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Nobles and knaves
Nobles: Janet and William Norwood and Safia Taleb al Suhail, for a hug that embraced all humanity.
A most hopeful image of this young century came near the end of President Bush’s State of the Union address on Wednesday.
Earlier in his speech, the president had identified Mrs. al Suhail, sitting next to first lady Laura Bush, as one of the millions of Iraqis who had voted in Sunday’s elections. As Mr. Bush related, her father was assassinated 11 years ago by Saddam Hussein’s intelligence service. Undeterred, Mrs. al Suhail became an advocate for democracy and human rights in her country, heading the Iraqi Women’s Political Council. When the president acknowledged her, she stood and raised her ink-stained finger in the air — a symbolic act of the franchise quickly followed upon by Republican lawmakers. That moment in itself was enough to take one’s breath away.
Then, the president acknowledged two other persons in the chamber sitting directly behind the first lady and Mrs. al Suhail. Mr. and Mrs. Norwood lost their son, Marine Sgt. Byron Norwood, on Nov. 13 during the Marines’ assault on Fallujah. Referring to a letter Mrs. Norwood sent to him after her son was killed, the president quoted: “When Byron was home last time, I said that I wanted to protect him like I had since he was born. He just hugged me and said: ‘You’ve done your job, mom. Now it’s my turn to protect you.’ ”
When the Norwoods stood to be recognized, Mrs. al Suhail turned in her seat and hugged Mrs. Norwood.
For binding East with West in the enduring cause of freedom, the Norwoods and Mrs. al Suhail are the Nobles of the week.
Knaves: Comic Janeane Garofalo, for mocking Iraqi voters with the Nazi salute.
Miss Garofalo wasn’t impressed by Republican lawmakers’ show of solidarity with the Iraqi voters, as witnessed at the State of the Union. Talking later on MSNBC’s “After Hours” show, she opined, “The inked fingers was [sic] disgusting.” Just what does that mean, Miss Garofalo?
As picked up by the Media Research Center, Miss Garofalo said, “The inked fingers and the position of them, which is going to be a ‘Daily Show’ photo already, of them signaling in this manner [Miss Garofalo proceeds to raise her left arm in the Nazi salute], as if they have solidarity with the Iraqis who braved physical threats against their lives to vote as if somehow these inked-fingered Republicans have something to do with that.” Pardon the interruption, Miss Garofalo, but weren’t Republican lawmakers part of the resolution to use force against Saddam in 2002? “And also, the bit of theater about the very distraught parents of the soldier who had died … the point is, is those parents and their son were misled about why that young man went into Iraq,” she continued.
For confusing patriotism with Nazism, Miss Garofalo is the Knave of the week.
By Brahma Chellaney
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