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The world for Barack Obama

Should McCain defeat Obama in the US Presidential election, the world will descend into a state of mass depression.

Political and psychological despair piling on top of the worst global economic recession since the 1930s is the last thing we need. I don’t say this lightly.

The Bush years have been hard on planet earth. Add to that the general absence of inspirational leaders on the global stage, and from Patagonia to Tokyo, you have an overwhelming desire for something exciting and meaningful. And Obama, for better or for worse, is filling that void.

I am seeing people from all nationalities buoyed by the Obama factor. The detractors will tell you it’s all about his soaring speeches and it doesn’t mean anything as far as reality goes.

Yet I have always marveled at those who belittle oratory or the ability of political leaders to inspire. As if the job of political leaders is to produce audit reports or legal opinions or lay bricks at a construction site. Sure all such jobs are essential and great. But, as far as I am concerned, half of the job of a political leader is to inspire. And at the risk of making all those real politic agents amongst us throw up, YES, it is about making you dream.

I am not only addressing the American public in this article. I am also talking about all those world citizens like myself who are engrossed in the US election and what it means for the world. The Bush years have taught us the hard way that US politics can have a direct effect on the daily lives of people around the world.

So, in this election, Arabs, Europeans, Russians and everyone else, would love to be given the chance to vote in November. If that were to happen, McCain will be defeated by the biggest landslide in history.

Various surveys attest to Obama’s extraordinary global popularity. A recent BBC World Service poll found that the margin was 4 to 1 in favour of Obama amongst 22,500 people surveyed in 22 countries. The margins in favour of Obama varied from 9% to 82%, with an average of 49% going for Obama, compared to a tiny 12% in favour of McCain.

Obama’s surge on the world stage is leading to a re-examination of politics in countries and local communities thousands of miles away from any US city. The ability of a mixed-race individual to come from nowhere and have a shot at the presidency of the world’s greatest power is causing a lot of people (or folks, as Bush would say) to re-visit their fatal cynicism towards politics.

There is an indisputable sense that Obama made it through sheer grit and charisma. There is no powerful family behind Obama that pushed him to the heights of political achievement. In fact, everything about his family is causing him trouble, particularly in those US voter communities under the magic spell of Karl Rove and his brand of “power at any cost.”

There is hardly anything more striking than reading about Obama’s half brother, who lives in a shanty town in Nairobi, Kenya, in sheer poverty. This is a contrast that speaks volumes about the true promise of America and the chances it affords an immigrant’s son.

One of the major empowering aspects of Obama’s rise is its dependence on citizen involvement. Obama has managed to fund his campaign through direct contributions by ordinary people from all walks of life. His website has proven to be the most effective fund raising tool in history. His funds have far exceeded those of his rivals in the primaries and McCain’s.

In a country like the US, where reliance on big corporate backers and lobby groups has been essential, this is nothing short of phenomenal. In that sense at least, and as Obama said during the National Democratic Convention, the people are “taking back America.”

Obama’s success is leading to a re-examination of politics, not only around the fabled kitchen tables in middle America, but in dining rooms in Cairo and London. If people in America, a country so weighed down by the power of lobbyists and money, can engineer this Obama campaign out of nowhere, what are people elsewhere capable of if they unite behind a common cause?

As I write these lines, the dishonorable yet sadly effective Swift Boat attack machine of the Republican Party is in full flow. A group of not-so-undercover-Republican agents recently distributed 28 million DVDs targeting voters in swing states, implying that Obama is soft on Iran and other targets, because he is a Muslim. This is only the tip of an iceberg and it will get worse and worse. The Swift Boat tactics of the McCain campaign will continue to focus on Obama’s foreign roots as they run out of options this month.

And I can just imagine how the Swift Boaters deal with opinions just as the one I am expressing here. They will go around saying “see, Obama is better for Arabs and foreigners, and that should make you think… People around the world love him because he will make America weak!”

