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Why Obama? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The whole world is closely following the course of the American presidential elections and the fierce propaganda campaigns of rival candidates that deplete no less than 80% of any candidate’s budget.

The candidate for the Democratic nomination for the US presidential elections, Barack Obama has surpassed the borders as western and European liberal circles are behind him and even Islamic and Arab parties demonstrate support despite his persistent attempts to deny any connections to Islam.

Undoubtedly, the strong appeal that Barack Obama enjoys is based on the fact that he is young and that he has charisma founded on his Afro-American roots. His election discourse is based not so much on his experience but rather on the dream and promise to overcome the race issue in America, to seek real recovery for American society and to improve the image of America throughout the world.

Obama was confronted by fierce campaigns, particularly from his rival Hillary Clinton who was severely troubled by her rival’s progress and this led to her using the weapons of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism until these formed the core of her propaganda campaign against Obama.

It seems that these are still two difficult weapons for candidates to confront and this was evident in Obama’s reaction. Obama, who brings hope to more than the Americans alone, missed out on the opportunity to respond properly to the publishing of a picture of him wearing a turban that was brought to light by Hillary’s campaign. Obama quickly sought to distance himself from the consequences of this picture and he did not use it as a kind of counter-propaganda to alleviate the intensity of Islamophobia that is widespread in America and the world over.

Hillary Clinton has denied leaking this picture, while her campaign manager stated: “Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely.”

What is referred to as the turban “scandal” is only part of what is known as Islamophobia that has even included focusing on Obama’s middle name, “Hussein”. The campaign of insinuations that claims that Obama studied in a fundamentalist Madrassa in Indonesia and that he was sworn into the Senate on the Quran demonstrates that the media and the propagandist discourse has struck below the belt and this prompted some commentators to sarcastically say, “It may reach the point when Hillary’s advisers and republican candidate John McCain might accuse Obama, when elected, of attaching loud speakers to the White House for the [Islamic] call to prayer.” Obama continues to aggressively respond to any doubts cast upon his Christian faith, his commitment to Israel’s security and the relationship with the Jews.

There is no doubt that Obama is distinct from other American candidates because he is the only one to have lived in Indonesia and has African roots. Therefore, although Obama may be more than just a victim of this racist campaign that targets him, he should use it as a starting point for real change, which is the most appealing factor of his election campaign.

Diana Moukalled

Diana Moukalled

Diana Moukalled is a prominent and well-respected TV journalist in the Arab world thanks to her phenomenal show Bil Ayn Al-Mojarada (By The Naked Eye), a series of documentaries on controversial areas and topics which airs on Lebanon's leading local and satelite channel, Future Television. Diana also is a veteran war correspondent, having covered both the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan, as well as the Israeli "Grapes of Wrath" massacre in southern Lebanon. Ms. Moukalled has gained worldwide recognition and was named one of the most influential women in a special feature that ran in Time Magazine in 2004.

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