Can Obama Check Culture Clash?

‘A new dawn of leadership is rising – those who want to destroy the world, I challenge them that we will defeat them – those who want security, we shall help them – the weapons of America do not make it great. But its ideals, democracy and hopes based on it, does.’

These were the words from the speeches of Obama, new president-elect of the United States of America, expressed during his election campaign. These words of Obama compelled some American voters to think about the insult that America had to bear during the presidency of George Bush over the last 8 years. Today America is seen with hatred and fear in many countries.

The American economy is in a severe recession. Forty Seven year old Obama, following the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi, the leader who brought independence to India and Martin Luther, who was against racial discrimination, has been elected the first Afro-American president of America. This election campaign for the 44th president is the most expensive and strange election in American history.

OBAMA relaxing
OBAMA relaxing

Undoubtedly, election day 2008 was so important that the world will not forget. Obama’s election has proved that racial discrimination and slavery are issues of the past as this was which the Afro-Americans have hoped for the past centuries. Entry of Barack Obama in the white house is undoubtedly a happening that was being awaited by the non-whites for a long time. The victory of Obama is being seen with many different views. It is also being called the real victory of democracy. It is also being said the defeat of the Republican Party and victory of the Democrats. Some analyst are taking the promise of change by Obama that has been done during his election as propaganda. But actually the main reason behind the victory is the American military interference during the Bush regime and the great recession in the American economy.

Although the propagandists of the Republican Party tried their best to tell the people that America is not safe in the hands of Barack Obama. The reason they said is that his origin is as a non-white from Kenya and his father was a Muslim. It is true that the father of Obama, was a non-white Muslim of Kenya. Obama was born in Honolulu (Hawaii). He was hardly two years old, when there was a divorce between his parents. After that his mother got married to another Muslim Lolo Swetro, an Indonesian. It is told that Obama got his early education in an Islamic madarsa and in catholic School too. Despite this family background, there was no narrow influence of colour, caste and racial discrimination on Obama. His mother was a white his father was a non-white, so he was in favour of abolishing all such type of discriminations like his parents. He was always in favour of universal brotherhood, harmony and world-peace.

During the eight years regime of George Bush, seeing the tension between America and the Islamic countries, there arose a doubt if it was not a beginning of a struggle between the two cultures. Especially when there began an attack on the Islamic traditions through the cartoons and articles by the western countries.

At that time the saying of the struggle of the cultures got more strength. But during it, the most powerful country of the world proved it by electing Barack Hussein Obama as its president, that it was a mere creation of mind of the analyst and nothing else. One thing is more to be mentioned here. It is the first incident of its kind in the American history that a non white Afro-American of the Kenya origin has been elected as the president of America. But many people of Indian origin have reached the highest offices in many small countries of the world by dint of their liberal attitude, honesty, faithfulness and struggle.

In Mauritius, people of Indian origin had been officiating as the Prime minister for a long time. Mahender Choudhry a Haryana origin in India became the first president of Fizzy in 1987 and after that he became prime minister there. People of Indian origin have been elected as prime minister and president in Caribbean nations of Trinidad and Tobago. A former Prime Minister of Nepal, Manmohan Adhikari was of Indian origin. The present Nepal president Dr. Ram Baran Yadav is also of Indian origin. Shridatt Ramphal who had been the secretary of common wealth was of Indian origin. Interestingly, the people of Guiana had proposed Ramphal, from the Guiana for this important post. A woman of Indian origin has been elected as speaker of the parliament in South Africa. Many ministers are of Indian origin there, even today. The former prime minister of Guiana, Cheddi Jagan was of Indian origin. After his death, the people of Guiana made his wife Zenith the prime minister. Janeth was originally a white lady.

Similarly Carlos Benom, who had been the president of Argentina, was of Syrian origin. Alberto Fijiyoro, who was once president of Peru, was of Japanese origin. If we talk of a president of Muslim origin in a country of Christian majority, then too, America lags behind of India. In India, the Muslim president had been there decades ago. In India, there had been Sikh president. At present, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is from a minority Sikh community. More than all, the Indian Parliament was going to make Sonia Gandhi of Italian origin as Prime minister of India after electing her as its leader but Sonia Gandhi herself did not accept it. So, this wave of change has started from America is not acceptable to me. But the founder of such change may be called India. But this change in America about global discrimination in caste, colour and creed may be called a climax of the change wave.

The usual assumption is that there may be rule of the Republican or the Democrats in America, there is no basic change in the foreign policy. But Obama’s victory with the slogan of “change” is making people think that what type of change Obama will bring in America. How will Obama take the mission of George Bush- against Terrorism with him? What will be his policies regarding Iraq and Afghanistan? How will he deal with the increasing influence of the Taliban over the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan? What will be his policies over the issues of Kashmir? What will be his opinion over Iran and Israel issues? These are the issues that the world wants to see. Despite it, what are the remedies with Obama to deal with the world recession. All these are wanted to be known by the world including the American citizens.

It should be hoped that this first non-white leader as the 44th president of America who will take over the office on January 20, 2009 will fulfill the hopes of the world. It can also be hoped that Obama will remain aside from the Bush’s aggressive and arrogant policies and will adopt the liberal, cooperative policies and make America helpful to the world and Obama will succeed in finishing the rivalry of weapons in the world and set an ideal before the world. It is hoped that Obama will put less stress on weapons and more emphasis on the peace discussion. Besides it, he will be able to stop the doubts about the clash of cultures.

Tanveer Jafri is an award-winning journalist and peace activist, based in India, covering communal harmony and social activities.