Is Obama our Man?
The victory of Barak Obama, a junior senator, who is without a political pedigree, in
United States of America presidential election has unleashed long-anticipated celebrations around the world. Many people around the globe see this victory revolutionary and that the American threw away racial prejudice and saw their country as a whole - not as white, black, yellow or red people but as Americans. This could be true to some extent. However, we have to notice that Obama did not get as many white votes as McCain, the split being 55-43 percent in McCain’s favour. But some 95 percent of black voters, who turned out in unprecedented numbers, voted for Obama, and that more than 66% of young voters who were less than 30 years old vote for Obama; indicating that most older white voters are not yet ready to accept a black man to be their president.
It is depressing to see how many Muslims, in the
Middle East and elsewhere, have uncritically joined the celebrations with little sense of just how hollow these may be. Most people in the Muslim World were supporting Obama for different reasons. Some writers are so overzealous. Some writers in Sudanese Online (in Arabic) have even congratulated him as “the President of the Universe”. Since his victory we have been reading very long articles on anthropology, the glorious history of Africa as cradle of human being, tribes of
Africa, trying to attribute these irrelevant issues to Obama (the President-elect of the Universe). Although nobody can choose his parents, we bother ourselves with the good or dad deeds of our ancestors. We had better to pride our personal achievements and to what extent they are good for our countries. I do not think Obama is interest to know these facts, which will not help him in shouldering his responsibilities. These people and writers are supporting Obama because they are so angry about the arrogant way in which George W Bush conducted his foreign policy. Muslim readers and writers are so happy thinking with Barak middle name of Hussein, would surely offer a foreign policy that would be friendlier to Muslim countries around the world. This is naïve anticipation. I do not see any different having a Muslim name as long as he is a Christian. He did not choose his Muslim father and he convinced the American people that it is not his (fault) having a Muslim father. Our presidents and leaders have their full names so Islamic; yet, their people have been suffering from their dictatorships and corruptions along the history. As long as
USA foreign policy is likely to remain unchanged, having a black president of a Muslim name is really does not matter.
We must not forget that Obama was elected to care after his own people interests and that he had made a firm commitment to the defense of Israel (against whom) and its policies including supporting the indivisibility of Jerusalem, a position which even the Israelis themselves are willing to put on the negotiating table.
Some writers are even waiting for Obama to do them marvelous, to bring them democracy, freedom and prosperity. These writers glorify the American human rights, equality, justice and fundamental freedoms and forgetting its bad human right violations around the globe. We must not forget that Obama would not have gotten as far as he has gotten if he were a Muslim instead of a Christian or if he came across as speaking from the perspective of his race instead of his more inclusive language or if he did not have the experience of growing up in with his white grandparents and his white mother.
Waiting for Obama to bring about change for us reflect how we are really frustrated. When we change our ways of thinking then we can create change. The values of justice, freedom, equality and patriotism cannot be imported like consumption goods from
USA. It is a shallow reflect to imagine that Obama will solve the world chronic issues especially of the African many conflicts which result from the rotten mentalities of rebel leaders. Upon his victory Obama said” "You understand the enormity of the challenges we face - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century," he said. "The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but
America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there. I promise you- we as people will get there.
He also said” "Because of what we did on this day, at this moment, change has come to
America (not the world). This victory belongs to you (the American not the African or the Muslims). This victory alone is not the change we seek. It's just a chance to make that change."
Eight years ago, a lot of American Muslims actively campaigned for George W Bush
and celebrated his victory over Al Gore, on the basis that Bush could not possibly be worse than Bill Clinton, then regarded as the most anti-Muslim and pro-Israel president ever. I am afraid that the world expectations will be disappointed in the years to come. Sad is the fate of Muslim World that celebrates the victory of Obama in the absence of similar aspirations and hopes. It may not be long before Obama's Muslim supporters find themselves feeling similarly silly. It is unlikely that only Muslim expectations will be disappointed very soon. How long shall we continue condemning our governments? Are not these governments are output of their people.
Bad governments are not mentally worse than their peoples. The time communities mature, they produce mature leaders.
It is high time that we review of concepts of patriotism that based on an idea that suggests a state of oneness and equality. Traditionally, nations were built on the basis that they are composed of peoples that share a common origin, culture, tradition and sometimes language, which could then form the basis of national identity.
In today’s context, however, national identity and patriotism cannot be built on the crude pillars of language, religion and culture alone. It is an act of devotion to what the country stands for, fundamental freedom and social justice.
We have reached a juncture where we, as Sudanese must rethink and reclaim the country’s direction and steer it to the direction of principles and values. Let’s stop imagining that our civil wars and conflicts can only be solved by Bush or Obama. To settle our differences, the concept of nationalism must ever reflect more democratic ideals and fundamental freedoms and incorporate diversity in line with the growing awareness and aspirations of society.
Yes, it is true that Obama’s victory tears down the myth of racial superiority. However, me must not forget that this victory is the result of very tough peaceful struggle for freedom and civil rights. It is so sad that the son of the 'Civil Rights Movement' did not live long enough to taste the fruit of his righteous effort. Brutally assassinated in 1968, yet his death has not been in vain.
Most rebellions and civil wars in
Sudan have been a result of the myth of racial superiority, cultural concepts and wrong interpretation to the meaning and implications of values of nationalism. They will not be settled by means of ammunitions, not today, not ever. When the values of brotherhood and the concepts of equality and partnership prevail, only then can we live in peace. Peace deals will stop atrocities and aggressions but will not bring about respect, real peace and love unless these values are deeply inculcated in our souls and minds. It will happen sooner or later.
Human life is indeed imbued with paradoxes and potentialities. When King led hundreds of thousands of Americans to march for jobs and freedom in 1963, George Wallace, then Governor of Alabama, declared: “In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." Surprisingly the segregationist policy was ended in its entirety in 1968. Indeed, the 1960s were the decade of great political awakening for the Americans, who clearly understood the country would not move forward as a united nation so long as racism remained officially sanctioned. Obama’s victory was a result of this understanding and awareness. As Barack Obama delivered his victory speech, on the TV screen Jesse Jackson, Oprah Winfrey and even Condoleezza Rice – a Republican - were all in tears. They were so happy and victorious. I cried so deeply not because a black won
USA presidential but because rebels in
Sudan have fallowed the opposite and wrong route.
I cried again when John McCain was declared defeated because he did not say that election was falsified or there was some sort of money politics and hence the election be redone as (leaders in the underdeveloped countries say), instead he said" This is a historic election," he said, "and I recognise the special significance it has for African Americans and the special pride that must be theirs tonight... Senator Obama and I have argued our differences, and he has prevailed. No doubt many of those differences remain. These are difficult times for our country. And I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face".
Why do not we learn from the experiences of others? I read many articles in the successful website (Sudanese online) and I was and still very depressed about the language used by some rebels' supporters. They had better adopt an inclusive language to articulate their political aspirations, much as Obama has done to win the support of white voters instead of insulting very rudely.
We need true change that occurs evolutionarily not revolutionary; a change with appositive difference, for change without difference is one thing, but change without direction or decision is another, not like the change brought by the use of ammunition which will disappear as soon as the roar of weapons muted.
I hope that President Obama will have the wisdom, understanding and strength to lead the US to its role as a world-leader in not just military and economic might, but also as the true global defender of the lives (from hunger and diseases), liberties and opportunities to which we all have a right, and as sincere partner in settling the world chronic issues.
*Translator and educator,
Adam Zakaria A. Mahmoud
* Issues of interests include:
= Education for Sustainable Development
= Strategic Management/Leadership
= Organisational Behaviour
= Education Economics