Amb. Osman Siddique’s Speech Transcript on SAJ

Amb. Osman Siddique’s Speech Transcript on SAJ

There’s a saying in the Foreign Service association, and that is, “If you want an Ambassador to be introduced- get another Ambassador.” (Audience laughs) Thank you very much Ambassador Dupree for your kind and generous introduction, and I want to thank everyone for being present here. We are here to introduce a champion of human rights, a distinguished member of the United States senate, and a true believer in our democracy’s freedom, Sen. Bob Casey. I’m elated and proud to introduce him tonight as South Asia Journal’s inaugural recipient distinguished we also welcome others who are with him. Especially my friend Damien. They also say that favoritism and cronyism runs in the family first, I’d like to thank my nieces Ainab and Natasha for the wonderful job they’ve done, and to my wonderful daughter Leila who’s been a constant source of inspiration for me.

Senator Casey represents the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This is his second term. To win his first term he defeated a very entrenched and tough incumbent. In his second term he won with record margins. This says that Pennsylvanians know when there’s something good.  Senator Casey has been guided by the legacy of his iconic father, the late governor Robert P. Casey , and the principle that all public service is a trust given in faith and accepted in honor. He has been champion and nationally recognized advocate for children, worker’s rights, and for the expansion of small businesses.  Sen. Casey has repeatedly pushed for the US Government to take stronger actions against China in response to the undervaluing of its currency and other policies that result in American job losses. He calls a spade a spade and will never mince words when he calls China a currency manipulator. (Light applause)

Thank you.

He serves on the finance committee, health, education, labor, and pension committee, joint economic committee, and most importantly for our purpose tonight, the foreign relations committee.  Senator Casey has devoted a tremendous amount of time to the nuances of US foreign policy, and is particularly focused on the US relationship with the Islamic World, which you all know is a very difficult task today.  In a bipartisan focus with Sen. Marco Rubio earlier this month, he was in Israel, the West Bank, Turkey, and Egypt, where he focused intensively on how to end the brutal Assad regime.

Importantly for this evening, ladies and gentlemen Sen. Casey chairs the Near East, South, and Central Asian Subcommittee. He has used his position in unprecedented ways for engaging first generation Americans: academic leaders, business community, and government colleagues. The Senator has worked with immigrant physicians from South Asia so that their colleagues graduating from AMA’s – accredited medical schools – can be placed in residencies in the most rural and underserved parts of our country, many of whom may be present here tonight.

To protect our troops in Afghanistan and Afghan civilians, Sen. Casey has been a leader on increasing international pressure to stop the flow of ammonium nitrate. This is a prime component in IEDs. For those of you who do not know what IEDs stand for, it stands for improvised explosive devices, which have killed thousands of our troops, and civilians. He has travelled to Pakistan and Afghanistan and has consistently assisted the pentagon and state department to help eliminate the free flow of this dangerous fertilizer that has killed and maimed thousands of our troops, and civilians.

Ladies and gentlemen I can stand here and extoll all the things that Senator Casey has done, and all his legislation and everything, but in that case it’d be a very long night. But one thing caught my attention which I’d like to share with you tonight and will hopefully give a glimpse and insight into the content and character of this great man.

A US soldier from Pennsylvania was electrocuted in Iraq while taking a shower. Normally when we are in two wars, these things fall within a 24 hour news cycle. Not for Senator Casey. He thought he was crazy: here our soldiers are facing immeasurable harm every day, and our solider has to be electrocuted because of the negligence of a contactor?

And that contractor was KPR. He took on KPR. And with the assistance of this fallen soldier’s mother, he imposed safety inspections which were increased in Iraq and Afghanistan, and KPR was ordered to repay bonuses that they won from their work in Iraq.  Senator Casey also helped pass amendments to hold contractors accountable for the safety of their employees and US service members overseas.

He exemplifies in my opinion what Bangladeshi born Nobel Laureate, Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the founder of the Grameen revolution, said once – and I’m paraphrasing – ‘To help somebody in need is not an act of charity, it is an act of justice.’

Ladies and gentlemen this is the reason. This is the politics of Sen. Casey, and this is the passion of Sen. Casey, and this is the humanity of Senator Casey.  And this is the reason why we all South Asian Americans salute him today. And this is why South Asia Journal recognizes him today. And this is the reason why I’d like all of you to stand up and give Senator Casey, my hero, my Senator, my friend, a tremendous welcome.

