Millions world over has gone buoyant over the first black president in the White House – Mr. Barack Hussein Obama. His swearing-in as the forty-fourth American President on January 20, 2009 has skyrocketed enormous expectations and hope to move ahead from an awful economic condition, to necessitate the end of an unwinnable and unpopular war and to get rid of the policies of a vindictive, ignorant and stupid regime. These are customary expectations. By superbly oscillating the politics of high frequency emotion, Barack Obama has won the minds of a sizable section of his country folks and the world’s populace. Armed with a powerful and effective rhetoric of masterfully employed words, Obama’s orations were capable to create “a belief that there are better days ahead” and have instigated his country to “reclaim the American dream” and raise the demand for ‘a change’. Though critics like the journalist and literary critic Christopher Hitchens has derided this rhetoric as a stockpile of ten cliché keywords “Dream, Fear, Hope, New, People, We, Change, America, Future and Together” (See Slate Magazine, March 03, 2008) it is hard to be impassive about the fervor Obama has generated. But still the vital question remains unanswered: how much can this ‘prophet of hope’ ultimately deliver?
There is no doubt that Barack Obama’s presidency made a significant impact on the collective consciousness of African-American community. It will be a grave mistake to ignore this overt optimism, uncontrollable passion and pride among the black people concerning Obama. Though American society has walked a long way from the dreadful days of racial discrimination, the evils of institutional racism, discrimination in education, housing, employment, policing and criminal justice continue to exist in today’s America. Poverty and social abuse is still a poignant issue. A major section of the deprived African-Americans therefore cannot get rid of their lifelong perception that a black person has to work harder than a white person to reach the same success, that black people are incessantly used and valued in the American society for their muscles, not for their brains. The media still depicts an awesomely negative image of the black men as “…a bunch of hapless layabouts who spend their days ticking off reparations demands and shaking their fist at the white man.” (See Obama and the Myth of the Black Messiah) The ascending of an African-American to warm the highest chair of the country is therefore perceived as a dream come true, a historic event. Obama is being elevated in the minds of African-Americans as a messiah who can convincingly speak about juxtaposing freedom-hope-change and motivates them to shout ‘Yes, We Can!’
Obama’s mixed-ethnic identity (he is the son of a Kansas-born white mother and a Kenyan-born black father) has also played a vital role. Throughout American history, lighter-skinned blacks have been viewed as less intimidating and have generally received better treatment from white society than darker-skinned blacks. This good black-bad black dynamic based on the darkness of skin tone was definitely an advantage for Obama – the advantage of not being ‘black enough’. He has meticulously built up a multicultural image that crosses ethnic boundaries and has spoken about issues concerning all Americans irrespective of race, culture and religion. Hence the implication of his victory goes beyond any racial symbolism. Whether Obama can particularly address key African-American issues therefore remains doubtful. The popular singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte has warned American people to be ‘careful’ about Barack Obama because “We don’t know what he’s truly about.” According to the Calypso King, Obama is “Obviously very bright, speaks very well, cuts a handsome figure. But all of that is just the king’s clothes. Who’s the king?” Obama has appeared with the alluring cloths contrived with profound care by the American enterprise of manipulative media barons, corporate oligarchs, special-interest groups, Wall Street firms and the American political establishment – those who firmly believe in acting as the masters of the world, propels the American hegemony, proudly carries the criminal legacy of Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan and Bush and continue to support Israel and its atrocious act of brutality. Barack Obama, according to John Pilger, “…will secure, like every president, the best damned democracy money can buy.”
Barack Obama’s devious face was uncovered in March 2008 when the ‘patriotic’ American media maliciously exposed a December 2007 speech of his longtime pastor and spiritual adviser Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The speech titled ‘The day of Jerusalem's fall’ created a huge disconcert to the Obama campaign. In this now infamous speech, Rev. Wright spoke about an extremely repulsive truth. Admitting that 9/11 attacks was a crime of America’s own making, Rev. Wright said that, “We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant? Because the stuff we have done overseas has now been brought back into our own front yards! America's chickens are coming home to roost! Violence begets violence. Hatred begets hatred and terrorism begets terrorism.” The media and the musclemen of American establishment immediately sparked off an outcry and insisted Obama to denounce the ‘inflammatory rhetoric’. Obama dutifully obliged them by resigning his membership in the church and said that he was ‘outraged’ and ‘saddened’ by the behavior of his former pastor.
