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Friday, October 28, 2016

WATCH LIVE: President Obama’s Press Conference In Sweden

President Barack Obama traveled to Sweden on Wednesday to meet with Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, before continuing to St. Petersburg, Russia for the G20 Economic Summit. The president and prime minister are expected to answer questions regarding military action in Syria; video of their press conference can be seen below.

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  • sigrid28

    Particularly apt was the president’s assertion that the red line is not just his–it has to do with universal horror at an act against humanity which has been proscribed via international treaties, treaties joined by the U.S. and voted for in Congress. Visually, our biracial president standing beside the prime minister of Sweden at the press conference conveys a more subtle message that ought to be articulated. The people Assad gassed were people of color. The president insists, without saying as much, that their lives are no less important than the lives of white Americans and Europeans, or Russians who are also caucasian, who may for a variety of reasons refuse to honor the red line humanity has drawn against their slaughter.

    The situation reminds me of a subtle point made in the novel “The English Patient” (1992) by Sri Lankan-Canadian novelist Michael Ondaatje. I cite Wikipedia’s succinct summary for simplicity’s sake: “The story deals with the gradually revealed histories of a critically burned English accented Hungarian man, his Canadian nurse, a Canadian-Italian thief, and an Indian sapper in the British Army as they live out the end of World War II in an Italian villa.” Kip, the Indian sapper or expert bomb detonator, leaves Europe for good after the announcement of the bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The novel makes clear as its famous film version does not that he is horrified by the casual acceptance in Europe of the horrific deaths of so many people of color. The president eloquently set forth the case for taking a stand against the horrific deaths of people of color–instead of just paying lip service to a universal standard to which we SAID we all agreed. President Obama came close to the articulating distinction Ondaatje makes without reservation in the novel. We ought not to care less for those who suffer because they are not white.