Bush Sr. lashes out at Cheney and Rumsfeld

Updated 05 November 2015

Bush Sr. lashes out at Cheney and Rumsfeld

WASHINGTON: Former President George H.W. Bush has reportedly lashed out at Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, two key figures in his son George W. Bush’s presidency in a forthcoming book.
Bush, president from 1989-1993, has mostly been silent on issues regarding his son’s presidency and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But in an upcoming biography, he has some choice words for the two men who played a pivotal role in George W.’s 2001-2009 White House.
Former vice president Cheney built “his own empire” and had too much of a “hard-line” over his son in convincing him to use military force around the world, Bush said, according to The New York Times on Thursday, citing the former president’s biographer Jon Meacham.
And former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld was an “arrogant fellow,” blind to the opinions of others, who “served the president badly,” Bush said.
Bush knows Cheney well, as the latter was his secretary of defense during the 1991 Operation Desert Storm, the US-led military push that liberated Kuwait from Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Army.
However as his son’s vice president, “he just became very hard-line and very different from the Dick Cheney I knew and worked with,” Bush said.
He speculated that Cheney was influenced by his deeply conservative wife Lynne, whom Bush described as “the eminence grise.”
The elder Bush however acknowledged that his son was responsible for empowering Cheney and Rumsfeld, and at times used language that was too bellicose.
“Hot rhetoric is pretty easy to get headlines, but it doesn’t necessarily solve the diplomatic problem,” Bush told Meacham, according to The Times.
Bush specifically cited George W.’s 2002 “Axis of Evil” speech linking US enemies Iraq, Iran and North Korea.


A tale of two cities: Project aims to retell lost stories from Lahore, Delhi

Updated 56 min 12 sec ago

A tale of two cities: Project aims to retell lost stories from Lahore, Delhi

  • Will give migrants a virtual tour of their childhood towns and homes torn apart by partition of 1947

NEW DELHI: Sparsh Ahuja and Ameena Malak grew up listening to their grandparents narrate stories of the partition from 1947.
Ahuja’s grandfather, Ishar Das Arora, was 7 years old when the Indian subcontinent was divided into two by the British, creating India and Pakistan. 
More than 14 million people were displaced at the time, and about one million perished in the fighting that followed.
Arora moved from a Pakistani village, named Bela, to Delhi after living in several refugee camps and escaping the violence.
Meanwhile, Malak’s grandfather, Ahmed Rafiq, moved from the Indian city of Hoshiarpur to Pakistan’s Lahore.
Now in their 70s, both the grandparents yearn to go back home and see the places where they were born and spent their childhoods. 
However, the constant uncertainty in the relationship between India and Pakistan and their old age has made the task of visiting their respective birthplaces extremely difficult.
To fulfill the wishes of their grandparents, and several others who yearn to visit their ancestral homelands, Ahuja and Malak decided to launch Project Dastaan (story).
“What started as an idea for a student project last year at Oxford University became a larger peace-building venture,” Ahuja, the director of the project, said.
Project Dastaan is a university-backed virtual reality (VR) peace-building initiative reconnecting displaced survivors of partition with their childhood through bespoke 360-degree digital experiences.
Backed by the South Asia Programme at Oxford, it uses VR headsets to give these migrants, who are often over 80 years old, a virtual tour of their childhood towns and homes. It shows them the people and places they most want to see again by finding the exact locations and memories that the survivors seek to revisit, and recreates them.
“It is a creative effort to start a new kind of conversation based on the direct experience of a now-foreign country in the present, rather than relying upon records and memories from the past,” Ahuja told Arab News.
He added that Pakistan-based Khalid Bashir Rai “teared up after his VR experience, and told us we had transported him back” to his childhood.
“At its heart, the project is a poignant commentary on its own absurdity. By taking these refugees back we are trying to highlight the cultural impact of decades of divisive foreign policy and sectarian conflict on the subcontinent. This is a task for policymakers, not university students. In an ideal world, a project like this shouldn’t exist,” Ahuja said.
Other members of Project Dastaan — Saadia Gardezi and Sam Dalrymple — have a connection with partition, too. Gardezi grew up with partition stories; her grandmother volunteered at refugee camps in Lahore, and her grandfather witnessed terrible violence as a young man.
Dalrymple’s grandfather had been a British officer in India during the twilight years of the British Empire. So scarred was he by the partition that he never visited Dalrymple’s family in Delhi, even after 30 years of them living there.
“I think Dastaan is ultimately about stripping away the layers of politics and trying to solve a very simple problem: That children forced to leave their homes, have never been able to go back again,” Dalrymple told Arab News.
Ahuja added: “The partition projects are a peace offering in the heart of hostility. It is an attempt at creating a wider cultural dialogue between citizens and policymakers of the three countries.”
The project aims to reconnect 75 survivors of the partition of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh with their childhood memories, when the subcontinent observes 75 years of partition in 2022.
Project Dastaan is also producing a documentary called “Child of Empire” that will put viewers in the shoes of a 1947 partition migrant, and will be shown at film festivals and museums.