Obama had also left no ambiguity about his stand on the Israel-Palestine issue. In July 2008 he expressed himself to the media by saying that “If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that. I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.” What did Obama mean by ‘everything’? Slaughtering Palestinian children in retaliation? Clearly enough, the prospective President of United States was approving Israel’s act of ‘self defense’ and never felt a similar concern to utter a word of disapproval about the thousands of Palestinian children killed by the Israeli attacks. Sajy Elmaghinni of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has described the traumatic condition of Palestinian children during the recent Israeli attacks on Gaza that, “Many kids have stopped eating. They are inactive, they barely talk, they cling to their parents all the time.” Palestinian children were ‘unworthy’ victims of Barack Obama’s worthy ‘expectation’!
Figures made available by B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights group has shown that from September 2000 until November 2008, Israeli security forces have killed 2,990 Palestinians in Gaza. During this same seven years, Hamas rockets from Gaza have killed a total of 22 Israeli civilians. (See Question and Answer on Gaza by Stephen Shalom) Does Mr. Obama agree with the official US definition that depicts terrorism as a “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets”? If the homemade Quassam rockets fired by Hamas is a felonious act and therefore condemnable then why the official Israeli butchery cannot be condemned by the same yardstick? While the recent 22-days of Israeli genocidal assault on defenseless Palestinian populations of Gaza were going on, Obama ‘strategically’ preferred to remain silent by saying that “there is only one president at a time”. This unquestioning support for the habitually racist and neurotically extremist Israel is a very common posture for all American presidents. In other word, it is almost impossible to occupy the highest chair of the country which houses the headquarters of international Zionism and where the Zionist lobby has a ubiquitous influence on the political system and media.
Whatever the inexorable propaganda of the international media might pound on our heads, Barack Obama’s reflection on the Palestinian crisis is one apparent indication of the type of ‘change’ the world is actually going to witness in the coming days. Let all the optimists be assured that the vicious legacy of America’s ‘divine right’ to control everything and playing God everywhere in the pretext of spreading democracy all over the world will continue. Moreover, to impale the existing and newer preys, new midnight agents might get recruited. The possibility of Iran to become the next possible prey is not distant. Israel will then play the prominent role of a strategic military partner because the weakening of Iran will significantly serve Israel’s regional interests.
Apparently, Obama looks more intelligent and smarter than his predecessor George Bush who has finished his term as a shoe-ducking president. Knowing very well that the international community has long became spineless and insignificant, the bigot Bush tried to win support for a superfluous ‘war on terror’ in selective Islamic countries by exploiting the general anger of the American people over terrorism. Accordingly, Afghanistan was bombed into heaps of rubble, Iraq was surgically destroyed. Responding to the question on why there is hatred for America in some Islamic countries, Bush famously delivered a stupid answer, “I'm amazed that there is such misunderstanding of what our country is about, that people would hate us. I am, I am – like most Americans, I just can't believe it. Because I know how good we are…” Similarly stupid was his charge against the Indian and Chinese middle class for eating out all the available food and creating the world food crisis. Barack Obama is no George Bush. Under his costume he is armed with a much stylish and sophisticated rhetoric. But there are his critics who have gone so far to predict that in the coming days Obama might turn into a master of delusion.
In his Presidential Inaugural Address, Obama lectured American citizens to “Prepare the nation for a new age” and extended his cautioned words to “those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West” that the people will “judge you by what you build, not what you destroy.” It will be interesting to watch how much significant change Mr. Obama can bring to America’s imperialist and violent foreign policy. Initially, Barack Obama will be let free to do rightful things that will justify his choice and assure the world about his positiveness. By signing the executive order to close the Guantánamo Bay detention camp within a year and banning coercive interrogation methods are signals of these proposed acts. The avid Obama supporters will argue that this act itself is enough to put to rest all speculations of cynics who “fail to understand … that the ground has shifted beneath them”. Only time can tell whether he has actually inherited the legacy of blatant hypocrisy, immoral double-standards and shameful contradictions of former American presidents or not. The world will eagerly wait to watch how much he builds or destroys in the coming days.
Image courtesy: osi-speaks.blogspot.com, www.time.com