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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The shake that shook the world -- Editorial, The Washington Times

In this image from TV, US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Cuban President Raul Castro at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, South Africa, in the rain for a memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela, Tuesday Dec. 10, 2013. The handshake between the leaders of the two Cold War enemies came during a ceremony that's focused on Mandela's legacy of reconciliation. Hundreds of foreign dignitaries and world heads of states gather Tuesday with thousands of South African people to celebrate the life, and mark the death, of Nelson Mandela who has became a global symbol of reconciliation. (AP Photo/SABC Pool)
Raul Castro gets a needle and the friendly hand of Obama 

Soweto, the Johannesburg suburb where popular resistance to apartheid set off the revolution that changed South Africa and established Nelson Mandela as the father of a new country, is the most dangerous place on the continent this week. Anyone who ventures into the street risks being crushed by the hordes of official visitors trying to get in front of a camera.

It's difficult for a hardworking president, prime minister, movie star, rap artist or mere dictator to set himself apart from the crowd of mourners, grievers and lamenters in town to exploit the ultimate photo-op. President Obama did it, however, with a warm handshake for one of the world's last A-list despots and browbeaters.

Mr. Obama, who has established a unique reputation for bowing to potentates and others he imagines are above a mere president of the United States, offered his hand to Raul Castro, the reigning ruler of all he sees in Cuba and is sometimes thought to be the crueler of the cruel Castro brothers. The crueler brother shook it vigorously as his propagandists scribbled and his photographic retinue began to snap and grind. This time, Mr. Obama gave only the merest bow, which might not have been a bow but a stoop, to see exactly whose hand he was shaking on a dark and stormy day. Mr. Obama is a six-footer, and Raul Castro is a bit of a squirt.

Mr. Obama, like all presidents, employs handlers who steer him away from anyone whose hand he does not want to shake or touch. The brief flesh-to-flesh encounter was seen by millions on live television, and confirmed later by a U.S. official for those who could not believe their eyes. The Cuban government hailed the handshake as "a hopeful sign" that America was about to repent its evil ways. "May this ... be the beginning of the end of the U.S. aggressions," the Havana government said.

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