Guilty By Association?

Just yesterday the Indian media was jumping up and down in celebration because they had discovered an Indian name among Barack Obama’s advisors—that of Sonal Shah of Well, now they’re all jumping up and down in righteous indignation because she was once allegedly linked to the VHP. My friend Reuben Abraham knows Shah well, and delivers an impassioned defense:

As a friend of mine said at the time, these people are doing to Sonal exactly what the right-wing loonies tried to do to Barack Obama with the Bill Ayers story, i.e., guilt by association. If you have made the mistake of being somewhere near Bill Ayers, by definition, you’re “palling with the terrorists.” This is vile. This is wrong. This is destructive. This is disgusting. And this is precisely the sort of vile politics that the United States needs a break from; the sort of politics the average person is tired of, if Obama’s mandate is anything to go by.

More than Reuben’s personal testimony, Shah’s record speaks for itself:

While she was at Clinton’s treasury department, she worked actively in Kosovo and Bosnia in setting up the central banking system and refloating the currency, both measures vital to the stability of the new states, and especially in preventing hyper-inflation. She also worked in Indonesia during the Asian financial crisis with Robert Rubin’s team. Lest the irony be lost, all three countries are predominantly muslim, not exactly the natural home of the anti-muslim fundamentalist some of these news reports imply Sonal is.

Fawzia Naqvi, a Pakistani Muslim, also pitches in for Shah in Reuben’s post.

If the elections were still on, poor Obama would no doubt be accused of “palling around with Hindu fundamentalists”.


Imagine this: You die, get to Heaven, and God greets you at the door. “Let me in,” you say. “I’ve been good all my life, I’ve helped old ladies cross the road, administered first aid to a fly, procreated for the grace of God, I mean You. Now let me into Heaven.”

“Aha,” says God. “You didn’t read the small print. The large print in the contract says that you don’t get into heaven if you have sinned. The small print says that you don’t get into heaven if anyone you know has sinned.”

“Anyone I know?” you protest. “But that’s absurd.”

“That’s the way it is,” says God. “And if no one you know has sinned, I might just invoke the six-degrees clause. You thought Earth had global warming. You ain’t seen Hell yet.”