This could be effective with the American voter who is not well versed in international politics. So let me preempt the Karl Rovites by providing just some of the reasons why Arabs for example are hoping for an Obama victory:

– Despite all those differences between Arabs and the American government on foreign policy, there is a strong longing amongst so many Arabs for America to take on a moral and righteous role in Arab politics. This belief still remains because, deep down, the majority of Arabs know America as a country that remains a land of unparalleled opportunity. Many families in the Arab world have stories of a friend or a relative who went to the US and made something of herself or himself. And these same Arabs look with amazement at the political role of America in the Arab world, and how far removed it is from the core of American values. And these Arabs now believe that maybe, in Barack Obama, we will for once have an American President who will match America’s internal virtues with its foreign exploits.

– After witnessing the tragic consequences of the Iraq war, people in the region are petrified by the prospect of an American war against Iran. There is a strong sense that such a war might indeed be the last straw for this troubled region, leading it to a cycle of bloodshed and instability unlike anything we have seen before. There is no doubt that Obama will bring a more reasonable foreign policy approach, based on strong but effective diplomacy. Likewise, there is no doubt that McCain will bomb Iran. In addition to going around singing “bomb Iran” like a total brat, McCain has surrounded himself with die-hard neocons whose only remaining political objective is the obliteration of Iran.

– People in the region are beginning to witness the consequences of the decline of the American empire and they are not sure they like it. Chaos in Lebanon, and the complete lack of hope on the Palestinian-Israeli front have left people with a sense of desolation. People of the region are sure that Obama will re-assert the reputation and prestige of America in a way that would allow it to play a constructive role. As for McCain, there is a complete conviction that he will be an older yet unwiser version of George Bush and, with Palin on his side, the nightmare ticket is complete.

Finally, as a citizen of the world, I will end by asking all Americans reading this piece to think twice before perpetuating the waste of the Bush years. I ask all Americans to believe in the promise of the world’s support for Obama. Most of us love what America stands for, and the support of Obama represents a craving on the part of a huge majority around the world for America to regain and improve its leadership position.

A vote for Obama is a golden opportunity for America. A vote for McCain is a confirmation to the world that America is losing faith in herself.

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Nasser Ali Khasawneh

Nasser Ali Khasawneh graduated in law from Oxford University, and holds a Masters in Law (LL.M) degree from University College at the University of London. He is a lawyer and writer.

14 thoughts on “The world for Barack Obama

  1. Nasser, my friend and fellow Arab patriot, said it all when he wrote that Obama makes him want to dream. Personally speaking, I am not in the mood for dreaming these days, nor have I ever been when it came to the US elections (the greatest “every-four-years” distraction for many Arabs, matched only by the FIFA World Cup finals). While football is a beautiful sport, American politics is the filthiest game there is, and it is very dangerous for us Arabs to ‘dream’ that it can make a difference for us who prevails in this inherently corrupt political race for the top job in America.

    Now, if Nasser or anyone else had been an American tax paying citizen, then who am I to even question their enthusiasm for whomever they support to be in the White House? But my fellow Jordanian friend here advanced an argument that the Arabs at large, which include people like myself, should actually be in favor of Obama, and this is where I fundamentally differ with Nasser.

    While it is absolutely true that the Bush legacy has been unprecedented in its undisguised appetite for war, and while I may agree that something like the invasion of Iraq could have only been perpetrated by an insane neocon Republican, nevertheless, the kind of support some Arabs display for Obama is akin to an inmate preferring one executioner over the other just because lethal injection is less painful than the electric chair, forgetting that in the end, death tastes all the same for the victim (the Clinton administration murdered a million Iraqis by sanctions, slow deaths that Albright said were a price worth paying, while Bush preferred shock and awe and very loud bangs and bombs).

    Now of course I would not deliberately want to inflict another George Bush on the world if I could, because that would be a sadistic streak on my part. But from a purely Arab perspective, I would say that at least the disastrous consequences of the Bush legacy have at long last exposed the previously camouflaged face of American imperialism and revealed to the otherwise susceptible populations of the rest of the civilized world what this militarized superpower is all about. This global transformation of the image of the American empire can only be a good thing for us Arabs. You may disagree with that and say that you would rather not tolerate another Bush presidency just so that we change world opinion and expose America’s excesses. That, I appreciate, would be a legitimate choice to make. But quite frankly, for any Arab to feel strongly in favor of one side over the other, and be delusional to ‘dream’ that Obama is a different animal from all previous Presidents who may inject some kind of morality into the Zionist-dominated decision-making process of American foreign policy, is frankly absurd and goes against the incontestable facts of what Obama said he would do if elected.

