He walked onto the stage in Cairo, alone, without hosts and without aides, and delivered a sermon to an audience of billions. Egyptians and Americans, Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Arabs, Sunnis and Shiites, Copts and Maronites – and they all listened attentively.
He unfolded before them the map of a new world, a different world, whose values and laws he spelled out in simple and clear language - a mixture of idealism and practical politics, vision and pragmatism.
Barack Hussein Obama – as he took pains to call himself – is the most powerful man on earth. Every word he utters is a political fact.
“A HISTORIC SPEECH”, pronounced commentators in a hundred languages. I prefer another adjective:
The speech was right.
Every word was in its place, every sentence precise, every tone in harmony. The masterpiece of a man bringing a new message to the world.
From the very first word, every listener in the hall and in the world felt the honesty of the man, that his heart and his tongue were in harmony, that this is not a politician of the old familiar sort – hypocritical, sanctimonious, calculating. His body language was speaking, and so were his facial expressions
That’s why the speech was so important. The new moral integrity and the sense of honesty increased the impact of the revolutionary content.
AND A REVOLUTIONARY speech it certainly was.
In 55 minutes, it not only wiped away the eight years of George W. Bush, but also much of the preceding decades, from World War II on.
The American ship has turned – not with the sluggishness everyone would have expected, but with the agility of a speedboat.
That is much more than a political change. It touches the roots of the American national consciousness. The President spoke to hundreds of million US citizens no less than to a billion Muslims.
The American culture is based on the myth of the Wild West, with its Good Guys and Bad Guys, violent justice, dueling under the midday sun. Since the American nation is composed of immigrants from all over the world, its unity seems to require a threatening, world-encompassing evil enemy, like the Nazis and the Japs, or the Commies. After the collapse of the Soviet empire, this role was taken over by Islam.
Cruel, fanatical, bloodthirsty Islam; Islam as the religion of murder and destruction; an Islam lusting for the blood of women and children. This enemy captured the imagination of the masses and supplied material for television and cinema. It provided lecture topics for learned professors and fresh inspiration for popular writers. The White House was occupied by a moron who declared a world-wide “War on Terrorism”.
When Obama is now uprooting this myth, he is revolutionizing American culture. He wipes away the picture of one enemy, without painting another in its place. He preaches against the violent, adversary attitude itself, and starts to work to replace it with a culture of partnership between nations, civilizations and religions.