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Saturday, 9th December 2023



Obama’s words in a crisis are so touching – these are the mark of genuine leadership: how a leader responds in times of stress. He spoke after the random shootings in Phoenix, Arizona of six ordinary people by a lone gunman, and several others including a Congresswoman were seriously injured. I strongly recommend you to read the speech in full, and look at his phrases and focus on his tone and choice of words. He gave such a lot of emphasis to the lives and achievements of the people who were killed – turning them from ordinary, to extraordinary. From his speech, one can see that he is not enamoured by celebrity or media spin, but by truth, fairness and justice. Also there is a strong element of faith and spirituality in his words, something which is rare to hear from a leader in Britain. Such occasions are exactly the time when we need faith to give us peace, forgiveness and hope. He also counsels against point-scoring, in spite of the great opportunity for the Democrats to seize this opportunity to push against Republicans. Instead, he focuses again and again on values, decency, democracy and above all, forgiveness and humility. He also emphasises the importance of civic conversations, where we engage with one another with respect and politeness, rather than anger, bitterness or hatred - even where we disagree. Dialogue is critical to living peace on a daily basis.

During my grassroots Masala Tour of Britain, this is also what I found – ordinary people doing extraordinary things. However, this is not a worthy media story as I am not a celebrity, nor are they. But the leadership, the values, the humility and courage these people were showing day by day was remarkable and truly inspirational. I  was especially moved by young people and their commitment to ethics and transformation.

I am clear about the message of this experience – don’t allow the news media to control your lives or dictate your tastes or experiences. Trust yourself, your instincts and your judgements and listen to your inner conscience. They will keep you on the road of peace and contentment.

Article added on 14th January 2011 at 11:02am
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