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...a sweatshop of moxie

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Desperate Tempest

New lads! Our wars are done.
The desperate tempest hath so bang'd the Turks
That their designment halts... - Othello

Oh no! George Obama, the youngest half-brother of our current President, has been rung up on drug charges -- namely, being in possession of cannabis. It's apparently known in Kenya as "Bhang".

This rings a bell. There is a drink known as "Bhang-Lassi", the latter of which (Lassi) is a great favourite Indian drink of mine. It's like milky yoghurt, and a must-drink when having spicey curry. It's the one thing I miss about Indian take-aways.

But back to poor George. I had written about him earlier, chastising then Senator Obama about not even offering a helping hand to his brother, despite his political credo of being his brother's keeper.

"This handsome, dignified young man who is the spitting image of him, is Senator Obama's half-brother George.

He lives in utter poverty in a Nairobi slum. His yearly earnings are a whole U$12. I remember seeing his life story on CNN, and being aghast at just how much he admires his brother, reads his book for inspiration, and yet feels no bitterness towards him for not reaching out to help him. George looks like the type who might be too proud to accept the help, but can't Obama at least TRY?

I mean, my God, even I sponsored a South American kid from one those Sally Struthers-like programmes a few years ago. Why can't Senator Obama help his little brother out?"

Apparently, he was one of the few Kenyan relatives President Obama didn't invite to his inauguration.

(In fact, did anyone hear about them being there? I didn't. There is such a media silence on that -- Muslim -- side of his background, that it shouldn't astonish us anymore, even if it does anyway)

On looking at the photograph above, which appeared in today's CNN article on the arrest, I see now that his eyes are clearly in need of a little post-weed Visine.

I'm not being facetious.

I was actually rather affected by George when I saw that reportage on cable. His manner is like his half-brother, Barack, even to the slight standoffishness, and touchiness when questioned about his life.

"I was brought up well. I live well even now," he said. "The magazines, they have exaggerated everything."

I think I kind of like it here. There are some challenges, but maybe it is just like where you come from, there are the same challenges," Obama said.

In that one quote of his, you can see that he is at pains to convey he comes from a good background, that people have got it all wrong about him, and that oh by the way, he needs no one's pity since where he lives currently is a choice, not borne out of dire poverty.

Any person can see that he is in a world of hurt; his response is full of face-saving bluster -- but said with such quiet dignity, all conveyed via his proud eyes, that you just want to reach out and hug the guy.

It's telling. I have never had the slightest desire to hug Barack Obama, as he inspires in me not the least tenderness. No, not even when he had streaming tears down his cheeks at a campaign stop the day after his grandmother passed on. But George? My heart plays motherly tricks on me, whenever I think about him.

It's a funny ol' life, innit?

But for merest chance, two men who share the same father would've shared similar fates.

Yet, one was blessed beyond imagination in having been born to an American mother, whereas the other was left an orphan at the age of 6 months by a father who wrapped himself around a tree with his car -- yet another ex-colonial government official drunkard, whose lives were spent populating the bars of Nairobi, nursing Johnnie Walker and grudges.

Today, one man is the world's most powerful man, and the other one more Kenyan lad smoking his worries away with Bhang he can ill-afford. The worst part of it, he seems lost and utterly alone in his predicament.

Hey, Mr. President. We know you want to spend almost a trillion dollars in America. But can you spare a dime in Kenya?

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