Sunday, March 30, 2008

MEETING SAMANTHA POWER: TALKING ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS AND TIBET. AND LITTLE ABOUT HILLARY CLINTON.

UP FRONT News March 27, 2008
Published by Tom Weiss
Editorial Advisor: Willard Whittingham
"The paper that can't be bought and can't be sold."

Last evening I did something I rarely do, which is to miss Rev. Demetrius Carolina's Bible class at his First Central Baptist Church in Staten Island, in order to attend a booksigning by historian,journalist, Harvard professor, and Barack Obama supporter Samantha Power at the Barnes & Noble store in Tribeca, my old neighborhood.

Ms. Power, who writes a great deal about human rights and genocide, was reading from her recently published "Chasing the Flame: Sergio Viera de Mello and the Fight to Save the World", about the work the former U.N. Human Rights Commissioner de Mello, who was murdered in a terrorist bombing in Iraq.

After the introduction by Larry Cox, the Executive Director of Amnesty International USA. Ms. Power, after making a quick reference to "Monstergate" (for those who missed it, her reference was to the media frenzy following her supposedly off-the-record characterization of Hillary Clinton as a "monster" in an interview with "The Scotsman" newspaper), spoke about her work with Mr. de Mello, whose life was quite literally consumed in diplomatic efforts to save the lives of millions of victims of war and related violence in various countries.

In Mr. Mello's very dangerous work, he had to deal very directly with all sorts of mass murderers, such as Slobodan Milosevic. Ms. Power, while her reverence for Mr. de Mello's commitment to human rights and his bravery were evident in her talk, did not do a white-wash job as she made reference to his having been criticized as too accomodating to Milosevic to the point where the Commissioner Sergio Viera de Mello was labeled by some as "Serbio." Indeed, Ms. Power recognized that, in order to negotiate with killers, Mr. de Mello sometimes "left his principles at the door."

Ms. Power talked about the terrorist bombing that ended de Mello's life, mentioning specifically that he had refused a more protected office because it meant that another staffer might be more exposed to a bombing. She said that the perpetrators were from "Al Qaeda in Iraq."

When it came to the Q&A, I was glad to see that Ms. Power picked the questioners and even allowed for more questions than had been contemplated by the Barnes & Noble staffer. (At some of the Barnes & Noble events, particularly those at the Union Square branch, B&N staff quite overtly some protect speakers from questioners like me. I was glad that at Union Square B&N booksignings Jane Fonda, Tim Russert, and Bill Maher made their own choic-es. The sadly Lenora Fulani/Lyndon LaRouche-linked Ralph Nader handled my presence at his event like Dick Cheney would have.)

I got my hand up first and Ms. Power called on me. Since she had mentioned "Monster- gate", I made known that my "M" word for Hillary Clinton is "Machiavellian." I could see the Barnes & Noble person's discomfort so I immediately went to my question. Citing Ms. Power's deep interest in and prolific writing on genocide, I asked her about her views on the Tibet situation, expressing my view (and certainly that of just about every Tibetan I know) that the Chinese Communists are committing genocide in Tibet.

Ms. Powers, who acknowledged that she has not been to Tibet, said that the Tibet occupation, which has lasted over 50 years, is a "slow bleed." Ms. Power talked for several minutes about the uprisings that are taking place, all connected to the brutal suppression of several monk-led uprisings in Tibet. She said, especially in light of China's desire to look good for its anticipated Beijing Olympics, that the situation is now much more open and represents a real chance for Tibet. Ms. Power expressed support for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's strong criticism of China and support for the Dalai Lama, who (when he is not in the human rights negligent U.S.) talks about "cultural genocide" in Tibet. Ms. Power however added that simple expressions of support, which should come from all governments, are not enough and must lead to policy changes, although she did not specify any.

As far as I could tell, Ms. Power, who took a few minutes to answer my question, supports an end to the Chinese Communist occupation of Tibet, an occupation that, as far as I am concerned, renders China perhaps the worst human rights abuser in the world.

Among those who attended the talk were Ms. Power's father, with whom I chatted for several minutes after her talk as she was signing books. Ms. Power, her father, and some Amnesty International executives were among those receiving copies of UP FRONT News Tibet (and Hillary Clinton)-related articles as well as copies of some media accounts of my Democratic write-in candidacy against Mrs. Clinton for the U.S. Senate and some of my campaign literature.

Although Ms. Power found it politically necessary to apologize for her "monster" comment and to formally resign as a policy advisor to Barack Obama, I made certain in my question to let her know that I had discussed the Tibet issue directly some months ago with Sen. Obama's wife Michelle. I did not get the chance to talk about the fact that NYC Councilman and mayoral candidate Tony Avella (D.-Queens) has introduced the UP FRONT News and U.S. Tibet Committee-generated Resolution #1299, which cites the genocide in Tibet and calls for the removal of the 2008 Olympic Games, into the Council.

And as far as Hillary Clinton is concerned, Ms. Power - who, along with her father, Amnesty
International, the Irish Echo reporter covering the Irish-born Power, et. al., will receive copies of this article - is by now aware that Hillary and Bill Clinton are up to their collective eye-balls, along with the Cheney/Bush gang, in the coverup of the Genocide in Tibet.

As part of Ms. Power's reported "monster reference", she said that Hillary Clinton "is stoop- ing to anything." The "monster" reference is a bit too cinematically science fiction-graphic for my taste, but Ms. Power's suggestion that Mrs. Clinton stoops (presumably to conquer) is approximately 100% correct. There is no need to apologize for telling the truth.
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E-mail: Tomsupfrontnews@yahoo.com
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