Friday, 24 August 2007

President Clinton Visit to Glasgow - May 2006

This was inspired through a visit of Clinton in Glasgow.

BBC Radio Scotland
Thought for the Day
Amanullah De Sondy

We must be blessed in Scotland to welcome two American presidents in less than a year! Bill Clinton has arrived in Scotland to participate in a business leadership lunch. Over 800 business people paid £500 each to hear the former American president speak on issues relating to terrorism, political conflict and energy supplies. The First Minister, Jack McConnel, introduced the democrat largely seen as a moderate.

This might be a headline in itself but what struck me most about this visit was the way it all came to be. A former ranger’s football player, Brian Laudrup, had apparently struck up a friendship with Clinton whilst playing golf. This led to Laudrup introducing Clinton to a company that organises events and functions.

Friendship is a funny business. Friends can lift your spirits to the skies when you are under the weather or bring you crashing back down to earth when you’re losing touch with reality. True friendship can quite easily lead to losing sight of the self. I’ve made friends in the most unusual of places. On a flight to Paris a few years ago I chatted to an Arab man about my interest in Arabian music. We quickly realised that we both admired the same singer from Syria and surprisingly he was listening to her most recent album. He in turn gifted me the music tape he was listening to. As we arrived at Charles De Gaulle airport he was greeted by two men and it became apparent that this was no ordinary Arab man but was indeed a Saudi prince. If I had known about his royal status prior to our discussion I am sure I would have reacted differently but would it really have mattered who we were or what we did for us to have had a few memorable moments. I didn’t keep in touch with the Prince but I kept the cassette he gave me.

This reminds of a saying of the Prophet Muhammad in which he says, “The similitude of a good companion is like an owner of musk; if you don't buy anything, you will get the smell of it. The similitude of a bad companion is like the blacksmith's bellows; if you are not affected by its black dirt, you will be touched by its smoke."

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