bardseyeview

A Shakespearean Glance at the People and Issues of the Day.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Brutus and Prime Minister Singh

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There's trouble brewing between Brutus and Cassius, the two main conspirators who have spearheaded the assassination of Julius Caesar. Each has his own followers among the Roman army, and they need each other's help in the looming war with the triumvirate of Antony, Octavius and Lepidus. They meet in a tent outside Sardis. But war preparations are the farthest thing from their minds:

Cas: "That you have wronged me doth appear in this:
You have condemned and noted Lucius Pella
For taking bribes here of the Sardians,
Wherein my letters, praying on his side,
Because I knew the man, was slighted off."

Bur: "You wronged yourself to write in such a case."

Cas: "In such a time as this it is not meet
That every nice offense should bear his comment."

Brutus' decision to kill Julius Caesar was, at least in the spirit of the time, a principled one, there not being much point in idealizing Julius' fascist dictatorship. Like those of us alarmed by the misuse of the Commerce Clause, Brutus sought a return to a republic and not coincidentally, fair and honest administration.

So does India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who yesterday fired his country's Foreign Minister Natwar Singh (no relation) after Foreign Minister Singh was identified as one of the recipients of Saddam's Oil For Food blood money. This would be the equivalent of President Bush firing Secretary Rice for a similar offense. Natwar Singh stands as the first political casualty of the OFF scandal worldwide. And Prime Minister Singh stands proudly before the world, and usefully before his own nation, as an example of rectitude; intolerant of corruption. Here's how his meeting with Natwar Singh went yesterday:

Bru: "Let me tell you Cassius, you yourself
Are much condemned to have an itching palm,
To sell and mart your offices for gold
To undeservers."

Cas: "I an itching palm?
You know that you are Brutus that speaks this,
Or by the gods, this speech were else your last."
…..
"O ye gods, ye gods! Must I endure all this?"

Bru: "All this? Ay, more, Fret till your proud heart break.
Go show your slaves how choleric you are
And make your bondman tremble. Must I budge?
Must I observe you? Must I stand and crouch
Under your testy humor? By the gods.
You shall digest the venom of your spleen
Thogh it do split you; for from this day forth,
I'll use you for my mirth, yea, for my laughter…".

Meanwhile in France, a panel of judges is "investigating" 10 government officials who were implicated in the scandal, while France's former U.N. ambassador (our equivalent being Colin Powell) was detained and questioned about why former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's regime granted him rights to purchase about 4.5 million of barrels of Iraqi oil at a discounted price. All of this is a far cry from the exemplary summary dismissal offered by Prime Minister Singh.

Hamlet: "In the corrupted currents of this world
Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice,
And oft 'tis seen the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law."

Closer to home (for this America-based blog) stories continue to percolate about France's pre-war hand in derailing the American effort to unseat Saddam Hussein. Reasonably non-paranoid and informed speculation has been offered that the CIA may have sent non-employee Joseph Wilson of Plamegate fame to Niger without the usual signed non-disclosure agreement, because only in that way could he have been able to present his findings to the op-ed page of the New York Times instead of to the Vice President's office, which originally requested the information he was sent him to acquire. It is to be remembered after all that one of the core functions of the CIA involves the surreptitious toppling of governments. Wilson's participation in the Kerry campaign, given the additional gifts he offered, can be seen as a bid for something along the lines of Secretary of State in a Kerry administration.

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Not only France but America's French wing, swoons as Cassius does before the prospect of nakedly grasping power. Brutus speaks for Prime Minister Singh and all others who would oppose this tarnished vision of life:

Bru: "Shall we now
Contaminate our fingers with base bribes,
And sell the mighty space of our large honours
For so much trash as may be grasped thus?

I had rather be a dog and bay the moon,
Than such a Roman."

Here's a Link to thepoliticalteen, a recommendable site.

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