely, Narendra Modi is THE man who has not yet written off the forces for good in the Western world.
Certainly less than large minorities in those Western countries themselves …
Islamophilia versus mohammedan extremism
Later this summer I will write about the relationship between the ‘Gujarat Riots’ and the Babri Masjid, about the highly questionable role of Mohandas Gandhi after the abolition of the Ottoman caliphate, the not-quite-secular course of the Indian Congress party and the legal settlement of that Godhra and Babri Masjid affair. I will also address the question of which poses a greater threat to civilization worldwide: Mohammedan extremism or widespread Islamophilia.