President Bush, already beset on all sides of his administration by scandal, is courting yet another one even if he doesn’t know it yet. The 1000 rupee question is, “will he or won’t he show up to the White House Diwali celebration?” He has opted out of Diwali festivities on all previous occasions. New Kerala.com reports:
The United States India League has urged U S President George W Bush to attend the annual Diwali celebration in the White House noting that his presence would ”send the right signals to his friends in India and the Indian American community”.
”Merely going through the motions of having a proforma Diwali celebration would not be enough. Diwali is Hinduism’s most importance observance. The White House celebration should reflect that,” the League director Don Feder said in a release yesterday.
The White House is all set to celebrate Diwali, one of the holiest of Hindu festivals on November 1.
Although Diwali has been celebrated in the White House twice before during President Bush’s first and second term, it has always been an unofficial one, with a lot of prodding from the influential Indian Americans with friendly ties to the US Congress and the White House.
President Bush himself has not attended the occasion as he has been out of town on both the previous occasions.
p>Well what about the good Prime Minister from across the pond? Will there be a party at the British Parliament?
Over 100 British lawmakers, senior ministers and diplomats are expected to attend the Diwali celebrations at the House of Commons, Lower House of Parliament, on Thursday… Guests at the reception will include over 100 Parliamentarians, ministers and cabinet secretaries, diplomats, business and community leaders and civil servants, the organisers said on Saturday night.
In a message to the Forum, Prime Minister Tony Blair said, “This festival has an important role. It gives every one of us a chance to reflect on the important contribution that your communities are making to Britain’s success. This is something for us all to celebrate…” [Link]
p>Ahh, good ole’ Blair. Articulate as ever. Sometimes I wish he was our leader. What about our kind neighbors to the north, eh?
Last Thursday, the festival of lights was celebrated in the Canadian Parliament where the prime minister, Paul Martin, and the Leader of the Opposition, Stephen Harper, joined the Indians on the joyous occasion.
In this sixth edition of this festival in the nation’s Parliament, more than 300 people, including ministers, MPs, diplomats and dignitaries joined in to partake of the festivities. [Link]
I don’t know about you guys but I am following the White House daily briefing transcripts and waiting for the one-track uncle to earn his money.
p>Q — Diwali celebration at the White House. But, really, I’m getting all the emails and letters all the –
p>MR. McCLELLAN: Goyal, I –
p>Q — Scott, I’m’ sorry to interrupt you — that there is plenty of bad publicity against the White House in India and in the — among Indian Americans, at least those in the U.S. But I am still thanking the White House and the President for giving a (inaudible) to these people, to come into the White House, and even if it were not a Diwali celebration, but it was just a briefing –
p>MR. McCLELLAN: And this may be the first administration, or one of the first administrations to really do that, too.
p>Q But what I’m saying really here, contradicting, did somebody goof at the Asian Pacific Department at the White House, public liaisons office that (inaudible) message — it said from the President, dated July 19, 2004, Diwali was on November 10th.
p>MR. McCLELLAN: I’ll be glad to take a look at it. I haven’t seen that letter, but bring it to me, and we’ll look into it.
p>Q We like to give some positive, really not negative –
MR. McCLELLAN: I think the President has a very positive record of outreach to the African — I mean, to the Indian American community here in America, and certainly he has a great working relationship that he’s built over the last four years with India.