This was the first direct message from Osama bin Laden's spiritual mentor and mouthpiece since Obama put all terrorists, and those who mean to harm U.S. interests on notice, during his presidential acceptance speech on November 4th.
Zawahiri boldly criticized Obama for turning his back on his Islamic roots and for siding with the 'enemies' of Muslims and supporting Israel, according to the Telegraph.co.uk web news link. The Telegraph went on to report the Zawahiri message to Obama as follows:
"The [Zawahiri] tape features audio extracts from Malcolm X's speech in Selma, Alabama, in 1965, in which he unfavourably compared the "house negro"-- a docile slave ingratiating himself with his master--with the embittered "field negro" who laboured outdoors. Still images on the video that accompanied the audio message showed a picture of Malcolm X, an advocate of black power who was also a Muslim convert.Quick to defend Obama and the United States' honor, government spokesperson, Sean McCormack, of the state department condemned the "despicable" comments by saying:
Zawahiri's message, entitled "The departure of Bush and arrival of Obama," warned Mr Obama of a "heavy legacy of failure" awaiting him in office. It also juxtaposed a portrait of Zawahiri wearing a white turban next to Mr. Obama praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem during a pre-election visit to Israel.
He scolded Mr Obama for "choosing to be an enemy of Islam and Muslims," saying that the Muslim "nation had bitterly received" the President-elect's pledge of support to Israel.
"It is true about you and people like you ... what Malcolm X said about the house negros," he said, naming Colin Powell, the former US secretary of state, and, Condoleezza Rice, the incumbent." Isambard Wilkinson, Nov. 20, 2008
Obama has chosen 'not' to respond to this blatant taunt at this time. And... while his composed restraint is admirable, as a Black man who lived on Chicago's Southside for the past 20-years, Obama knows he can't let this verbal challenge to him--and all African-American people who support America and the war against terror--go unanswered too much longer. Just like he came out after Pastor Jeremiah Wright crossed the line and dissed him at the National Press Club earlier this year... Obama needs to recognize that Zawahiri's recent statements warrant the same level of indignation."If anybody needed more of a contrast between what the West and the United States stand for, in terms of democracy and what these terrorists stand for, I don't think you need to go any further than those comments."
Now, as a world leader, it would not be expedient for Obama to flip-the-bird to Zawahiri and al-Qaeda, as he did Clinton and McCain when they insulted him on the campaign trail. But he is going to have to say something in response to this verbal affront... lest he, and America likewise... becomes the global 'whipping boys' for the next few years.