Thursday, 5 November 2009

Transport Thrones From Past And Present

I've recently had SCV set up at home so I'm finally on the History Channel, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet bandwagon. I just sat through a segment that covered the coveted Air Force One. By definition, any aeroplane that the Commander-in-Chief of the US becomes Air Force One, and the documentation of George Bush's visit to Tanzania definitely captured the glorious significance of this name and duty.

To me though it seems like nothing has changed since in the course of history over how leaders of people are treated. The moment a monopoly on power, force and the lives of people is gained, one has people at his beck and call, and it often turns into a lavish and grand affair. Preparations for the flight to Tanzania began months before the actual flight, and thousands of people were involved which definitely costed a lot of money and resources. Both the interior and exterior of the aeroplane that will eventually bear the responsibility of Air Force One is ridiculously and meticulously prepared and furnished. Infrastructure was shipped from the US to Tanzania to ensure that the Air Force One aeroplane has the adequate utilities and facilities to travel and land, and professionals from all over the world were employed to ensure that great food is served on board, security is taken care of at the airport and communications are secure and efficient. The whole idea is to recreate the experience of home away from home, as if the President was still in the White House. Everyone pours their hearts out into a flight like this, because of the sheer significance and symbolism of the act of transporting the President safely - One is protecting not just a man, but the representative of the United States of America.

This seems hardly any different from King Atahuallpa of the Inca empire, who sat on thrones weighing tens of tonnes held up by hundreds of Indian soldiers. One only has to watch 300 and observe Xerxes to grasp a visual of the enormous splendour, power as well as the decadent grandeur of royalty.

To worship one's country as a god is indeed to bring a curse upon it.
- Rabindranath Tagore

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