Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Brother Barack Hussain talks to Al Arabiya

When my son started First Grade, come the start of African-American History Month, he coolly informed his first (predominantly East and South Asian) classmates that his otherwise very Pakistani-looking, and -sounding, "dad is an African-American". I do not remember ever having used that phrase within earshot of him. But he knows that I was born in same region of Africa that is the origin of most of the people who came to this country as slaves. One way to put it, therefore, is that I came to this country as an African-born grad student much like Barack Obama Sr. 

So don't get me wrong; I love my brother Barack Hussain. I have been following his presidential ambitions almost from the first buzz around a possible run--and have discussed it in my blogging and even Urdu podcasting. I am joyous at seeing him in the White House. To repeat the cliche, it tells me that my now 8-year old son and, even more possibly, my 4-year old daughter can really follow in his footsteps.

And I am actually one person who did NOT hold his staying mum about the events in Gaza over the last month or so against him. Speaking out would only have used up political capital that he didn't need to spend for no substantial gain. Whichever way he chose to lean, it would have have cost him; either in terms of political support at home, or in goodwill that he still has on "the Muslim street".

But when my brother Barack Hussain says:
"My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy."
And then his first real communique in terms of practically reaching out and touching, so to speak, people in the Muslim world is an unmanned drone dropping bombs in violation of the sovereignty of the 2nd largest Muslim country in the Muslim world--a country that has been one of the longest-term and most faithful allies of the US--then I feel it is my duty, as a person who wants him to succeed, to ask him to think about what message the people who actually live at the business end of that communique will be receiving.

In case you missed the full interview (say you've been vacationing on Mars and just returned), here is his first formal foray into the Muslim media 



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