    The fact that earnest Arab dreamers choose to avoid in all of this is that there are strict rites of passage for any person wishing to enter the Presidential race in the US, and these dictate that such person must kneel at the altar of the Jewish supremacist Gods of AIPAC before they even ‘dream’ of setting a foot in the political arena, let alone aim for the White House. If we conveniently ignore this sad fact of American politics, we would definitely enjoy one hell of an exciting election, but who wins it would not be anymore meaningful for us than Italy beating France in the last World Cup. That is why I switch off when others get too excited about the US elections. It just doesn’t matter for us the Arabs, and it never did.

    Back to Obama, I need not remind Arabs of how this candidate inaugurated his campaign back in June. Did we really forget that he started it all by visiting the holy temple of AIPAC to give his unwavering vows of allegiance to the Zionists in charge in Washington? I will rest my case for now by quoting word for word his main declarations when he went there, and will end this comment by asking how in God’s name we can get excited about such a candidate or can believe that he might change the rules of the rotten game that has never ever changed in the last 60 years as far as us Arabs are concerned.

    Here is what Barack Obama said to the Israeli lobby group that controls the United States of America, and I would ask anyone to truly tell me why the Arabs, let alone the world, should be for Obama:

    “I want you to know that today I’ll be speaking from my heart, and as a true friend of Israel. And I know that when I visit with AIPAC, I am among friends. Good friends. Friends who share my strong commitment to make sure that the bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable today, tomorrow and forever.”

    “One of the many things that I admire about AIPAC is that you fight for this common cause from the bottom up. The lifeblood of AIPAC is here in this room.”

    “I first became familiar with the story of Israel when I was 11 years old. I learned of the long journey and steady determination of the Jewish people to preserve their identity through faith, family and culture. Year after year, century after century, Jews carried on their traditions, and their dream of a homeland, in the face of impossible odds.”

    “And I deeply understood the Zionist idea — that there is always a homeland at the center of our story.”

    “as president I will never compromise when it comes to Israel’s security.”

    “ Not when there are rockets raining down on Sderot, and Israeli children have to take a deep breath and summon uncommon courage every time they board a bus or walk to school.”

    “I have long understood Israel’s quest for peace and need for security. But never more so than during my travels there two years ago. Flying in an [Israeli Defense Forces] helicopter, I saw a narrow and beautiful strip of land nestled against the Mediterranean. On the ground, I met a family who saw their house destroyed by a Katyusha rocket. I spoke to Israeli troops who faced daily threats as they maintained security near the blue line. I talked to people who wanted nothing more simple, or elusive, than a secure future for their children.”

    “I have been proud to be a part of a strong, bipartisan consensus that has stood by Israel in the face of all threats. That is a commitment that both John McCain and I share, because support for Israel in this country goes beyond party.”

    “But part of our commitment must be speaking up when Israel’s security is at risk, and I don’t think any of us can be satisfied that America’s recent foreign policy has made Israel more secure.”

    “Israel’s quest for peace with its neighbors has stalled, despite the heavy burdens borne by the Israeli people. And America is more isolated in the region, reducing our strength and jeopardizing Israel’s safety.”

    “ And then there are those who would lay all of the problems of the Middle East at the doorstep of Israel and its supporters, as if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the root of all trouble in the region. These voices blame the Middle East’s only democracy for the region’s extremism. They offer the false promise that abandoning a stalwart ally is somehow the path to strength. It is not, it never has been, and it never will be.”

    “Our alliance is based on shared interests and shared values. Those who threaten Israel threaten us. Israel has always faced these threats on the front lines. And I will bring to the White House an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security. That starts with ensuring Israel’s qualitative military advantage.”

    “ As president, I will implement a Memorandum of Understanding that provides $30 billion in assistance to Israel over the next decade — investments to Israel’s security that will not be tied to any other nation.”

    “We should export military equipment to our ally Israel under the same guidelines as NATO. And I will always stand up for Israel’s right to defend itself in the United Nations and around the world.”

    “Let me be clear. Israel’s security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable.”

    “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.”

