International

The Mahatma Picks Up the Gun and Shoots the Dove

By Kaleem Kawaja

When the fresh face eloquent Barrack Obama burst on the US political scene with a promise to change America with totally new humanitarian thinking and policies in 2008, not only America hailed him, the world at large told him, "Come and change my world too." So infectious was his promise in a world sick of violence and counterviolence, some of it in the name of religion, some in the name of democracy, some in the name of the values of the third world, some in the name of the values of the first world, that he not only won the US presidency, he was prematurely awarded the Nobel Peace prize merely on his promise of positive change.

Thus as he faced the very difficult problem of how to bring peace in Afghanistan, a country torn in war and violence for decades, many people in his own Democratic party, let alone others counseled him to spurn the generals' demands of increasing troop strength in Afghanistan and giving another demonstration of shock & awe to demonstrate that, "you do not mess with America".

They counseled him to freeze the troop level where it is, find ways to gradually bring reconciliation with those who are fighting US in Afghanistan. Use the current troops to train the Afghans to take care of their problems by reconciliation. Save the lives of American youth and many thousand Afghans. Save the huge amount of funds that escalating the war will swallow and use it to diffuse the awful financial crisis in US.

They counseled that many who are fighting US in Afghanistan really do not hate US. They have been ruubed on the wrong side for too long by the western cowboys who have tried to change their very way of life, their culture, their centuries old ethos.

There was much hope that this bright and inspiring young American President will buck the pressure of the military-industrial- Wall Street complex and live up to his promise. Many were already championing him as a Mahatma.

Three years ago he gave a promising speech in Cairo addressing the global Muslim community that he will work to bring justice to their genuine grievances. Just six months ago he said that the real borders of Israel are those that existed prior to the 1967 middleeast war.

But in the last few months, facing reelection this year, President Obama has continued to backtrack on many of his promises to the liberals, peacenicks and the Muslims. In US itself many liberals who supported him in 2008 are aghast at his complete volteface.

In an startling change of mind he is lending his full authority to continuing war in Afghanistan, putting undue pressure on Pakistan and also initiating the opening of a new aggressive front in Iran. He is not only helping the European nations in boycotting the purchase of oil from Iran, he is also putting pressure on the third world countries, Asian and South American countries, and Muslim countries to boycott the purchase of oil from Iran and to stop doing trade with Iran. Even though there is not a shred of evidence that Iran is building the nuclear bomb the Obama Administration is supporting the rightwinger Israeli war machine in full throated publicity that Iran is on the verge of acquiring a nuclear bomb.

Indeed his foreign policy towards Muslim countries is dovetailing so much with that of rightwinger Republicans in US, Tories in UK and Conservatives in France, that it is difficult to tell where Obama's policies end and where rightwingers' policies begin.

The vision that comes across is that Mahatma Obama wearing the Noble Peace Prize medal around his neck picked up the gun and shot the dove. Today many including a large number of citizens in US are inconsolable; they can not understand why our Mahatma- icon let us down like this, joined the fat-cat club and wed the ugly billionaire. To hell with the promise of feelgood, audacity of hope and changing the world. It is Yankee gunboat business as usual.

The writer can be reached on: kaleemkawaja@gmail.com

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 April 2012 on page no. 18

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