Sunday, November 24, 2013

It's 50th Anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's Assassination

President John F. Kennedy in his desk in the White House
Photo courtesy:

It was November 22, 1963. Fifty years ago on this day President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, popularly known as President John F. Kennedy or President Kennedy, was assassinated on a visit to Dallas in Texas, USA. He was the 35th president of the United States of America and the first ever a Roman Catholic holding this position. 

On this fateful day I was a seminarian at the Little Flower Minor Seminary at Bandura of Dhaka District, East Pakistan (latter called Bangladesh), studying in grade (class) ten at the nearby Holy Cross High School. Most of us knew of President Kennedy since his election in 1960 as his news would get wide publicity all over the world. We felt close to him as he was a Catholic. We felt proud of him as he was an exuberant, youthful and lively person coming up with new ideas and programmes for the USA. His sudden death stunned us, we could not believe such a person could be a victim to assassination. Like many others all over the world, we wept profusely and felt empty in our hearts. The seminary rector and vice rector comforted us all.  

Some of the seminarians, including me, knew more of President Kennedy as we were used to reading the weekly TIME magazine. In 1960, Father Leo J. Sullivan, CSC, was the seminary rector, who used to receive the TIME magazine regularly. After his reading he used to place this magazine in his waste paper basket for disposal. Some of us would collect it regularly for our reading and expansion of knowledge. We would compete and test our knowledge on world affairs and general knowledge. Michael Gomes of (of St. Michael’s Engineering) at Tejgaon, Dhaka, and I would be the ones who would do it on regular basis. Through this magazine, we had come to know a lot about the Kennedy family – how their strictly Catholic mother raised her brood of children inculcating Catholic teachings, how she used to place news clippings on a board in the house for her sons and daughters to be knowledgeable about politics, world affairs, religion and so on, how his father was the ambassador in the U.K. and made a lot o money as a businessman, and how President Kennedy studied in choice schools and university, and how he was hurt in the back when serving in the US Marine during the World War II. As a result, we felt an affinity with him and were eager to see him get elected. We were elated at his winning as the President of the United States. 

After being the President, his positive and proactive actions, like forming of the Peace Corps, his support to the civil rights movement by sending in National Guards during anti-black riots in the southern states, his ultimatum to the Soviet Union to withdraw nuclear weapons from Cuba, a plan to limit the war in Vietnam, and the like made him more popular to us. However, some people, including those in the US government, were not happy with his plans and actions. Mind you, some Americans were not happy with him as he was a Roman Catholic. They could not trust him fully. 

Even being in another country, we never believed in the Warren Commission Report that a lone gunman was the only person to plan and kill this President. Our gut feeling was that some powerful persons were behind this killing and they shrewdly removed all evidences of a plot. Later, his younger brother, who wanted to be a president, was assassinated as well. If there were no such plot to remove the Kennedys once for all, both the brothers could not have been killed in a similar fashion.

Although his extramarital affairs had diminished his image a bit with us, still we had a great regard for him for his public work. 

Through his untimely death, President John F. Kennedy became more alive in the hearts of men and women in the USA as well as in the world.

To know more about President John F. Kennedy and see his photos, you may access the following:

Bookmark and Share

The Quotation of the Week (November 24-30, 2013)

A quotation of Margaret Thatcher on 'politics,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
A doodle by Jerome D'Costa (Dhaka: September 29, 1994)

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Quotation of the Week (November 17-23, 2013)

A quotation of Cardinal Jorge Maria Bergoglio (later Pope Francis) on 'inequality in mankind,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
 Photo (A panhandler in the walkway of the College Subway Station in Toronto: Oct. 15, 2013) © Jerome D'Costa

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Quotation of the Week (November 10 - 16, 2013)

A quotation of Seneca on 'speech,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (Leaves - Toronto: July 4, 2012) © Jerome D'Costa

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford: His Fall from Grace Is of His Own Making

The City Hall at Toronto (Photo by Jerome D'Costa: Nov. 8, 2013)
The Toronto Star of November 6, 2013 reporting Mayor Rob Ford's admission of smoking crack cocaine
National Post of Nov. 6, 2013
Toronto Sun of November 6, 2013
The weekly Maclean's  (Toronto)
Now weekly of November 7, 2013 (Toronto)
The Grid weekly of November 7, 2013 (Toronto)
Rob Ford, with the full name of Robert Bruce Ford, is the present mayor of Toronto, the largest city in Canada. The people of Toronto elected him a mayor because of his emphasis on reducing excessive costs in running the city and not burdening people with more increased taxes. In so doing, he faced opposition from a number of councilors as well as city-dwellers.

