This is a
brief somewhat lengthy synopsis of how Barack Obama handled the issue of Palestine during two speeches he gave last week: The State of the Union address on Jan. 27 and a town-hall meeting in Tampa on Jan. 28.
The State of the Union address
The energy was in the air once again on Wednesday night, as America’s first black president gave yet another historic speech: the State of the Union address, his first one ever (honestly, last year’s doesn’t count; he was barely president for less than a month!). Tensions were high as many Americans were reminded once again of where exactly the country stands in regards to the issues that affect them and their families the most: the economy, health care,
one two three full-fledged wars in the middle-east. So I sat down to watch the State of the Union, for the first time on the other side of the border, in Canada. I caught it on the White House’s website, which had a convenient little Facebook app right on the page so users could send out instant updates about their reactions to the speech…I don’t have to tell you that I used that thing to it’s full capacity 🙂
So what was in this oh-so-historic, can’t-be-missed address? Well, aside from the redundant references to the mess that he inherited when getting into office, the wonderful job he’s done in killing more “terrorists” than Bush did in 2008 (his words, not mine), and the fact that he’s not really interested in punishing the banks but more interested in “protecting the economy” (whatever that means), Obama and his two wingmen, Biden and Pelosi, made it very clear that this entire sham of a speech was just one big performance for the masses. If you watched the 70-minute speech, it was very hard to ignore the obviously staged laughter, applause, laughter, applause, applause, applause, laughter…it was like clock-work. Honestly, it felt like everything was one big inside joke for all those in attendance; well, except for the supreme court justices seated right up at the front. They didn’t laugh at or clap for anything; probably because they’re under a lot of heat for their recent decision to overturn a ban on direct corporate spending on campaigns….yep, as of now, corporations officially have the same freedoms afforded to individual persons in that sense. So say hello to the new sponsor of Candidate A’s 2012 election campaign: Lockheed Martin and Candidate B’s election campaign: The Rand Coporation!
All I got from the speech was more wars, America has to be #1 (at what, we don’t really know), and a cruel reminder of all the broken campaign promises made by Obama in the run-up to his election:
- Repeal the Patriot Act? Nope
- Close Guantanamo? Nope
- Post all new legislation online for 5 days before its acted upon? Nope
- Pull all soldiers out of Iraq? Note even close.
There’s many more, but I don’t want to
bore anger you even more. Now let’s get to the good stuff: Palestine! What did Mr. Commander-in-Chief have to say about the most blatantly neglected issue over this past year? First, let me explain why exactly I’m interested in hearing his input on this issue. Last year when Israel was bombing the hell out of Gaza for over three weeks straight, newly elected president, Barack Obama, surprisingly had NOTHING to say on the matter! Surprising because if any one is going to say something about anything, it’s his eloquent majesty himself. So this was infuriating as is. In his own defence, he claimed that since technically he hadn’t taken office yet, he didn’t feel it was appropriate to make an official statement on the issue so as not to “confuse” the country…uhh yeah, ok?!?!
So Wednesday night was like a movie premier for me, with popcorn and all! He ran through the usual (or expected) suspects: Iran? – check… Haiti? – check… “Terrorists”? – check… even “Don’t ask, don’t tell” – check…. Palestine? ***silence***. Absolutely nothing! Not even a single breath about Palestine, Gaza, or any of the atrocities being committed in the region for not just the past year, but decades and decades. He didn’t even talk about Afghanistan! or even Pakistan! That can only mean one of two things: 1) either he’s afraid to talk about them because of how obviously wrong his policies are in regards to those issues, or 2) he’s failing so badly in all three areas, he deemed it better not to even mention them, hoping the American people would just magically think they don’t exist anymore. And I don’t doubt that a major chunk of the public actually did fall into that group.
