Not Another Post on Obama’s Cairo Speech

Since I have been hearing/reading/talking about nothing but commentary and analysis on the infamous Cairo speech, I simply cannot bear to talk about it anymore. I will summarize my opinion by saying the following:

The speech was OK. To those saying it was amazing: it was not. To those saying Obama is going to make everything better: He will not. If you were listening with your emotions, you heard only the ubiquitous quotes from the Qur’an, the attempts to speak Arabic (success with “Salam Aleikum”, failure with “Hajeeb”), and Obama scratching our bellies with all the talk about Islamic civilization. But in case you hadn’t noticed, those amount to nothing but rhetoric. These sentences say nothing about practical steps or changes. I will, however, grant that the substantial changes in the rhetoric from the Bush administration are positive and downright refreshing. And I did get a few giggles from imagining Bush trying to say the word “rectitude” probably suffering a brain aneurysm in the process. I appreciated the mention of hijabis not being oppressed by their headscarves, but rather (some are oppressed) by lack of education, poverty etc. Even though this may not amount to much on the agendas of feminists (Islamic or otherwise), I appreciated this because I am sick and tired of the “we will save you from your oppressive environment by removing your headscarf ” mantra espoused by many feminists, and the “I removed by headscarf and was magically liberated” soundbyte repeated by Manji-esque “enlightened Muslims” who are giving the “inside scoop” because hey, they’re Muslims, so they know what it’s REALLY like. But I digress.

I like the use of the word “occupation” when describing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict just because it has never been used before by American government. But in terms of substance, Obama offered nothing that hasn’t been said before by Bush. Obama even gave us a history lesson on the Holocaust as if somehow that has something to do with us. As if because Jews in Europe suffered a terrible tragedy, Arabs in Palestine have to pay the price, and we’re supposed to not only let it happen, but see it as their right.

Well, I said that I wouldn’t write a post about my own sentiments and I went ahead and did just that. Since I don’t have the patience to write about this anymore (and I really should get back to work before they fire me), I provide the below links that give analyses of the speech:

Noam Chomsky http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/06/04-16

Robert Fisk http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-words-that-could-heal-wounds-of-centuries-1697417.html

Egyptian blogger Zeinobia http://egyptianchronicles.blogspot.com/2009/06/obama-speech-what-i-think.html

Ali Abunimah at the Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jun/04/barack-obama-middleeast

BBC’s report on citizen coverage of the speech via Twitter http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8083476.stm

In the end, what bothered me most is the extreme reactions given by some people on either side. Those praising the speech for all its amazingness saying that finally the world will become a better place thanks to Obama, and those declaring the speech as complete rubbish and decrying Obama as a war criminal. Let’s keep in mind that Obama is part of a political machine, whether he is with it or against it. He is already being torn apart by right-wing neocons and Zionists. He’s a smart guy, he doesn’t want to get voted out in 4 years. Obama is a strategist, he knows what he can get away with and which battles are worth fighting.

June 8, 2009 - Posted by | International Affairs


  1. The speech was remarkable enough to stop by and analyze. I will post my opinion isa asap. I’m glad that you’ve linked to Noam Chomsky’s article in your post.

    p.s. I’m new here however I liked your blog so I awareded you the ‘Blogger Friendship Award’. Check my blog and keep up on the good work!

    Comment by Hicham | June 9, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks Hicham! The award is much appreciated 🙂 I checked your blog and I’ve added you to my blogroll.

      Comment by lozah | June 9, 2009 | Reply

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