I’m looking at a picture right now of a planned protest against terrorism, which was held in Paris on Sunday. In it, there are numerous world leaders marching side by side to honor the victims of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack, and to say “enough is enough” to those Muslim extremists trying to force their will on everyone else by any means necessary.
Now, I’m hardly the expert on the who’s who of international politics. Heck, I was talking to an Australian last summer and mentioned their female prime minister… who had apparently been out of office for three years.
Even so, there are a lot of faces I do recognize in this picture, such as Great Britain’s David Cameron, Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, France’s Francois Hollande, Germany’s Angela Merkel and even former French President Nicolas Sarkozy a few rows back.
You know who I don’t see though?
Any prominent American figures.
There’s no hint of America’s Barack Obama or even Joe Biden. If there are Americans in that group, I can’t identify them, and I can identify a decently sized list of high-ranking government officials in my own country. Certainly my own president and vice president.
But apparently, there’s a reason I can’t detect any Americans in the snapshot. And that’s because the only notable one present was, as the Daily News put it, was the “relatively unknown and low-profile ambassador to France.”
Moreover, “Obama and Biden had empty public schedules Sunday, but the White House declined to comment on why they didn’t go.
“The natural choice – Secretary of State Kerry, a Francophile who speaks the language – was in India for a longstanding engagement with the prime minister, White House officials said.”
And “Attorney General Eric Holder did go to Paris – but only for an anti-terrorism summit convened by Hollande ahead of the unity rally. Holder left Hollande and the others sometime after the group exited the Elysee Palace. Around the time other world leaders and dignitaries boarded buses to get to the front of the march, Holder was taping an interview for ‘Meet the Press,’ NBC confirmed.”
As for Obama, I wonder if he was playing golf.