Paste it in the head!


Sunday, June 25, 2006

Madame Secretary

Last night was the welcoming address featuring the keynote speaker, Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State under Bill Clinton (pun intended). There was the usual pomp and circumstance, lots of people to be introduced, a bunch of short speeches by people like Ray Nagin, mayor of New Orleans, whose speech was funny and entertaining. Everyone was patting themselves and ourselves on the back for having the balls to hold the conference here after Katrina and for attending the conference, but I did like what Nagin said, that by holding the conference here despite everything, we're sending the message that New Orleans is okay. There were also brief speeches by the governor general of Louisiana, as well as the president of the ALA (pictured below).

Madeleine Albright was promoting her new book, The Mighty and the Almighty. I don't remember the subtitle, but it's basically about the role of religion in US international relations.

(Sorry for the crappy pix.)

Her speech was pretty good. She, of course, commended everyone for attending the conference blah blah blah, and then she started discussing some of the main points of her book. She was actually pretty inspiring. In outlining some of her suggestions for a change in the US approach to other religions, she said that we should remember all major relgions share a basic tenet--the golden rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism--they all say the same thing. We would do well to remember that.

She talked a bit about terrorism and its place in the Muslim world. In particular, I thought her comment that terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda (sp?) are trying to convince Muslims that they are victims, and if they succeed in doing so, the world is in major trouble.

Finally, she said that questioning our country's foreign policies does not mean that we are unpatriotic--patriotism has nothing to do with blindly following the leader if you do not agree with what the leader says and does. That's one thing that has always pissed me off--just because I question political leaders and various policies, both domestic and foreign, does not mean that I don't care about the US.

Anyway, I have to attend a lecture now. Peace out, yo.


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