Obama’s feel-good speech

By B. R. Gowani

Critics, including this author, may have many valid arguments critical of Obama, the current emperor of the declining US Empire. However, they have to acknowledge that he presents great change and welcome relief to his predecessor whose hand, it seemed, was always on the trigger, i.e., a policy of shoot first and asking never.

Unlike the former president George W. Bush, Barack Hussein Obama is well read and aware of world history, including the European colonial and US imperial histories.

Many Muslims may appreciate his applauding the Islamic Civilization’s contributions to algebra, magnetic compass, “elegant” calligraphy, “timeless poetry and cherished music,” etc.

In his Cairo speech he freely quoted from the Muslim scripture Qur’an, drawing applause from the audience. (To quote from the literature, religious or otherwise, of the host country has been a common practice among the business, religious, and political leaders to earn goodwill and make the natives feel good and at ease.)

Obama said his government would work with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to eradicate polio. A very noble thought, but only if implemented.

Given his personal history, his past efforts, and as is evident from his speeches, the genuineness of his feelings to improve relations with the Muslim world cannot be denied. Also in Cairo, his African roots enabled him to be accepted as one of their own.

So far so good.

Let us now examine some important issues that he raised:


Obama, unlike his predecessor, accepted the fact that Hamas does have the support of the Palestinian people. Also, his critical mention of Israel that the US “does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements … This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop” was welcome. However, he did not elaborate on any timetable for these settlements to stop.

So in the final analysis, his solution can be summed up in this one sentence from his speech: “Palestinians must abandon violence.” He should have instead asked Israel to stop the violence, given that it commits several-fold more violence as the occupying force. To be totally fair, he should have also warned the Israeli government to remove all the Jewish settlements, Israeli police, and the army from the 22% land returned back to the Palestinians, or else face a total cut off from US aid: both, government and private.

But then Obama would become to first US president to be deposed in a coup de tat and would probably be sent in exile to Kenya.

September 11, 2001

He reminded his audience worldwide about the estimated 3,000 people killed on September 11, 2001. However, no figures were supplied by him about the thousands of Afghans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed as a result of the US “war on terror.” In addition to the misery, the refugees, hatred, new “terrorists,” and the economic devastation the US war on terror has caused.

Nuclear weapons

“When one nation pursues a nuclear weapon, the risk of nuclear attack rises for all nations,” Obama said. He was speaking to the Muslims and so it was not North Korea (who is already a nuclear power) but it was Iran that he was talking about. Israel’s stockpile of nuclear weapons remained unmentioned. The US is committed, he pointed out, “to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons.”

The question arises that if such is the case, than why be bothered about Iran developing a few nuclear weapons? As when the nuclear disarmament begins, Iran will have to join the rest of the nuclear nations to get rid of its nuclear weapons; provided it has developed such weapons by then.

Overthrow of Muhammad Mussadiq

Obama acknowledged one of the many US crimes committed against Iran when he stated: “In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government.” But in the same breath, he tried to balance out the US act by accusing Iran: “Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against U.S. troops and civilians.”

The US did not stop at removing Prime Minister Mussadiq in 1953 (whose crime was that he had nationalized Iran’s oil), but continued supporting the Shah of Iran (who was re-installed by the CIA) until he was forced to abdicate his throne in 1979. The then US President, Jimmy Carter, supported the brutal Shah until the very end of his rule.

Overall, the speech was good and the Muslims (and non-Muslims) who were listening must have felt good for a while. But once the Obama spell is over and the reality of how much power the US president has, and what he can accomplish, remains to be seen.

Let us all pray to the AIPAC (American Israeli Political Action Committee) that President Obama may overcome the forces/interest groups working against peace and cooperation, provided Obama truly wants all the things he mentioned in his speech. Until then, basically, not much is going to change; Iran will be pressured to give up its nuclear program, the “war against terror” will continue, the Palestinians will continue to suffer under Israeli occupation. Meanwhile, the Jewish Lobby and Benjamin Netanyahu along with AIPAC’s very large wings in the US Congress will be celebrating their legendary power over the US government.

A Request

If the US is really going “to invest $1.5 billion each year over the next five years to partner with Pakistanis to build schools and hospitals, roads and businesses, and hundreds of millions to help those who’ve been displaced” as Obama mentioned, it should go through the United Nations, or some other organization and should appoint an advisory board consisting of people like Asma Jehangir, Pervez Hoodbhoy, and others. Because the current Pakistani leader and the former leader waiting to become the new leader are not capable of realizing these lofty goals as they have been proven to be thieves.

The same is true in regards to the following Obama proposal. “And that is why the United States will partner with any Muslim-majority country to support expanded literacy for girls, and to help young women pursue employment through micro-financing that helps people live their dreams.” Indeed.

B. R. Gowani can be reached at brgowani@hotmail.com

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