The Return of Eva Peron

Article excerpt

Byline: Tunku Varadarajan

The Hand That Feeds You

A notoriously thin-skinned nation played host to the Queen of Talk when Oprah Winfrey went to India for a segment of her new show, Oprah's Next Chapter. Dining with a courtly Mumbai family--three generations of whom were present at the table to give their American visitor a tutorial in Indian culture--an expansive Oprah beamed at everyone and made small talk, including the observation that "I hear some Indian people eat with their hands still." Although the family hosting her found this inquisitive comment inoffensive, telling her genially that Indians always eat with their hands, howls of indignation went up in the Indian media. The CNN-IBN website published an overwrought "Open letter to Oprah Winfrey from an Indian who eats with her hand," whose author huffed: "Oprah, ... we are used to gross Western ignorance regarding our ancient country. But as a responsible public figure about to air a show that will be beamed across the world, you should have done your homework. Using our hands to eat is a well established tradition and a fact none of us are ashamed of." Another indignant commentator, unimpressed also by Oprah's choreographed visit to a Mumbai slum, described her as "myopic, unaware, ignorant, and gauche." Advice to Oprah: pack a fork next time.

'Revolucion o Muerte?'

Was there foul play in the recent death of Oswaldo Paya, Cuba's leading dissident, who was killed in a car crash near the eastern city of Bayamo? An editorial in The Wall Street Journal hints darkly that there may have been. Referring to Paya's death--and to that of Laura Pollan, leader of the Ladies in White protest movement, from a mysterious illness that was never fully explained--the Journal says: "Twice in the past year a popular and internationally recognized leader for democracy in Cuba has died in unusual circumstances." With Pollan and Paya out of the way, the Castro regime need no longer contend with two of its most headstrong and charismatic opponents. Paya, 60, was a Catholic pacifist who won the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize in 2002 for his indefatigable campaign for democratic reform in Communist Cuba. …