By Hajja Romi Elnagar
Obama came to Cairo a few days ago. He didn't much look like he was coming with his hat in his hand, even though America's taken a pounding over its brutish ways in Iraq and it probably wouldn't have surprised anybody if he had.
Really, it's no secret that America is heartily disliked in that part of the world--one reason he picks where he's going to show up there pretty carefully, I'm sure. (It helps that Egypt gets more foreign aid than anybody else in the region, except, of course, for one itty-bitty place with a really bad rep in the hood.)
Anyway, he tried to sound upbeat as he talked about how wonderful Islam has been all these centuries.
And well he might.
After all, there are hundreds of millions of Muslims in the world. And oddly enough, most of them just don't fancy hearing that their fellow Muslims are getting tortured and raped and killed by some Western country, no matter how hot its promises of freedom and democracy are.
Hoping nobody would notice, he tried to sound a cheery note. The new sound of American "soft power."
But--somebody's going to have to tell him: it rang false. Even when spoken by a man with a Muslim name. After all, he didn't actually recite the Shehada, so why was anybody supposed to think he actually believed--like Muslims--in the Last Day, a day when all of EVERYBODY'S chickens are going to come home to roost?
And, there were some things other he left out.
He didn't say he would shut down Guantanamo, where America does bad things to other Muslims. You'd think Egyptians might want to hear that he was going to do something nice to all those folks we've roughed up a bit. Like, send 'em home to their families who haven't seen 'em in years.
And so, naturally then, he didn't get around to saying that he would shut down any of the other "black sites" around the world either.
He didn't say that he thought Bush and Cheney ought to be locked up for war crimes, (not to mention for stealing the elections of 2000 and 2004 and grabbing power in the first place).
He didn't say he would start another investigation--an HONEST investigation, this time--into the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. He didn't say he would support fairness in the Sibel Edmonds affair--who's she?--or a fair trial for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui--who's THAT?--or an investigation into the "outing" of CIA agent Valerie Plame (well, he can't probably deny knowing about HER, though).
Obama didn't say what he's going to do to end the war on Iraq and Afghanistan NOW. He used nice, fine words about Muslim contributions to world civilization, but said nothing about the destruction by America of the cradle of civilization in Mesopotamia.
To be fair, it's true he didn't wave a red flag in front of the bull and mention Mubarak to his Egyptian audience, but he also didn't mention Denshawai, which Egyptians still remember even though it was an atrocity committed by the British and happened way back in 1906 (too long ago for most Americans to think about, especially if it happened to somebody else).
And, of course...
he DIDN'T say that Israel has been committing war crimes in Palestine since even before 1948. He sure didn't think to mention that this might be the reason for any attacks against formerly Palestinian villages now occupied (illegally in a lot of cases) by Israel. So, he didn't mention Deir Yassin, Kfar Qassem, or any of the other more than 400 villages that were ethnically cleansed by Israel in 1948. (Among those villages was one called Najd, ethnically cleansed by the Negev Brigade on May 13, 1948. Now it's known by its Israeli name of Sderot, but nobody in Israel--and certainly not Obama--has ever asked anybody in Gaza or Cairo how they liked the sound of THAT name.)
He neglected to mention that his vice president openly calls himself a "Zionist." After all, the daddy of his very own Chief of Staff was one, too. And furthermore, was part of a terrorist group--one that killed a lot of Brits and Arabs at a funny little place called the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. That happened in 1946, which was too long ago for most Americans, but not for people with long memories like Middle Easterners.
Anyway, if it's Americans or Israelis that kill innocent people, THEY can't be "terrorists," can they?
He didn't say that as part of America's oh-so-solid commitment to democracy in the Middle East, it would support the election of Hamas in Gaza. They had a free, fair and internationally observed election that brought that bunch to power, but he would never, NEVER say THAT.
He didn't say that Israel had committed war crimes--in Gaza, in Lebanon or in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. He sure didn't say that he would demand a war crimes investigation of the Israeli officials at the highest levels of government when those attacks were planned and carried out,
That would include things like cutting off all supplies of food, water, and electricity to the civilian population, for months before Israel attacked, too. I guess he figured nobody's notice if he left details like that out.
Of course, he WOULDN'T say that he wanted to build some decent housing in Gaza for all whose people whose homes were destroyed in the winter of 2009. (C'mon! Rebuilding after a war is something we do for EUROPEANS, folks, not uppity Third World types!) Right now, they're living in tents, and that's what it looks like it will be for them from now on. At least, though, no Israeli is likely to say to his face that something like that is good enough for "sand n*ggers."
He didn't say Israel has used internationally outlawed weapons. We've given Israel a lot of that stuff, and even flew uranium weapons to Israel during its attack in Lebanon two years ago, so you'd think he'd know about that. And this time, after terrorizing Palestinian kids for months with sonic booms, Israelis used a lot of stuff they won't talk about--not even to the Zionist who owns MSNBC, but probably included depleted uranium, tungsten bombs, white phosphorus and maybe a few other fancy poisons.
After all, he didn't even mention about the cluster bombs that still litter the ground in Southern Lebanon...
In fact, he didn't really address the issue of illegal occupation of Palestinian lands at all. He threw a bone to folks in the Arab World by condemning illegal settlements, but didn't spell out for his audience what America would do if Israel just says, "No" to him.
America gives Israel SIX BILLION DOLLARS in aid annually--the biggest present to any nation on Earth. You'd think he'd say he'd hang on to some of that money until Israel does what the US says we want. But, I guess being in the White House softens your brain. Who does he think he is, anyway? Somebody important? THEY put HIM in office, not the other way around.
In fact, while surprises do happen, Israel's probably just going to say "No" to him this time around, too, but that was something he didn't talk about, either. I'm sure it something he doesn't even want to THINK about.
Anyway, with all this stuff Obama DIDN'T say, how come so many people in America are so thrilled with all the fancy words he DID say?
That, folks, is something I just can't say.