    “We must never force Israel to the negotiating table, but neither should we ever block negotiations when Israel’s leaders decide that they may serve Israeli interests. As president, I will do whatever I can to help Israel succeed in these negotiations. And success will require the full enforcement of Security Council Resolution 1701 in Lebanon, and a stop to Syria’s support for terror. It is time for this reckless behavior to come to an end.”

    “There is no greater threat to Israel — or to the peace and stability of the region — than Iran.”

    “The danger from Iran is grave, it is real, and my goal will be to eliminate this threat.”

    “Finally, let there be no doubt: I will always keep the threat of military action on the table to defend our security and our ally Israel. Sometimes there are no alternatives to confrontation.”

    “Just look at what Israel has accomplished in 60 years. From decades of struggle and the terrible wake of the Holocaust, a nation was forged to provide a home for Jews from all corners of the world — from Syria to Ethiopia to the Soviet Union. In the face of constant threats, Israel has triumphed. In the face of constant peril, Israel has prospered. In a state of constant insecurity, Israel has maintained a vibrant and open discourse, and a resilient commitment to the rule of law.”

  2. As an Arab, Nasser, you are right to exhort Americans to back Obama because, for one, his rhetoric seems to indicate that he will be more amenable to employing diplomacy as a main foreign policy tool and that, of course, is in our best interest. But you are also right Zaid in that the choice of President does not matter much for us Arabs; American Middle East policy will not radically change if/when Obama wins. However Zeid, there is still much to be excited about. I am, like Nasser, fascinated by American politics. I believe Arabs are following it closely because, on a subconscious level, we are envious of how much the American citizens and their opinion matter in their own country. The specter of Obama debating McCain both trying to connect with every American voter is truly inspiring. Arabs discuss American politics because they can hardly discuss their own local (as opposed to regional) politics, and because unlike our own mono-lingual media, the American media provides variant content that educates and informs and people can freely toss around.

    We all know about AIPAC Zaid and the strength of the Jewish lobby in America, and you know what? Good for them for being a cornerstone constituency that neither party can ignore. What has the Arab vote done in America? What can we learn from AIPAC to become relevant in American politics? How can we cultivate leadership that inspires in our own countries? How can we build parties with developed platforms and mass mobilization abilities that can appeal to our electorate and generate political capital? These are the questions we as Arabs should be asking and mulling over. Israel is important to both parties is more of a truism: self-evident and hardly worth mentioning. Grading on a curve, America is a well-developed political system that we can learn much from.

  3. I think Americans owe it to themselves and the world to choose someone who can restore ability and possibility into the American spirit and all that we’ve always admired about America. As a spectator surrounded by American everything, Obama certainly speaks the right language and that seems to have a good effect on people.

    But, if whoever is elected can’t fix their own house, foreign policy and Middle East tactics is secondary. Kind of like, how bad is bad?

    @Dima/’What has the Arab vote done in America?’
    Clearly nothing yet. But today there is a very interesting generation of 20/30something Arab Americans. And therein lies amazing opportunities if they so choose. But that means a massive shift in vision and goals for them. They can certainly start creating something very interesting if they wish.

    While before it was a spectator sport, today they have everything it takes and it’s finally about choice.

    What will the Arabs choose?

    Which leads me to dwell on your final comment, and say…. we’ve been learning for over 3 gens, perhaps it’s time to apply all this learning.

  4. While I agree with Dima that there is much to learn for us Arabs from American politics, that is a valid yet totally different point than the one I was debating with Nasser. While Dima is right that Arab Americans have miserably failed to even register on the radar screens of candidates, let alone match the colossal influence of AIPAC, I still do not see why we, non-American Arabs, should be excited if Obama might win, or go as far as declaring that we should rally for his success, in the light of his declared position on the issues that matter to Arabs.

    My whole point was that Americans, Arabs or otherwise, of course have the absolute right to be excited about whomever candidate they choose. However, for non-American Arabs like myself and like Nasser, I find it a huge self-delusional fallacy to imagine that Obama is something worth getting excited about, again, bearing in mind what came out of his mouth about how he intends to behave when President, which I quoted at length in my first comment.

