Mind Your Language
‘Mr Reagan, I Hate You!’
Once, during the late Ronald Reagan’s tenure of office as President of the USA, a group of Soviet astrophysicists attended a Congress of World Astrophysics that was held in the USA. One of the main issues on the agenda was “Peaceful Space Exploration and Mutual Cooperation” among all stakeholders.
At the end of the Congress, which lasted five days, one leading Soviet astrophysicist defected, sought and received political asylum in the USA. For the sake of convenience, we’ll call him AV Davidovski, who happened to be a Russian Jew. It is a well known fact that Jews are not only intelligent, but also shrewd and cunning.
In no time at all, Mr Davidovski became the subject of attention and was often the guest of honour at many a scientific gathering throughout the USA. His Jewish brethren were particularly kind and helpful towards him. One evening, whilst he was dining with his new American friends, they were pulling his leg and cracking jokes about the Soviet Union and its rulers.
A Mr T Mark asked laughingly, “David, tell us whether you enjoyed the same freedom of speech in the USSR as you do here?”
Davidovski, almost hurt in his pride, stood up and emphatically replied: “Of course. For instance, anyone in the USA can go up to the President and say, ‘Mr Reagan, I hate you!’ And, the guy would be allowed to leave the place completely unharmed.”
Mark: “Well David, would you dare do the same thing in the USSR?”
Davidovski: “Why not? Anytime, I could have gone up to Comrade Brehznev, the Secretary General of the Soviet Communist Party and boldly say to him, ‘Comrade Leonid Ilitch, you know, I hate Ronald Reagan.’ And, he would leave me completely unharmed!”
PS. The source of this piece is unknown, but I heard from my younger brother Ranjit, to whom I am beholden