Letter From New York 03 24 15 Arrived in New Delhi…

It is 5:30 here in Delhi; the sun is beginning to set, as my usual world is just getting ready to go to work. I arrived safely after a good flight and a few hours sleep on the plane but was very tired after checking in at the India International Center where I am staying for a few days. I laid down for an hour’s nap but hit the snooze alarm enough that it was two hours before I got back into the world.

It was reported that short naps could improve memory five fold. I hope that is true; I was feeling pretty foggy by the time I laid down.

While I haven’t seen much yet of Delhi, I have seen enough to know that it has changed since I was here ten years ago and is vastly different from when I was here twenty-one years ago.

When I arrived at Delhi International Airport in 1995, I realized I had stepped into a movie I had never seen before. It was wildly chaotic. It was the middle of the night and, despite that, the airport was swarming with people, all yelling and screaming. The airport buildings themselves were tired and not very clean, barren, looking like something out of a 1940’s Humphrey Bogart movie, possibly co-starring Ingrid Bergman.

Today, I arrived at an airport that looked pretty much like any other major airport in the world, being swept by moving sidewalks along the way to immigration and customs. It wasn’t this way even ten years ago.

I was genuinely amazed.

My friend Sanjay sent a driver to pick me up and bring me to my hotel and we wove through the streets of Delhi where the roads have radically improved though, while lanes are clearly marked, the drivers seem to not to notice. It takes nerves of steel to drive in Delhi. I said so to Joginder, the man who picked me up. He smiled tightly.

It was not long before the beggars started coming up to the car and asking for money, always a moment of existential crisis for me, though at this point I had no rupees to give them.   On the drive to the hotel there were fewer beggars than I remember from before when they assaulted one at every turn.

Tomorrow I will be doing some sightseeing. I would like to return to walk around Connaught Place, where I have not been for twenty years and see the changes there.

Here to talk about media as having the ability to empower individuals, the Supreme Court has announced a major court case regarding freedom of speech on the Internet. Section 66A of the Technology Act has been declared unconstitutional, claiming it infringed on free speech. It allowed authorities to make arrests based on their interpretation of social media postings.

While I was safely winging my way to Delhi, an Airbus crashed in the Alps. No one is expected to survive. It was on its way to Germany from Barcelona. I give those passengers and crew a moment of silence.

Long absent from the offensive on Tikrit in Iraq has been air support from the US led coalition. Apparently now there are at least surveillance flights happening, giving direction to troops on the ground. Air strikes may soon follow.

In Mosul, IS is dissembling the city’s cement factories and moving them deeper into their territory as the push by Iraq to take Tikrit seems on the verge of success.

Israel has been accused by some in the US of spying on the Iran Nuclear negotiations and then giving that information to US Congressmen in hopes of undermining the negotiations. Israel denies it. If true, it marks a new low in the relationship with Israel.

Now we know Israel spies on us and we spy on Israel. We spy on everyone. We hacked Angela Merkel’s mobile phone. What makes this a bit different in the eyes of some is that Israel may have shared the information with lawmakers.

What did Rodney King say after the LA Riots: can’t we all get along?

The light is fading in New Delhi and I have work to do on my speech while I have hopefully improved my memory by my nap.

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