So there you have it, Obama’s first and historic State of the Union was just a large farce meant to satiate the appetite of the public by telling them what they wanted to hear, while at the same time sparing them the details of the not-so-honorable actions committed in their name around the world. Cindy Sheehan’s synopsis of the night explains it perfectly:
It’s not the real state of the union–it’s another 75 MINUTE INFO-MERCIAL FOR THE EMPIRE–APPLAUSE–APPLAUSE–APPLAUSE—Nancy wear your lavender–Joe you wear a blue-striped tie and Barry, you wear a red striped tie—pretend that we’re one with the Robbed Class.
The Town-Hall meeting in Tampa, FL
The very next day at the University of Tampa in Florida, Obama and VP Biden hosted a town-hall meeting in which they announced a new recovery act for the building of a nationwide high-speed rail system, meant to “create jobs and transform travel in America.” So you can understand why it was so shocking and unexpected when University of South Florida student, Laila Abdelaziz (who actually volunteered for Obama during his campaign) stood up and asked him a question on the US’ stance on human rights. Obama was most likely expecting questions about job creation or even the health-care bill, but instead what he got was:
Last night you spoke in your State of the Union address you spoke of America’s support for human rights. Then, why have we not condemned Israel and Egypt’s human rights violations against the occupied Palestinian people? And yet we continue supporting them financially with billions of dollars from our tax dollars?
Wow! Excellent question, Laila! I couldn’t even imagine what B.O. would have to say to this. He surely must have had a perfectly pre-planned answer to this that he keeps in his mind’s back pocket for when the need arises, right? Check for yourself:
[youtube DJ3rqAoahAw Obama town hall human rights question]
Let me allow you to digest that a little before getting into this…First of all, did you see how long it took him to finally begin to answer the question? He’s here talking about being courteous and pointing out someone’s Mardi Gras beads??? Are you kidding me? That’s the oldest trick in the book, invented by 6 year olds…Just stall the questioner by diverting his attention away from the issue, so you can collect your thoughts and formulate the perfect lie. I’ve never ever seen him stumble like that before; so much so that I thought it was impossible to catch Barry off his game for even a second. Laila clearly proved me wrong!
Then when he actually starts to answer the question, he comes up with an absurd statement like this:
The Middle East is obviously an issue that has plagued the region for centuries…
What?!? The Middle East is an issue that has plagued the Middle East (the region)? Does this even make sense? And for centuries?!? Does this man even hear what he’s saying? This absolute nonsense is what you get when Barry is kept away from his teleprompter for too long.
He then goes on to provide the same, polished, formulated statement on the US’ unwavering support for “Israel’s security, and helping them secure themselves in what is a really hostile region.”
But the best part is when he “acknowledges” the plight of the Palestinians in his answer. Apparently, the reason that it is important for us to pay attention to the plight of the Palestinians is “…because it is not good for our security, and it is not good for Israel’s security if you’ve got millions of individuals who feel hopeless, who don’t have an opportunity to get an education, or get a job…” That’s why it’s important to pay attention to Palestine! Man, why didn’t I think of that? Here I am thinking we should pay attention to their plight because they are an oppressed, occupied people with no home, no land, no shelter, or a single iota of basic human rights for the past 61 years, at least (not centuries, Mr. President).
Of course he then had to make a half-hearted mention of the “two-state solution” and how he’s working tirelessly on that. FYI: this so-called “solution” is a complete mockery of Palestinians’ rights and freedoms…but that’s a whole other issue.
Now, onto the “compromises” that both sides have to make in order to make this “solution” work:
- Palestine: renounce violence AND recognize Israel
- Israel: acknowledge…legitimate…grievances…and interests of the Palestinians
Ok sure, I see now. So basically Palestinians (who apparently live in “territories” by the way…see the effective use of language?) have “grievances” which should be filed with their occupier. You know, like when you have an issue at your job, you file a complaint or a grievance! That’s what he has reduced their plight, their human rights concerns, their very existence to: just mere grievances!
How unbelievably grotesque and undermining of an answer! Wait, was that even an answer? Let’s look at Laila’s question one more time: “Then, why have we not condemned Israel and Egypt’s human rights violations against the occupied Palestinian people?”
Oh I get it. It’s because they haven’t filed a “grievance”…