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Obama’s Speech in Cairo

Obama is different as a person to G.W. Bush. Obama looks more human, but politics and economic interests have nothing to do with humanity. We live in one world ruled by the capitalist patriarchal religious system. Power dominates our whole world, not justice or freedom or peace or ethics or human values. Politics under such a system is a game based on how to use beautiful words to cover ugly actions, how to use the power of God to dominate your listeners, how to select verses from holy books to hide double standards and contradictions, how to kill people and rob their land and resources and then apologize to them with tears in your eyes. We call them in our Egyptian–Arabic language ‘crocodile tears’. In Cairo, on Thursday, 4 June 2009, Barack Obama spoke to 2,500 Egyptian men and women invited by the Egyptian and US governments. They were allowed to enter the big hall at Cairo University surrounded by 13,000 Egyptian and American policemen. We are 80 million in Egypt, so those 2,500 men and women who applauded passionately thirty times during Obama’s fifty-minute speech are not the whole of Egypt. They are only the chosen people. They applauded strongly when he said that Muslim women should wear the veil if they choose to wear it. As if veiling (or nakedness) is something to be chosen! As if oppression is something to be chosen by the oppressed! It’s like saying girls or boys should be

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circumcised if they choose to be circumcised (because they do not want to be different from others), or like saying the poor people should be poor if they choose to be poor (because of their laziness or ignorance). I read that during the Gaza massacre the Palestinians choose to be killed (or they kill their children) so that they may appear as victims and gain sympathy from the world. I was looking at the television screen, observing how Obama talks with his hands, eyes and lips. His lips and hands look less cruel than G.W.’s. His colour is more attractive, not black, not white, not yellow, a mixture of human blood and multiple races developed into a more sophisticated human being. Obama is a creative actor on stage, having learned his text by heart to sound as if there is no text at all. He is well-trained in being spontaneous. Egyptians, Americans and the people of other countries, especially those chosen by governments, are not creative enough to understand this type of creativity: how some political leaders acquire what is called charisma. The Germans passionately applauded Hitler; the Russians loved Stalin; the Americans elected G.W. more than once; and Sadat in Egypt won all elections with no less than 95 per cent of votes. The most dangerous political leaders are the most charismatic; they make you sing: ‘Killing Me Softly’. You sacrifice your blood for them. One of the chosen Egyptian men screamed in the hall while Obama was giving his speech: ‘I love you ! ’ Obama replied: ‘Thank you.’ Obama praised the king of Saudi Arabia in his speech, portraying him as a hero of the dialogue between religions! This theocratic kingdom breeding extremism is democratic? A dictator ally of the USA can be transformed into a democratic hero. Saddam Hussein and bin Laden were freedom fighters at one time. Obama praised Netanyahu by saying that he is intelligent. Indeed, did not describe any Arab ruler as intelligent, including Mubarak sitting next to him. He did not mention the name of Mubarak in his whole speech. Did he want to distance himself as a person from himself as the American president? Did he want to expose or hide his double personality? But he is sophisticated and understands what is called in psychology

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‘the philosophy of the present moment, how to leave yourself to the moment but not leave the moment to itself’. Obama’s body language looks natural; he bounds up the plane steps with his hands near his chest, jumping with his body, like a happy schoolboy going to meet his girlfriend. This is not the American president but Barack Hussein Obama. I saw his speech on television and read it twice more to grasp or detect some improvement in US policy. Using beautiful words selected from the three holy books, he sounded like the Pope giving his speech in Jordan some months ago, praising the three religions. He artfully used his middle name, Hussein, to speak to Muslims, but he knows also when to hide it as a deformed organ. Muslims listening to Obama applauded passionately when he read verses from the Qur’an. They did not notice the mistake in his understanding of Surat Al-Isra. It does not say that the three prophets Moses, Christ, and Muhammad prayed together Lilat AlIsra. Egyptian Copts applauded when he spoke about minority rights in Egypt. Israel applauded when he confirmed that the USA and Israel are tied eternally by culture (not mutual interests) and when his voice cracked with emotion when he spoke about the Holocaust, 6 million Jews burned in Germany, their eternal sufferings, and their right to have a homeland. Obama did not say that this homeland should have been in Germany, the country that burned them, or in Europe or in the USA, or in some other place where there is no people to be killed and robbed of their homes and land by military force. He did not ask Israel to stop its military violence against Palestinian children. He only asked the Palestinians to stop their violence against Israeli children. He did not mention the number of Palestinians killed and tortured by Israel in the last sixty years. He did not ask Israel to respect previous UN resolutions; he rather asked Israel to stop building new settlements. What about the old settlements that expelled thousands of Palestinians from their homes? What about settlements to be built under so-called ‘natural growth’? He asked Palestinians to forget the past and look forward. Likewise, some days ago in his

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country he asked people to forget the crimes of torture, to forget the past and look forward. But what is the function of the law if it is not to be used to investigate and punish criminals who killed or tortured? Obama shifted smoothly from ethics to politics and interests as if there was no contradiction. He said the USA has no interest in Iraq’s resources. He ignored or forgot the Iraq Oil Law forced on the Iraqi government (which commits the country’s oil to the monopoly of American companies for thirty years). He mentioned the danger of Iran owning nuclear power; he did not mention the danger of the nuclear military power of Israel. The real goal of Obama’s speech was to mobilize the Muslim countries against Islamic extremists, to open the markets of Islamic countries to American goods under the so-called development and partnership, to guarantee Saudi and Gulf oil and other American interests in the so-called Middle East. Egyptian people suffered because of Obama’s visit to Cairo. Thousands of students did not attend their schools or universities and delayed their exams. They were closed by the government for security reasons during Obama’s visit. Michelle Obama did not accompany her husband to Egypt and stayed in the USA to be with their two daughters during school exams. Many streets in Cairo were closed by the police and many people could not go to work, losing an estimated $20 million. The Egyptian government spent $500 million on the security of Obama, deployed 10,000 policemen and hundreds of police cars. Egyptian people were ordered to stay at home and not to open their windows in all areas visited by Obama, including the Pyramid region, Giza, Ain Shams, Helwan, Cairo University, certain ministries, Al Kalaa, Sultan Mosque, Kasr Al Kobbaa, and all streets leading to these areas and more. Normal life in Cairo stopped. Streets were empty; people were prisoners in their homes. Nobody was allowed near Cairo University while Obama was delivering his speech, except for thirteen American men and women who were allowed to make a show of demonstration at the university gate, shouting slogans asking Obama to visit Gaza. Those thirteen Americans were allowed by the police to demonstrate. They, then, are the opposition, the dissidents, in

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democratic Egypt, while the real Egyptian dissidents are either in prison or outside Egypt. But politics is a game to be played by all parties. Only thirty minutes after Obama’s plane took off, the poor Egyptian workers were in the streets were removing the artificial flowers and trees planted everywhere to welcome the demi-god of the world. 5 June 2009

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