    Obama might be an inspirational orator, and I would most probably choose him over McCain and his idiotic choice for VP if I was an American. But Nasser was talking about something else. Nasser wanted me and my fellow Arabs to be equally excited as if we were all American citizens. This is where I strongly disagree with Nasser. And it is not because Obama is an anti-Arab vile character. It is just that the American system of politics itself is fundamentally flawed and would not allow him to be any different than the worst neo-con. It is flawedbecause it allow a group such as AIPAC to enslave American politicians to an abominable extent. This enslavement is real and not imaginary, and it can only be described as immoral. I don’t agree with Dima that we therefore should admire AIPAC’s tactics because these tactics are devious and undemocratic, where only Jews are allowed to talk about such undue influence of AIPAC (so that they wouldn’t be automatically branded as anti-Semites – case in point, Mearsheimer and Walt – and even these scholars were themselves castigated and eaten alive for daring to touch the holy cow).

    We all know that the American media and society is under the absolute control of Zionist Jews who put Israel first and censor any real debate, whether about Israel or about the built-in and blind bias towards it. Obama knew this very well and that is why he bent over backwards to AIPAC to kick off his campaign.

    Over to Nasser.

  5. RE: Comment #4, Zaid Nabulsi’s comments about Obama, U.S. Middle Eastern policy, and ‘Zionist control of the media’ in Zaid’s 3rd and 4th paragraphs.

    I’m a Republican who’s going to vote for Obama, and unfortunately, Zaid’s general criticism about Obama and U.S. policy toward Israel and the Middle East is largely true. But certain of Zaid’s comments need what I at least think is a necessary corrective response, to wit:

    Zaid, 3rd paragraph, said: “… the American system of politics … would not allow [Obama] to be any different than the worst neo-con.”

    That remains to be seen. The problem, in my opinion, is not Zionism and AIPAC as such, but the U.S. need for oil and gas, and especially the U.S. strategy of protecting American access to Middle Eastern and Central Asian energy sources through military occupation and/or the establishment of puppet governments. For carrying out this strategy, the State of Israel and its military are regarded as stategic tools by the U.S. government. For example, after the August 2008 conflict in the Caucasus between Georgia and Russia over South Ossetia, it was revealed that not only Ukraine but also Israel had been the chief suppliers of weaponry to the Georgian government, as part of an effort to protect the pipeline from Baku to the Black Sea. If the U.S. Government, including both Democrats and Republicans, did not already see Israel as an indispensable instrument in the U.S. strategy of militarily protecting American access to energy sources, then AIPAC would not have the influence that it has in Washington.

    Certainly, U.S. oil companies have more influence on American strategy in the Middle East than does AIPAC. In my opinion, if U.S. oil companies, in their initial meetings with Cheney, had not probably decided to advocate the military protection of American access to Asian energy sources, then AIPAC would not have the influence it has.

    Zaid, 4th paragraph, said: “We all know that the American media and society is[sic] under the absolute control of Zionist Jews who put Israel first … [etc.].”

    That’s a little extreme. Outside the borders of Israel, Zionist Jews don’t have that kind of power anywhere. What is true is that, from 1945 until the advent of the widespread use of the Internet, Zionist influence in the U.S. mainstream media led to biased reporting in favor of Israel in American mainstream-media reports about the Middle East. With the diversification of American news outlets starting in the 1980s and especially with the rise of Internet news sources, American news consumers have had access to an increasing variety of views about the Middle East, and not all of those views are Zionist. But it is still true that American Christians have, since 1945, been culturally conditioned to be more receptive to the Zionist narrative than to any other, and it will take time for that to change. But that’s still not the same as “absolute control.”

  6. “We all know that the American media and society is under the absolute control of Zionist Jews”

    No, we don’t “all know” this. Because “we all” are not conspiracy theorists.

  7. To Lal I would say, it is no longer a conspiracy as much as it is a blatant ‘in your (American) face’ fact of life in the land of the free and the home of the brave. A conspiracy, you see, used to involve clandestine planning and secretive plotting, all too much of a needless hassle for the conspirators. Naah, the American Zionists, who are much more hardcore than their Israeli counterparts, have been working brazenly in the open for a long time. Why bother, it’s much easier that way. In fact, Americans were desensitized to the travesty too long ago, as far back as when the USS Liberty was deliberately attacked by Israel, and the test results were very reassuring for the Jewish state: Israel can get away with murder; murder of US servicemen and women. Since then, it was an easy ride I suppose. Any dissent from the Zionist controlled media version of events would either be suppressed by the Zionists themselves, or better, undermined and ridiculed by their brainwashed victims who became trained and started parrotting the zionists’ line without too much effort exerted by the zionists. And just for Lal’s info, they don’t call us conspiracy theorists any longer; anti-semite would do just as nicely but deliver a stronger derogatory label on whomever points out the outrageous facts.

