Tag Archives: US

Obama’s Royal Toast Faux Pas

So the print and visual media, on both sides of the pond, have had a field day over President Obama’s royal toast faux pas during the recent state banquet at Buckingham Palace.

President Obama had hardly finished his toast speech to the Queen when the orchestra of the Scots Guard prematurely began playing God Save The Queen.  The President continued with his toast speech and breached royal protocol by speaking over the national anthem. When he raised his glass to the Queen, while the anthem was playing, Her Majesty did not respond.

Although the president later remarked that he thought the national anthem was a “soundtrack to his speech,” some have criticised him saying he should know better. On the other hand, strangely enough, some of our American cousins take the view that the Queen’s snub of President Obama’s toast is a snub of the American people. Okay, the U.S. is a former British colony, but it’s not as if Americans are still British subjects. Anyway, let’s press on.

Adhering to royal protocol may not always be easy for those who do not normally mingle in royal circles. There are far too many complex points of etiquette to remember. Nevertheless, our American cousins should understand that political clout, power or money does not exempt foreign dignitaries, visiting Buckingham Palace, from observing royal protocols.

Those of us who do not ordinarily move in royal circles are more prone to royal protocol gaffes when in the presence of royalty. Members of the Royal Family generally ignore such gaffes when they do occur. Quite ironically, it is the media and, sometimes, a few royal courtiers, who take offence when these gaffes do happen.

I remember vividly my first meeting with the Queen at Buckingham Palace in 2002. I practiced my curtsy extensively the day before and I hardly slept that night from worrying. To hold me in good stead, I sought advice on royal etiquette from some royal courtiers I knew professionally. The pointers given to me included the following:

  • how to curtsy correctly;
  • to address the Queen initially as “Your Majesty and then “Ma’am;”
  • to shake the Queen only if she extends her hand to me, and then to shake her gently;
  • not to wear a trouser suit as the Queen does not like them on females;
  • not to wear over-powering perfume;
  • not to stare at the Queen’s jewellery;
  • not to speak until I am spoken to; and
  • not to turn my back on the Queen.

Incidentally, I was too nervous to remember any of the cues when I was presented to the Queen. My curtsy wasn’t deep enough and my legs almost gave way under me. As I couldn’t remember which to use first, “Ma’am” or “Your Majesty,” I simply used both interchangeably. What’s more, I stuttered through the first half of my conversation with the Queen before finally gaining my composure. Thankfully, my breach of royal etiquette, which was down to nerves, didn’t receive any airtime. More importantly, the Queen didn’t seem perturbed by my exhibition.

Now back to President Obama. Even when you park royal protocol to one side, one would expect President Obama, as Commander-in-chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, to know that it is wrong to speak over any national anthem.

So far, two official visits to Buckingham Palace and two breaches of royal protocol. Hopefully it will be third time lucky for the Obamas.

The CNN video clip below shows the breach of protocol and the subsequent reactions from the media.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Gaddafi Is A ‘Living Political Corpse’

These are heady times for Colonel Gaddafi and for humanity at large. It is  now insignificant whether outside influence is responsible for the uprising in Libya. The main bone of contention at the moment is that Libyans have had enough of Colonel Gaddafi’s 42-year rule and want him to go.

Colonel Gaddafi, for his part, remains defiant in his decision to fight to the death. Just because Colonel Gaddafi is locked in his position at the moment, does not mean he won’t back-track in days to come. After all, this happens a lot in politics, and who said a man cannot change his mind, especially when he finds himself between a rock and a very hard place?

If Colonel Gaddafi truly believes that if he dies in the uprising he will attain martyrdom, then he does not understand the virtues of martyrdom. Fighting for self-aggrandisement and political survival is not what martyrdom is about in any religion. Moreover, the fact that he publicly announced this preposterous wish is an insult to all true martyrs of all religions.

The US and UK, on the other hand, are oil hustlers and opportunistic good Samaritans. With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, it is difficult to believe that the US and UK concerns for the plight of the Libyans are genuine.  The  bottom line is that the US and UK are attracted to Libya’s oil like vultures are attracted to the carcasses of dead animals.

It does baffle me though, that all of a sudden UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, is saying  “It is not acceptable to have a situation where Colonel Gaddafi can murder his own people ……..”  Didn’t his predecessor, Tony Blair, say something similar about Saddam Hussein just before the commencement of the second Iraq war?  What shape is  Iraq in today? Does anyone really think that Iraq is better off now than when under Saddam? Agreed Saddam was Pharaoh-like, but the US and UK are no Moses. They are fake messiahs.

If Colonel Gaddafi loves Libya as he claims, he should step down and go into exile before US and UK tankers roll into Libya.  Libya under western occupation is not a viable option for Libyans, the Middle East and world peace. The sooner Colonel Gaddafi and his sons quit daydreaming and accept the reality of what is happening around them, the better for us all.

Both the Arab League and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) should get their acts together with immediate effect. I think it is shameful that things are happening on their door-steps and they are conspicuously silent. The Arab League and OAU really need to take things by the scruff of the neck to stop these oil-thirsty vampires in their wake.

I couldn’t agree more with the Kremlin’s recent remark about Colonel Gaddafi being a “living political corpse.” What a brain-teaser for the vultures hovering above Colonel Gaddafi.

In oil we trust !