His work style and personal behavior also began to antagonize some councilors and some citizens although suburban people in a great number were still supporting him.
In the last three years, the mistakes he made brought about his recent fall from grace that is of his own making. 

Some of these mistakes being:

  • Allowing too much “brothering” in the City Hall: Instead of using experienced deputy mayors and councilors, Rob Ford allowed his brother Doug Ford, a rookie councilor, to be with him in the City Hall in all matters. His brother served as his enabler, mentor, adviser, and even a spokesperson. His brother was the first to defend the mayor from all attacks and oppositions.  His brother’s presence with him was a constant fixture. This was not only an eyesore, but also disturbing to many in the city. Too much brothering also gave one the impression that other councilors were inferior or incapable. This led to a low morale among the City Hall staff.
  •  Alienating media personnel: For some reason or other, Mayor Rob Ford ignored some media people and gave preference to others. This created enemies who were after him trying to find fault with him right and left. As a result, the mayor had to waste much time in denials. Initially, The Toronto Star was after him, later followed by The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Sun and some other media. The relentless pursuit of these media ultimately proved that the mayor smoked crack cocaine during a drunken stupor. 
  •  Failure to articulate his views and plans: Being an introverted type of person, Rob Ford is a man of few words and he desperately avoided facing people, media personnel, and opponents with difficult questions. His one or two-word answers were irritating and left people in the dark. His few words created more puzzles than answers. He lacked in persuasive language, resulting in fewer answers than solutions. Being a public person, when speaking, he failed to show empathy, explain things to the satisfaction of the people. He, thereby, failed to be transparent.
  •  A man with a big ego and arrogance: His egotistic attitude and arrogant behavior alienated many, who were eager to see his downfall. People are ready to accept an incompetent person with some humility and approachableness than an expert with egoistic and arrogant attitude. He gave the feeling that he and his brother were the only ones with all the right answers and solutions to problems. This was not a healthy situation at all. 
  •  Being a creature of his habit: Experts say that frequent heavy drinking gradually leads a person to taking drugs. In case of the mayor, this might have been so. But he was in denial for a long time even after the media revealed it. It is a common sense that a newbie drug-taker would never be in a place, known to be a “crack house,” with a number of unsavory druggie buddies. What his powerful opponents and journalists could not do in years, his druggie pals did in minutes! A few seconds’ video made Rob Ford to admit that he in fact had taken drug in a drunken stupor. 
  •  Using office time for personal reasons. The media showed with proof how the mayor used office hours to meet with his questionable friend as well as for coaching Don Bosco School football team members. Yet he was in denial.
Heavy drinking and taking crack cocaine are a person’s personal matter, but when this very act is done by a public servant it becomes a public matter. It shows how responsible and accountable a public servant is to the public. This brings in the question of whether that person is a reliable leader. 

Under these circumstances, our Mayor Rob Ford needs to stop acting like an immature person. He needs to own up to his actions. He requires to stand up and take such a decision now that will help stop wasting any more time, money, and energy of the Mayor’s office. City Hall workers are also constantly being distracted and humiliated. His appropriate decision will save the City of Toronto from further ridicule of the world media and their audiences.

To read more on Mayor Bob Ford and the situation of the City of Toronto, you may read the following:

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Quotation of the Week (November 3 - 9, 2013)

A quotation of Vance Havner on 'brokenness,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (Clouds seen from a parking lot in Toronto: October 30, 2013) © Jerome D'Costa

Bookmark and Share