Saturday, October 11, 2008

Obama Song Brings Back Memories

By Nonie Darwish

I was born and raised as a Muslim in the Middle East and lived for 30 years in oppressive dictatorships and police states. I remember the daily bombardment on Arab radio of praise and songs of adoration of the Egyptian dictator president Gamal Abdel Nasser. ‘Ya Gamal ya Habib Al Malayeen, ya Gamal,’ that is Arabic for Gamal beloved by millions and the song goes on to say, we are following you in your road and mission. Day in and day out songs like that was chanted by Egyptian singers who competed to please the dictator, while citizens were oppressed and jailed while the country moved from a multi party system to a one party socialist system. Nasser was the hope for change to bring about Arab unity, destroy Israel and stand up to Western interests.

But Nasser’s hope did unite the Arab world and did not destroy Israel, but brought Egypt to its knees after defeat by Israel. I remember Nasser’s fiery speeches while adoring crowds listened to him saying that he will throw the Jews in the Mediterranean. Instead of Arab unity, he ridiculed many Arab leaders who did not follow him and actually went to war against Yemen where he allowed the use of gas weapons against a brotherly Arab Muslim country. Nasser’s regime which had great hopes for bringing Arab greatness ended up bankrupting Egypt, impoverished its people and loosing the Sinai in irresponsible gamble with wars with Israel.

The way some Americans regard Obama brings back such memories of total adoration and blind hope for change. The media in the US is certainly not government controlled like the Arab media I grew up with, but it has failed the American public. It practices self-censorship when it comes to exposing the mistakes of Democrats or even criticizing radical Islam. It depicts all Republican leaders as dumb and stupid and its favorite target for ridicule is Sarah Palin.

When I saw and heard American kids singing for Obama, I felt a chill of fear. The scene reminded me of how, as children, we were forced to sing for the dictator. It is telling that liberals have exploited children in this manner -- and that the mainstream media has given them a pass.

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