While eating a London-style breakfast this morning at the Royal Horseguards Hotel in Whitehall, I read two major articles featuring long interviews with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
Both pieces are in today’s Guardian newspaper – one across most of the front cover with a huge picture of Miliband, and the other in the center pages — with an even larger picture of the intelligent, youngish foreign minister/blogger.
You can read the pieces — first and second.
What I didn’t know before reading these articles profiling Miliband is that he lost 80 relatives to the Holocaust and would soon be paying a private visit to the former Auschwitz death camp where many of his family members died.
Two things strike me about this.
First, I have watched Miliband repeatedly reach out to Arab and Muslim communities — and he has made it a major mission of his staff to get the entire government to reframe how it approaches the challenge of modern terrorism at home and abroad. He was affirming the humanity of the Muslim population before most other Western leaders — and has now been joined by Barack Obama in doing much the same as we saw in the US President’s excellent Cairo speech.
I have always admired Miliband for rejecting the swaggerism of President Bush and for not lumping all Muslims into a single basket that he asked British citizens to revile. I realize Bush did not do this either — but Cheney’s faction of the foreign policy establishment pretty much did.
Second, Miliband’s family tragedy gives him unique perspective — and in my view, the personal right — to speak out against the fascist tendencies of the British National Party which is making electoral gains in the UK.
Miliband helped save Gordon Brown’s government, which seems destined to fall no matter what happens with the Tories under David Cameron taking over.
But Miliband’s sensible humanity rises from the Guardian pages as he thinks and speaks out loud about the challenges facing Britain and the world today — as well as facing the Labor Party that he just helped hold together a bit longer.
It’s impressive to see politicians anywhere in the world, like Miliband, taking their job and responsibilities so seriously.
We need more of them — but I fear we are getting less.
— Steve Clemons