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Everybody Wants Obama! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Suddenly Barack Obama, the candidate for the democratic presidential nomination for the US 2008 elections, has become everybody’s favourite topic of discussion and an example of a political success story.

In the Arab world, there is the famous following saying: “Everybody claims to be Laila’s love,” [Al kul yad’i hob Laila] and today everybody claims some kind of association with Barack Obama. Amongst all the chatter, several stories are being circulated about Obama. For example, some people claim that Obama’s forefathers immigrated from Quraish to Ethiopia and from there they settled and spread across the countries of the Horn of Africa until they arrived in Kenya!

In these discussions, people mention that Obama’s full name is Barack Hussein Obama, emphasising his middle name (which was his Indonesian stepfather’s name). During these conversations, people say that the name “Barack” is derived from “Baraka” [an Arabic word meaning blessing] and that blessings are undoubtedly on their way to shower us and our loved ones.

The people of Africa are in search of a legendary hero from amongst them to rule the world’s superpower, and in Africa Obama’s popularity has soared to a similar level of popularity enjoyed by pop stars and footballers.

Amongst the Afro-Americans however, there are mixed feelings; some of them believe in Obama and believe that he is “one of them” whilst others consider him different since his mother is white. In terms of coffee, they compare him to a “Cappuccino” or a “Latte” but not an “Espresso” in reference to his mixed heritage. The disease of ethnic purity has even reached them!

Barack Obama is a rising star and he, the son of a Kenyan migrant, entered Harvard University and graduated from the prestigious Harvard Law School. The rise of Obama continued in the political field until he became the only Afro-American currently serving in the US Senate.

Until Barack Hussein Obama reaches the presidential office and leads the United States, the fictitious stories about him will continue. Even the Chinese, the Indians and the Eskimos will demand their share in Obama’s upcoming glory.

Barack Obama is a phenomenon and represents the political craze that is occupying the entire world. Let us sit back and enjoy the race.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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