Barack Hussein Obama has been elected as the 44th president of the United States of America. As soon as CNN announced his victory, the news caught the world like a storm and our Kashmir was no exception. People around the world began to find reasons to associate themselves with the first black president of a country, where not long ago in history Black people had no rights and even today racism is a living reality. Kenya declared a national holiday, Indonesia said he played in the streets of Jakarta; Indians began to say they can now have a Dalit PM and he loves India! And how could Kashmir escape the Obama effect, especially after his recent comments on Kashmir.
I saw a group of elderly people in my neighborhood, many of them educated, discussing about Obama and what I heard was like "he will be kind to Muslims as his father was a Muslim…..he will force India to resolve Kashmir….he will withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan….he will not attack Iran". Of course these hopes are out of sync with the reality, so let's clear some air.
Will Obama be kind to Muslims? Does he really have a Muslim connection? Barack Hussein Obama Sr. was a black Kenyan student selected for a scholarship in a Hawaii university where he met a white American girl Ann Dunham (only child of her parents whose father was an American army officer). After one year of their meeting, 18 year old Ann expressed desire to marry Barack sr. to her parents who strongly opposed it but had to eventually agree as Ann was pregnant by Barack sr. This marriage resulted in the birth of Barrack Obama Jr and Ann had to leave studies to care for the baby. Barrack Sr completed his degree and went back to Kenya. Within 2 years of Obama's birth, her mother divorced from her father. Later she went to study in Indonesia, married an Indonesian, gave birth to Barracks' sister Maya, and divorced again. Coming back to Barracks' father, his siblings in Kenya testify that he turned an atheist when he was a teenager. Barack himself writes in his book "The Audacity of Hope" that although his father was born and raised in a Muslim family but he was a "confirmed atheist". He further writes that his mother gave him and his sister Maya Bible, Hindu Upanishads and Buddhist books to read as she believed in all religions. His maternal grandparents were of the opinion that religion is not really an important matter in life. Barack himself testifies that he was an atheist himself but turned Christian when he became a community organizer for a black church. So there's no reason for barrack to feel a Muslim connection except for his middle name. It may also be remarkable to note that he called out for the bombing of Mecca and Medina in the past for promoting Talibanisation and Islamic fundamentalism. Also recently during his campaign, a group of Muslim students wearing Hijab were turned away by his staff when they wished to be photographed with him, fearing it might hurt his image. Also during his campaign even black Americans began to ask: is he black enough? So Barack Obama, once he assumes office, will have to prove many things…Is he American enough? Is he non-Muslim enough? Does he love Israel enough? Does he hate Iran enough?
Will he do anything for Kashmir?
What Barack has said recently isn't something of his own. It's the traditional stand of Democrats on Kashmir and the people of Kashmir must not forget that despite asking India to resolve Kashmir and respect Human rights, he has also taken a strong stand on Pakistan and let's remember we are living in a time when Pakistan calls Kashmiri militants as terrorists. Barack plans to appoint former president Bill Clinton as his special envoy to Kashmir. It will be a major step and has already started ringing the bells for India, but it's still unclear whether Bill will agree as the two are known to have many differences.
Will he withdraw troops from Iraq?
Mr. Obama has captured a major share of his vote bank by saying that he is concerned about the life of sons and daughters of America fighting in the deserts of Iraq and mountains of Afghanistan, and the plight of their parents back home. But the situation in Iraq is such that when he does become the president he will have to hold on and even willingly can't change much of American foreign policy. He wants to shift the war on terror from Iraq into Afghanistan, and then finally in NWFP of Pakistan where he believes the culprits are, and he has made it clear that Islamic fundamentalist Pakistan will never be tolerated. So what we can expect is cut-down in US troops in Iraq and maybe a withdrawal by 2012 but Iraqi government is yet to agree on the troop withdrawal legislation which contains many contentious things like permanent establishment of some strategic US bases in Iraq. Mr. Obama will find himself in a very difficult spot. So don't expect any miracles.
Will Obama attack Iran?
Throughout his presidential debates he has been asked tough questions on Iran like "If you don't take military action against Iran, how will Israel remain safe?" and the argument he always made is that if you threaten them more, they might really end up having a nuclear bomb and America can't afford another war. But once he assumes office, he will have to satisfy the republicans that he loves Israel enough! So we really can't say that he will not take military action against Iran.
I hope the people of my land understand that he really isn't what we would have loved him to be.