07 February, 2007

Is It Because Of The Name?

Barack Hussein Obama. In American politics today, that name is the hottest. I have written on the man - twice, before: last August and as recently, as a few weeks ago. When Mr. Obama declared his interest in the next American presidential election, I knew he would be ferociously and mercilessly attacked; but, I didn't expect it to be this much and this early.

My interest in Barack, is not only due to his East African origin, or his having a Muslim father; my interest in the man, ever since he became the Illinois senator and the only African-American senator today - has been mainly because he reminds me of two of America's presidents whom I have liked and admired most in my life time: Kennedy and Clinton. And then, there's that belief (illusion?) that I have always had of America: the land of opportunity and of fulfilling dreams. A place where any one with determination and brains can make it and become whatever he wants; irrespective of race, religion, gender or belief. No doubt Barack is determined and no doubt, he has brains; but will/can he make it?

Why should I be interested in who is in the White House? I have realised, time and again, that my life and of those around me is/are affected many times, directly or indirectly by the resident of that house. If it wasn't solely for the present occupant of the Oval Office - would Iraq be as bloody and messy as it is right now? Would the Middle East be as volatile and as explosive as it is today?

As for his name: Barack (Barak) is an East African name used by Muslims there, meaning - blessed. Obama, is in no way Islamic or Arabic, but a name taken purely from the Kenyan Luo language. And whoever is trying to make similarities between that and Osama, is misinformed or trying to be utterly malicious of Mr. Obama. On the other hand, it shows America's, current, very negative obsession with Islam and America's present xenophobic tendencies. Still, ...a rose By any other name would smell as sweet; and so, whatever his enemies and detractors might say about him, Obama will always be Obama. A Kennedy and a Clinton in one; and: an American at heart and in mind who would serve his own, first and foremost; and serve he would, I believe - wisely and with foresight. And I have no doubt, he wants to serve America and Americans first and most, and America's best interests. Period.