Monday, July 11, 2016

A Tear for Ali

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

When Mohammad Ali passed away on June 3, 2016 (at age 74) everyone who ever heard of him would certainly remember a moment when he made you feel good some action from a part of his life.  I particularly liked the mischievous look he always had with a smile on his face.  Ali was universally loved, admired and followed.  No illness could take away his love for life and his proud gait.

While growing-up in India we got our news in snail mail; news papers and magazines.  We did have radio but limited international programming.  Even in the days before the TV and internet, Ali was not so foreign to the kids.  Ali and his accomplishments and his life were admired by everyone.  As a kid, I never thought of anything but his voice bites and his accomplishments, and certainly his determination on his faith and life.  No one thought of him as a black man or a Muslim man, but as a great man.  He was a champion in the ring and off the ring.  Nothing mattered except what he stood for, and what he practiced.  In a life so faraway from where Ali was from, he was universally admired.  You can’t be like him but you really liked him.

There are volumes of coverage not just after his death, but throughout his life.  Long after he quit boxing he continued to inspire and encourage everyone he touched.  Ali reached out to everyone.  He was a man who genuinely loved everyone, and his life is a complete testament to a human being who was true to everyone.

When Ali passed away I am sure everyone who had heard of him, paused and gave him a thought and a prayer.  There are many men and women who positively influence the world, and Mohammad Ali was certainly one of them.  The man was always with a smile, always positive, always kind, and always gentle, and certainly always a way with words.

Outside of his greatness in the ring, and accomplished and great life after as a statesman and a man who served many human causes, he never ceased to stop from his contributions for a better society.  While the world admired him for what he was, no one ever thought of him as a born black man who converted to Islam.  I never heard the word about his race or religion when it referred to Ali.  Just in Ali’s life time both the American Civil Rights and the religion of Islam both have undergone a complete transformation.  At Ali’s death Barak Obama is the American President and the entire Middle East (for a matter of fact the world) is embroiled in religious strife forcing terror on innocent civilians across the world.  The past moth terror go close to Disney Land in Orlando.  Nothing seems to be off bounds to terror, just as the WWW.

Ali, if he is looking down on us from up there, must be certainly pondering on what needs to be done to help humanity to live together?

By any measure the state of the world today will make civilization to ponder on why and what we are doing to each other?

Our ability to communicate, the propensity to learn quickly, the ease of travel and opportunity to work anywhere we want to, along with all the other advantages of modern living; all of these could be put to good use in making a world full of advancement and advantages for generations to come, but for some reason or the other we keep finding ways to propagate dislike and difficulties.  Lately we have made destruction and killings in the name of religion and race.

I have to have an additional tear for Ali.  While we mourn the loss of a great man, who was Black and Muslim, no one seems to be looking at legacy and life of peace and love.  We are using exactly the same things we continue to love and associate with Ali to do the exact opposite of what he lived in his entire life.  RIP Ali.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Flag Day

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

"I see USA flags everywhere here!!" wrote Allipuram Rajasekhar Reddy when he was around Brayton, IA · posted sometime on July 1, 2016 his Facebook page. He is from one of my many friends on Facebook. He is a visitor to the USA, who has been here for about a month, and for the first time, and has been posting on his travels and visit to the USA. I don’t know him personally, except read into his posts occasionally as I do with all my contacts. But I have been following his travels within the USA and this post really made me proud. Most of my life I have been away from my motherland, and have made the USA my homeland. I have the same fervor when it comes to nationalism to both my countries.

For a nation full of immigrants, the United States certainly displays its flag at full tilt irrespective of the time one has been on the US shores, the star spangled banner and the national anthem, immediately become a part of one’s life and the pride of all citizens. While every nation revers its national anthem and its flag, for a reason very personal to all the folks in the USA, and everyone here show great pride in the flag and its majestic display. My personal experience is that nationalism and pride in the flag go hand in hand, and it is the reverence to the spirit of the history of the nation. There is nothing that parallels the high flying flag.

USA is a nation of vast spaces, wilderness, diversity and many time zones. Its people are also as diverse as the nation itself, and they continue to add more diversity with each generation. The languages, even English is spoken with such distinct variance, you will have little difficult is guessing the accent by state. The clarity in routines, the diversity in races, the distinct mannerisms and anything different can all be the flavor of the USA. US cities are filled with diversity and energy unlike any other place on earth. With names like Chinatown, Italian Village, French Quarters, Indian Town, South Side, North Shore, Greek Village, and just about every imaginable name for the ethnicity of the people from around the world is a common identifier.

At any given time you will find community gatherings with ethnic and religious celebrations. Each cherished and celebrated with the locals and the nativity of the originating ethnicity. Everyone celebrates the diversity, and with equal fervor and pleasure and respect. There is acceptance for everything and everyone. The nation’s diversity is what it makes a magnet for the rest of the world.

All the diversity and all the differences still lead to the same flag. Irrespective of what neighborhood and what it is named after, the flag flies high. Just about every school, office, post office, court house, government and private buildings, apartment complexes, homes, cars, trucks and busses, and whatever and wherever you go, you see the flag flying. Everyone and everywhere in the USA the old glory flies high, and commands immense dignity and respect.

"Happy Independence Day".

Past Perfect

Vasu Reddy from Chicago It has already happened. Past is already on the books, recorded, and can’t be changed.   It ...