Letter From New York 03 23 15 Halfway to Delhi…

Sitting in the Upper Class Lounge for Virgin Atlantic at Heathrow Airport, I am surrounded by people traveling to the far corners of the world. The man to my left, who checked in just before me, is on his way to Capetown. The woman in front of him was off to Dubai. I am heading to Delhi.

In front of me, behind a plate glass window, two men are having their hair cut. A very nice lady brought me a martini and a couple of deviled eggs for a snack.

Thank goodness for the mileage that got me here! If you are traveling all the way to Delhi from New York, it’s best to be in at least business. On the way to London, I actually got a few good hours of sleep. The seat folded out to a flat bed. I was laying there thinking about my first flight to London and remembered then, all that time ago, I was so excited I couldn’t think of sleeping.

In London, I had lunch with my friend Tim and his wife, Vidya, who came all the way out to Heathrow to collect me. We drove into London and then went to a tony part of London [Primrose?] and ate at Greenberry, a charming restaurant, having good English breakfasts, followed by a cappuccino.

In the afternoon, Tim and I stayed at their house and chatted while Vidya ran errands. He was demonstrating the BBC iPlayer for me and we watched some news. One of the Conservatives was on the BBC announcing that she was introducing measures to contain extreme Islamists. They would not be tolerated. Those who didn’t subscribe to “British” norms would be excluded from citizenship and entry.

Britain has been especially sensitive because of the four young girls who flew to Turkey, crossed to Syria and joined IS as well as the revelation that Jihadi John was a British citizen.

Tim expressed his concern about the growing anti-Muslim sentiment rising in Britain today. We discussed various examples of it in both our countries. It is a fraught time. One friend of mine in the States believes with all his heart that all Muslims are raised to hate “infidels.”

In the staggeringly complex world in which we live there are no absolutes. But the rise of extreme Islamic movements like Al Qaeda and IS are more than troubling. I have no ready answer. I don’t believe all Muslims actually hate infidels like me. I do believe some do and I would prefer not to encounter them this side of paradise.

On this side of paradise, for once the global news isn’t peppered with reports of IS atrocities. I’m sure they are occurring; they just haven’t made headlines.

One of today’s headlines is that Lee Kuan Yew, founder of Singapore, died today at 91. Early on, he predicted the rise of China. He is being mourned as a political giant. I also think he’s the one that banned chewing gum in Singapore.

Attempting to be a political giant, Ted Cruz has announced he is running for the Presidency. I believe he is the first official entrant in what is going to be a very crowded field this year. Half of America seems to be seeking the Republican nomination. If we thought it was crowded in 2012 wait until this year.

Jeb Bush is fundraising in Texas and his brother W, the former President, and Laura, his wife, are the special guests of honor at a big event in Dallas. It’s the first time the former President and his wife have publicly appeared in support of Jeb, who is big with the donors and not so big with voters. It will be interesting to watch Jeb’s progress.

The flight to Dubai has just been called. There has been an exodus from the lounge, seeming practically empty until the next wave comes. I’m told my flight will be called in about an hour, which is why I am hurrying this.

I think the flight to Delhi is about eight hours, a long time in the air. I will sleep some and then will go to my hotel in Delhi to sleep some more and work on the speech, slowly coming together in preparation for Sunday, when I speak.

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