Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Man with Class

Largely lost in the shuffle during the past day’s events, was the assassination attempt upon the newly-elected President of Somalia:

September 12, 2012
New Somalia President Not Hurt in Suicide Blasts That Killed at Least 4

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Three suicide bombers attacked the temporary residence of the new president of Somalia as he was giving a news conference on Wednesday, killing an African Union soldier but failing to assassinate any political leaders, witnesses and officials said.

The Somali president, Hassan Sheik Mohamud had only just been elected to his post by the newly-created Parliament on Monday, taking the helm of a fledgling government that is supposed to represent a tangible step toward permanent governance in a country that has been without it for more than 20 years.

Two of the suicide bombers blew themselves up, one near the gate and one at the back of the Jazeera Hotel near the airport as the president was giving a briefing for the news media with the visiting Kenyan foreign minister, Samson K. Ongeri. Another attacker was shot as he tried to scale the walls of the compound, according to a statement from the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

The attack did not interrupt the news conference and the president continued his speech. “This is the Mogadishu we are trying to change,” he said.

I was immediately reminded of the bravery and dignity of Teddy Roosevelt, in similar circumstances:

[Address at Milwaukee, Wis., October, 14, 1912. Just before entering the auditorium at Milwaukee, an attempt was made on Colonel Roosevelt's life.]

Friends, I shall ask you to be as quiet as possible. I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose. But fortunately I had my manuscript, so you see I was going to make a long speech, and there is a bullet - there is where the bullet went through - and it probably saved me from it going into my heart. The bullet is in me now, so that I cannot make a very long speech, but I will try my best.

And now, friends, I want to take advantage of this incident to say a word of solemn warning to my fellow countrymen. First of all, I want to say this about myself: I have altogether too important things to think of to feel any concern over my own death; and now I cannot speak to you insincerely within five minutes of being shot. I am telling you the literal truth when I say that my concern is for many other things. It is not in the least for my own life. I want you to understand that I am ahead of the game, anyway. No man has had a happier life than I have led; a happier life in every way. I have been able to do certain things that I greatly wished to do, and I am interested in doing other things. I can tell you with absolute truthfulness that I am very much uninterested in whether I am shot or not. It was just as when I was colonel of my regiment. I always felt that a private was to be excused for feeling at times some pangs of anxiety about his personal safety, but I cannot understand a man fit to be a colonel who can pay any heed to his personal safety when he is occupied as he ought to be with the absorbing desire to do his duty.

So let us salute such quiet courage when we find it;  for it is not easily to be had, as the disgraceful antics of Willard Romney the other night, only too keenly remind us.

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