(applause)

There’s a saying in the Foreign Service association, and that is, “If you want an Ambassador to be introduced- get another Ambassador.” (Audience laughs) Thank you very much Ambassador Dupree for your kind and generous introduction, and I want to thank everyone for being present here. We are here to introduce a champion of human rights, a distinguished member of the United States senate, and a true believer in our democracy’s freedom, Sen. Bob Casey. I’m elated and proud to introduce him tonight as South Asia Journal’s inaugural recipient distinguished we also welcome others who are with him. Especially my friend Damien. They also say that favoritism and cronyism runs in the family first, I’d like to thank my nieces Ainab and Natasha for the wonderful job they’ve done, and to my wonderful daughter Leila who’s been a constant source of inspiration for me.

Senator Casey represents the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This is his second term. To win his first term he defeated a very entrenched and tough incumbent. In his second term he won with record margins. This says that Pennsylvanians know when there’s something good.  Senator Casey has been guided by the legacy of his iconic father, the late governor Robert P. Casey , and the principle that all public service is a trust given in faith and accepted in honor. He has been champion and nationally recognized advocate for children, worker’s rights, and for the expansion of small businesses.  Sen. Casey has repeatedly pushed for the US Government to take stronger actions against China in response to the undervaluing of its currency and other policies that result in American job losses. He calls a spade a spade and will never mince words when he calls China a currency manipulator. (Light applause)

Thank you.

He serves on the finance committee, health, education, labor, and pension committee, joint economic committee, and most importantly for our purpose tonight, the foreign relations committee.  Senator Casey has devoted a tremendous amount of time to the nuances of US foreign policy, and is particularly focused on the US relationship with the Islamic World, which you all know is a very difficult task today.  In a bipartisan focus with Sen. Marco Rubio earlier this month, he was in Israel, the West Bank, Turkey, and Egypt, where he focused intensively on how to end the brutal Assad regime.

Importantly for this evening, ladies and gentlemen Sen. Casey chairs the Near East, South, and Central Asian Subcommittee. He has used his position in unprecedented ways for engaging first generation Americans: academic leaders, business community, and government colleagues. The Senator has worked with immigrant physicians from South Asia so that their colleagues graduating from AMA’s – accredited medical schools – can be placed in residencies in the most rural and underserved parts of our country, many of whom may be present here tonight.

To protect our troops in Afghanistan and Afghan civilians, Sen. Casey has been a leader on increasing international pressure to stop the flow of ammonium nitrate. This is a prime component in IEDs. For those of you who do not know what IEDs stand for, it stands for improvised explosive devices, which have killed thousands of our troops, and civilians. He has travelled to Pakistan and Afghanistan and has consistently assisted the pentagon and state department to help eliminate the free flow of this dangerous fertilizer that has killed and maimed thousands of our troops, and civilians.

Ladies and gentlemen I can stand here and extoll all the things that Senator Casey has done, and all his legislation and everything, but in that case it’d be a very long night. But one thing caught my attention which I’d like to share with you tonight and will hopefully give a glimpse and insight into the content and character of this great man.

A US soldier from Pennsylvania was electrocuted in Iraq while taking a shower. Normally when we are in two wars, these things fall within a 24 hour news cycle. Not for Senator Casey. He thought he was crazy: here our soldiers are facing immeasurable harm every day, and our solider has to be electrocuted because of the negligence of a contactor?

And that contractor was KPR. He took on KPR. And with the assistance of this fallen soldier’s mother, he imposed safety inspections which were increased in Iraq and Afghanistan, and KPR was ordered to repay bonuses that they won from their work in Iraq.  Senator Casey also helped pass amendments to hold contractors accountable for the safety of their employees and US service members overseas.

He exemplifies in my opinion what Bangladeshi born Nobel Laureate, Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the founder of the Grameen revolution, said once – and I’m paraphrasing – ‘To help somebody in need is not an act of charity, it is an act of justice.’

Ladies and gentlemen this is the reason. This is the politics of Sen. Casey, and this is the passion of Sen. Casey, and this is the humanity of Senator Casey.  And this is the reason why we all South Asian Americans salute him today. And this is why South Asia Journal recognizes him today. And this is the reason why I’d like all of you to stand up and give Senator Casey, my hero, my Senator, my friend, a tremendous welcome.

(applause)

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