    Lastly, Poeschl is correct, my use of the word “absolute” as far as the media is concerned might be too sweeping, and I would correct myself if I may and say ‘overwhelming’ control. However, when it comes to the eternal taboo imposed on the world’s conscience on the issue of the Holocaust industry, the control is, sadly, absolute. Just look at what the degenerate …did to Norman Finkelstein, himself the son of two holocaust survivors, an honorable American Jew who dared to speak the truth.

    I would love to attend one of these Obama debates and ask him what he thinks about the persecution of Professor Finkelstein by the stray dogs who have hijacked American academia.

    And you still want me to cheer for another gutless enslaved politician?? …

    Excuse my French, and good night.

    Editor’s note: let’s try to refrain from using expletives in this debate. Technically, our comment policy discourages abusive language.

  8. The existence of special interest groups isn’t news. Nothing is stopping different special interest groups from existing either. Ever heard of J Street? Might want to google them sometime.

    Nobody’s asking you to cheer for anyone else either. If you’re not interested in Obama, you’re not interested. Many people are not. Some will even vote McKinney.

  9. Special interest groups, you called them, Lal? How about Chosen People groups? Anyway, just so that Lal doesn’t rush into more judgmental and disinformed stereotyping statements, here is a good unmissable debate in 2007 at the Oxford Union about roughly the same issue, involving none other but Finkelstein and his “detractors”. By the way, at the very time the debate took place in May 2007, Finkelstein was not yet denied tenure at DePaul University(tenure refers to becoming Professor, however, strangely enough, the decision to punish him and deny him tenure took place the next month, in June 2007).

    Please take the effort to watch the whole thing, 5 parts of approx. 9 minutes each average, or otherwise just go back to your ignorant slumber – Nasser, Dima, Nadine and Poeschl excluded… well, and you too Lal, unless you would really vote for McCuckoo:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhWuy0_VVwo&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QifGrXsyj8U&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28XEFpO9FQw&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ws2m-leJs0c&feature=related

  10. “judgmental and disinformed stereotyping statements”

    Damn. What does that even mean?

    Lookie, you’ve obviously ignoring how the American political machinery really turns its gears, if you think that one group controls it.

    Nobody’s saying it’s all good and fair either, but the last time I checked, there were many Arabs living in America. A big number voted for Bush the last time around, I’m hoping most will vote for Obama this time.

    Thanks for assuming I’ve got no clue as to who Finkelstein is.

    And yes, many special interest groups out there, with many pieces of the pie. J Street, again, is one of them.

  11. “judgmental and disinformed stereotyping statements”

    “Damn. What does that even mean?”

    Calling me a conspiracy theorist because I pointed out the obvious truth about the zionists grabbing America by the balls is judgmental and disinformed stereotyping.

    I didn’t assume anything about you knowing or not knowing Finkelstein. I just posted a link to one of his debates, the ones that never the see the light in the mainstream zionist controlled media in the US.

  12. Huh? You just told everyone that America is controlled by one group but I’M the one who’s stereotyping?

    This is no longer interesting.

  13. First of all, I apologize to all of you for taking this long to respond. I would like to thank you all for the positive comments and thoughtful feedback.

    The main arguments against this article were articluled by Zaid, and I would like to respond with a few words here.

    First of all, Zaid pretty much ignored at least 75% of my article. I feel that his response is based entirely on the last part in which I present 3 arguments as to why a large number of Arabs support Obama. But the key to my article is the FACT that many people around the world are inspired by Obama and the popular movement he represents. That is a fact that can easily be confirmed by simply asking around amongst your friends or doing a brief online survey of the blogs and the articles written by many Arabs and others. I did not write the article in order to plead with Arabs to support Obama. They already do!

