By Tariq A. Al-Maeena – Jedda
At the entrance of a bank, I bumped into Adam, an acquaintance from some times back. Adam was beaming, his brilliantly white teeth plastered across his dark face. When I inquired about the cause of that infectious smile, he replied, "Tariq, there’s gonna be a Hausawi in the White House! Can you just believe that?"
“You mean Barack Obama, Adam?” I countered.
“Yes, Tariq,” he gushed, his smile wider than ever.
“But Obama’s roots are Kenyan. And as far as I know, the Hausawis are a tribe from Nigeria. Although both are from African countries, they are certainly not one and the same thing.”
“You don’t understand, Tariq. The tribe of Hausawis has been all over Africa. They have blood and family links across the continent. Each country there boasts links to the Hausawi blood. Look, I am a Saudi, but also a Hausawi. We are everywhere, don’t you see?”
“But that still doesn’t qualify you to be Obama’s cousin now Adam, does it?” “Granted, Nigeria boasts over 370 tribes and I suppose some have moved across territorial boundaries, but linking yourself to Obama would stretch it a bit, don’t you agree? Africa has over sixty countries and you are telling me the Hausawis are in each one of them? And since you are a Saudi now, why not declare that there is a Saudi in the White House? Doesn’t it sound a bit absurd?”
Disappointed that I was not buying into his theory, Adam countered by saying that Obama was black and African like him and that was enough reason for his joy. “OK, I grant you that, Adam. But please don’t go around proclaiming Obama to be your long lost cousin, one, twice or third removed, otherwise people will wonder about the state of your mental stability.”
“And you know what, Adam? I have just read a report in the Times of London that there are about 8,000 Bedouin tribesmen in northern Israel who claim to be the lost tribe of Barack Obama. Their sheikh in the small village of Bir al-Maksour in the Israeli region of Galilee, Abdul Rahman Sheikh Abdullah, a 53-year-old local council member says he has evidence that he and his family are linked by blood to the new U.S. president.”
“And unlike you Adam, the Sheikh has written to the President-elect explaining the family connection and is hoping to present the evidence in the form of pictures and papers in person once Obama gets to the White House.”
“Maybe I should write to him too, Tariq. What do you think?”
“Maybe you should, Adam, but don’t hold your breath waiting for a reply. And good luck. I have got to go now.”
While driving away, I mused over the just concluded conversation with Adam. Although I felt he was so far off base with his claims, I had to accept that Obama’s election to the Presidency of the United States brings more to the aspirations of citizens across the world than any other. Masses have readily identified themselves with him for whatever reasons.
Whether it is his race, ethnicity or whatever, Barack Obama had handily trounced the white-dominated establishment in world-wide polls conducted prior to the election. People everywhere identified with this slim Kenyan-born Presidential hopeful. This universal Obama fever could be linked to his message of change, one that may have given hope to people everywhere on this planet.
Granted, Barack Obama is an American, first and foremost, and his first call of duty would be to address and resolve the economic mess the country finds itself today. His activities will be intensively scrutinized as he is black. But he is also a man of vibrant colors to those living outside his country’s borders.
It bodes well for the image of the US so badly tarnished in the last eight years. But Obama’s victory also carries a great responsibility. And that is to instill the true sense of democracy in his administration’s dealings with the outside world, void of the demands of special interest groups that had literally isolated his country among the nations of the world.
Mr. Bush’s message of the war on terror must quickly translate to a message of peace. Now is a time for diplomacy and not mayhem. American tentacles of aggression beyond its borders should be reined in. Otherwise Adam and millions of others, Americans or otherwise would quickly lose their cheer.
-Tariq A. Al-Maeena is a Saudi socio/political commentator. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.