Obama Photo Op with Helen Thomas

By Sam Husseini 

So Obama came with cupcakes to wish Helen Thomas a happy birthday. Now, if only he’d take her questions.

Obama claimed they have a "common birthday wish" — for a "real healthcare reform bill" — but Thomas is not in favor of Obama’s plan, she’s for single payer.

Last week I bumped into Helen Thomas at her stopping ground, Mama Ayesha’s restaurant in Washington, D.C. and she stressed the single payer failure on the part of Obama.

I asked her if I was right, that Obama hadn’t called on her since his first news conference. Yes, she confirmed. He’s had five news conferences since and not a single question from her.

At his first news conference, she asked about Obama’s buildup in Afghanistan and Pakistan and about Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal. Obama declined to "speculate" about the existence of such an arsenal.

People should be asking Obama: Why are you refusing to take Thomas’ questions? Why are you refusing to acknowledge the existence of Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal?

Outside Mama Ayesha’s is a new mural which features Mama Ayesha, the founder of the restaurant, flanked by every president from Eisenhower to Obama. Everyone is smiling and getting along cheerfully. I told Thomas the "mural was ridiculous and the mural should feature you and Mama Ayesha not any of these jokers."

Later I chatted with the owners of the restaurant, the Mama Ayesha’s nephew and his son. They basically said that the DC Arts Commission funded and called the shots on the mural. This is the collapse of art — where government entities in an alleged democracy decide what art gets funded for the greater glory of our esteemed leaders.

Art — especially murals — should not be honoring politicians whose legacies are war, inequality, scandal and corruption. If anyone, it should be honoring folk heroes like Thomas.

Appropriately, Mama Ayesha is depicted behind bars, though most of the men around her should have been. None of the victims of their wars and bombings are depicted below their feet.

– Sam Husseini is the founder of VotePact.org. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

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