Saturday, October 25, 2008
Photo plays key role in Powell's endorsement of Obama
"Elsheba Khan at the grave of her son, Specialist Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan," Platon, All rights reserved
This picture played an important part in Colin Powell's recent Meet the Press endorsement of Barack Obama for president. A much-decorated soldier and U.S. secretary of state during the Bush administration, Powell is the most prominent Republican yet to repudiate his party's now-standard practice of sliming political opponents. In his endorsement he specifically cited the September 29th New Yorker image, by Platon as an annihilating counter argument to the McCain/RNC's "Obama is a Muslim" whisper-campaign.
Here's what Powell said:
'...it is permitted to be said such things as, "Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, "He's a Muslim and he might be associated with terrorists." This is not the way we should be doing it in America...
"I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards--Purple Heart, Bronze Star--showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way." (Complete transcript of Powell's remarks is here.)
"Kareem Rashad Suktan Khan," photo by Caroline