3/8/08 BBC Monitoring Afr. 00:00:00
BBC International Reports (Africa)
Text of commentary by Timothy Kalyegira entitled "The emergence
of Barack Obama, part II" published by Ugandan newspaper Daily
Monitor website on 8 March
As we did last week, we must ask once again: what explains the
ecstatic support for Senator Barack Obama across America and among
whites, as we know whites? How can whites suddenly no longer care if
their president is a Black, given their 200-year history?
Emory Wheel, the newspaper of Emory University in the United
States noted two weeks ago that, "(Opinion pollster) Frank Luntz
asked college students at a recent focus group to name the candidate
they were going to vote for.
All of them said Obama, but when Luntz followed up by asking them
to name a single accomplishment of the senator, they couldn't name
one." (Emory Wheel, February 18, 2008) Where is this unquestioning,
outpouring enthusiasm among whites coming from?
As a rule, when one sees a leading Black figure or head of state
become a darling of the West and whites (Mandela, Museveni, Kagame,
and now Obama) we must ask the suspicious question: why? Black
leaders who clearly stand up for Black interests or frighten Whites
(Robert Mugabe, Idi Amin, Louis Farrakhan) are always, without
exception, portrayed as monsters by the Western media.
A glimpse into the world Obama must live in and hope to one day
lead can be seen in how he deals with the questions of his identity.
Obama's late father was a Muslim and he was raised in Indonesia
by a Muslim stepfather. News profiles of Senator Obama are careful
to emphasize that he is a Christian and that his Indonesian
stepfather was a non-practising Muslim.
Two weeks ago, when a photograph of Obama dressed in traditional
Somali wear was sent to the Drudge Report website, the Obama
campaign officials were furious, describing the distribution of the
photograph as a smear effort by the Clinton campaign team.
The question is: Why should a photo of Obama dressed up as a
Somali (or as a Muslim) be viewed as negative for his election
chances, unless we must admit that the United States is still deeply
prejudiced toward Muslims and Arabs - and Africans? How can the
White Americans love Obama this much, but not his father's faith,
African heritage, and traditional dress?
While meeting Jewish groups, Obama, well aware that although the
Jews are only two per cent of the American population, they dominate
and control a quarter of the media, finance, entertainment, and the
sciences, sought to identify with Jews, pointing out that his name
Barack in Hebrew means peace.
It shows us the other dishonest side to Obama that most of us
Africans and Black Americans don't see in our current enthusiasm, a
man who would rather graft himself onto the Jewish world via his
name than visit a mosque and celebrate his Islamic roots. The world
of Obama is summed up by a Caribbean-born Black British commentator,
wearily familiar with the price that a Black public figure must pay
to rise to the top in the white Western world, and he is not overly
excited by the prospect of Obama becoming US president.
Writing in the March 2008 edition of the magazine Prospect,
Trevor Phillips observes: "Obama is a kind of Greek tragedy in the
making. The very thing that makes him the first person of his kind
has 'bound' him to failure: if he fulfils the hopes of whites, he
must disappoint blacks - and vice versa...
For the black underclass and beyond, Obama may be the
latest messiah, but there is anecdotal evidence that where blacks
have prospered to the extent that they are grimly competing for jobs
and property with whites, they don't buy 'Obamania.'...This is
because the people who actually experience just how far America
remains from post-racial
harmony are those blacks who work with whites..." Perhaps because of
having read too many books on the activities and history of the CIA,
I remain suspicious even of the recent string of Obama
How does Obama win 12 consecutive states, mainly populated
by rural whites who are typically lukewarm toward Blacks, then
suddenly he is unable to sustain the momentum when it comes to Texas
and Ohio, two states whose racial composition is identical to
the 12 he easily won weeks before?
How come Obama won 12 consecutive states but they were all states
with a small delegate count, while Hilary Clinton won all the heavy
population, industrial states except for Obama's state of Illinois:
California, New York, Florida, Texas, Ohio?
Might there be a conspiracy to quietly tamper with the primary
results and give Obama the appearance of victory, well knowing this
is in small states, in order to demonstrate that America is no
As understandable is the great hope Black Americans and we
Africans have vested in Obama, real hope will only come when we have
a Black world leader who acts on our terms, not the White world's.
Source: Daily Monitor website, Kampala, in English 8 Mar 08
BBC Mon AF1 AFEau 080308 om-sm