    And there is something positive in all of that. Heros are almost never perfect. Of course, Arabs would always prefer to have an American President who feels the pain of the Palestinian people as keenly as he or she feels the pain of the Israeli people. But that is unlikely to happen because of the power of the AIPAC lobby and other lobbies, and because of the almost total absence of Arab Americans from the American political stage. Nonetheless, I did not see one comment by Zaid on how people in the Arab world are inspired by the Obama example to take more of an interest in politics. People are inspired by the example of those millions of Americans who voted with their pockets by donating generously to Obama and his campaign. This makes people think of the possibilities of change in their own communities. Now, for me, this inspiration stands on its own regardless of one detail re Obama’s foreigh policy positions. But it seems that Zaid is saying he will only be inspired by perfection, and that is indeed his choice. But life, politics and history have always been imperfect Zaid. Sure, every now and then, you get someone like Nelson Mandela who can hardly be faulted on any of his political positions. He is almost a saint. Obama is no Mandela, i would grant you that. But that does not say that we cannot be inspired by anything this man stands for. Are you going to stand there Zaid and deny Arabs the hope they see in the movement around Obama? Are you going to stand and shout “No, No, don’t be inspired because of his speech at AIPAC???” The fact of the matter is, and as I said in this article, Obama is making people think of the power of the people to bring about change in their own communities. And I cannot for the life of me understand why you would want to stamp out hope, regardless of its source.

    A careful reading of my article Zaid will show you that that is the cornestone of what I am saying.

    As for my reasons as to why Arabs are hopeful that Obama will bring change to the region in particular: It seems we disagree as to whether he could change a bit the role of the US in the stalled Palestinian / Israeli conflict. He probably won’t change US policy much in this regard, but, as i say in the article, I am sure he will help the US play a bit of a more constructive role in the Palestinian Israeli conflict. As for Iran, no two sane people can disagree that Obama has a more reasonable and measured approach than “BOMB IRAN NOW” McCain … So I cannot what the argument could be about there. Finally, Yes, Zaid, Arabs would like America to champion freedom in teh Arab world and i cannot imagine why you would disagree with that. If Arabs have the dream of an American that works to help the causes of liberty across the world, you can try to fault them for their unrealism , but you can never really condem a person for having a bit of hope.

  14. Nasser,

    I did not deny your right to be inspired. I just simply pointed out that while Obama may be good for Americans, he is not any different for Arabs, which is what concerns me. Then I tried to point out why another slave of AIPAC does not inspire me personally by quoting from his disgusting speech in which he kicked off his campaign.

    Obama is not a bad person, I said, and he is light years better than McCain, but I did say that the difference – again, as far as an Arab like me is concerned – is like the difference between the harsh electric chair of the Republicans and the soft and quiet lethal injection of the Democrats. It is interesting why you have not responded to this point at all, or to the one about Albright stating to Diane Sawyer that the price was worth it.

    You stated, and I quote:

    “Now, for me, this inspiration stands on its own regardless of one detail re Obama’s foreigh policy positions.”

    Nasser, what one detail are you talking about? Or is a million deaths by sanctions just another “detail”?

    No, I am not seeking perfection. I am only seeking a little courage. All it takes to stand up to AIPAC is a bit of courage to speak the truth about their outrageous and undue influence. OK, if that would lose you the elections, at least go there and try to pretend to be balanced. But what he said at AIPAC was just nauseating beyond belief, and he truly didn’t have to do that. They would not have cut off his balls if he spoke like a dignified US Presidential candidate. But he waxed poetry about Israel that made me regurgitate and lose any hope whatsoever that this candidate is any different.

    Nasser, I totally respect your idealism and the dreaming that you said Obama evokes in you. But I cannot be inspired by another wimp who kneels for these bastards. As Arabs, we have suffered from the enslavement of US politicians by the Zionists for too long, and I just could not, and still cannot, feel your enthusiasm for more of the same.

    And I did not avoid 75% of your article as you state. I did say that marvelling at the way funds were raised and watching him win over the voters was like watching a nice game of Brazil against Holland (or was it France against Italy?). You just have to love the game, but I’ve seen enough US Presidents in my lifetime to realize that at the end of the match, it’s back to business as usual.

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