Election or Revolution Obama: A Miracle

Americans have elected a Blackman with a funny name, ignoring his colour, creed, background. They believed in his promise of bringing about a change.

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ZAHID JAMIL

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Americans have elected a Blackman with a funny name, ignoring his colour, creed, background. They believed in his promise of bringing about a change. The message and promise of change and the way it has been supported by masses in the USA is a phenomenon which is nothing less than a revolution. It is a revolution for change against the fundamental policies followed by American regimes over the past many years which peaked during Bush’s presidency over the past eight years. This revolution is demanding a change against blind imperialistic intents which led to the American invasion of many countries, illegal interference in others’ internal affairs and crushing of other ideologies.

It is demanding a change against an extreme form of capitalism. The global economic movement which began in the early nineties brought great benefits to many parts of the world but soon became increasingly corrupt and power hungry. Major public sectors were privatised in most countries and there was increased pressure on CEOs to maximise return for their shareholders. Many CEOs became corrupt, took huge pay packages for themselves, cut staff levels to extreme limits, manipulated financial reports of their companies and indulged in unfair and corrupt practices. They took measures which were devoid of economic sense and led the world into the worst financial crisis of past 100 years.

This message of change from Obama is also a revolution against religious extremism of neo-cons who had taken the White House as hostage and were able to dictate terms in the US Congress and military, forcing them to act against the spirit of human freedom and fundamental principles of American constitution.

While it remains to be seen how much of this change will eventually be brought about, the election of Barack Hussein Obama has other surprising features which I find extremely interesting. His election is described as a history making event which made true of Martin Luther King’s dream. An African American is being elected by a huge margin as the president, the most powerful position in the world.

If we look into it little more deeply, he is much more than an African American and thus this election is an astonishing event. An Average African American is one whose forefathers were brought to US more than 200 years back as slaves for performing petty and demeaning jobs. Most of these black Americans are Christians and they have adopted American names. During 1960s, few blacks embraced Islam during a great Islamic movement led by Malcom X.

Obama’s origin has little to do with a typical African American. Obama is the son of a Kenyan Muslim also named as Barack Hussein Obama, a typical African Muslim name.  Obama Senior came to US for studies, met a white American, Ann Dunham in university and married her who gave birth to Barack Obama. Ann, although never became a Muslim herself but she had such an influence that even after divorcing her first husband, she chose to marry another Muslim student from Indonesia who had also come to US for higher studies. Lolo Soetoro is described by some as a practising Muslim but not so by others. He brought his family to Indonesia where Barack Obama went through primary schooling.

Ann also divorced her second husband and returned to US with Obama. Obama was then raised by her grandmother as a Christian and as he grew up he got involved in church based organisations. He has insisted throughout his election campaign that he was a true Christian and he had never practised Islam. However, it is interesting to note that Barack Obama opted to maintain his middle name “Hussein” throughout his life although this name has great significance to Islam and Muslims. Although he has increasingly tried to distance himself from Islam during his election campaign, his decision to maintain his middle name as Hussein may be seen by many otherwise.

Thus a person with such a background is very different to an ordinary African American. His roots to a religion, which is seen in US and west as an enemy, makes his election really incredible.  The American public needs to be applauded for raising themselves above colour and creed and voting him to power in the most exciting election of many decades.

Barack Obama’s rise to the most powerful office in the world puts him among the most miraculous personalities born on earth. Not only in childhood he confronted disturbances of broken marriages among his parents but he was also sandwiched between different religions, cultures and nationalities. As he grew up, he was raised by his grandmother, as his mother returned to Indonesia to work as an anthropologist. She only returned to US to die of ovarian cancer in 1995. Obama lived an ordinary life but excelled in studies. He undertook few university degrees eventually doing a law degree from Harvard Law School.

He entered politics in 1996 when he was elected to Illinois senate. In 2004 he was elected for US senate and within four years he successfully contested for the highest position in US. This phenomenal rise in politics has no comparisons in the history, in particular given his very controversial background. In past all great kings belonged to great dynasties and in the recent past, only people from rich or well known families could secure top political positions at such a young age. Some may argue that it was more a vote against the failures of Bush administration rather than a win for democrats.

However, within the Democratic Party, Obama had to first overcome the former First Lady and extraordinary powerful Hillary Clinton. Hillary did not only belong to extremely powerful and popular Clinton family but was also a white and a lady. Defeating her for the candidacy was in itself an unbelievable episode.

While I consider Obama’s rise to the greatest office in the world as one of the most extraordinary events in history, I am not yet calling him great. His real test will now begin. An extraordinary orator, as he is, may not be as competent as he sounds. The President of America has not only internal but huge external challenges. Whether he will succeed at the home front as well as at international diplomacy, remains to be seen. These are some of the most challenging times with looming financial crisis, US involvement in two wars and some very tense regions around the world.

I also have grave fears for his safety. His background may not be acceptable to the extreme right. If he displeases neo-cons, he may be eliminated before he may even begin to bring about the change he promised.