Friday, June 5, 2009

The Speech Heard 'Round the World

Pres. Obama's speech is getting reviews around the world. From the spawn of Cheney, who of course didn't like it and I refuse to link to, to myself who thought it was one of his best.

One of my blogger friends K, did an excellent write up and review of it. K writes about politics with a mixture of music and soul. He gives a very good perspective and has always made more sense than most. Thank K, for keeping me straight a lot of times.

Last night at Bob Cesca's Awesome Blog, someone pointed us to a new spot I had never heard of before.

They were talking about a site giving a review of the Cairo speech and said this was a good review. So I checked out The Field and found some amazingly good reviews.

Gandhi – conscious that after being away for 27 years in London and South Africa he did not know his native country well enough to lead it – instead imposed upon himself a moratorium against speaking to the press, and embarked upon a listening tour through the forgotten and impoverished regions of India in order to first understand what the real yearnings and realities of its people were. Only after he felt he had a comprehensive enough vision for what kind of better society was possible there did he enter the fray that, as history knows, won independence for the region, while showing the world a new way to fight for freedom.
Listening to the President’s remarks in Cairo this morning – billed as a speech to all the Muslims in the world – it is clear that in Barack Obama our moment in history has one such transcendent leader.
This is an admission that infuriates some of my friends when I say it (it bothers them to distraction because it challenges so many presumptions that were accurate until he came along, but that they cynically thought reflected the permanent state of man and woman). The admission – Obama is that kind of great historical figure, one, perhaps, like Gandhi – is filled with paradox, as he achieved that standing through the messy art of electoral politics (in a country where the voting system is severely retarded by money, which is to say, capitalism) and he now heads what is still an Empire and the most powerful one in human history.
Obama’s rise to power does not erase that the Empire he commands grew through many atrocious acts of war, domination and economic pillage of other lands and peoples even as it began as the first and greatest model of how to cast off imperialist chains. The good and the bad of the United States of America grew up together, coiled around each other like DNA helixes, simultaneously making the country both an engine for human progress but also for unprecedented harm all at once. The debate is not, and correctly should never be, a question of “is America good or evil,” but, rather, which side of its schizophrenic split personality wins the upper hand in each moment.
The best side of America appeared today in Cairo. And it feels like it has been so long since it has materialized that one’s windpipes must share the gasp of shock with the exhale of great relief. Is that really us? Oh my, it is. Or it still can be.

Now, I know some are going to yell at any suggestions of Pres. Obama being in the same paragraph or even the same posting as Ghandi.. but just read it.. don't shoot the messenger.

The ju-jitsu of today’s speech came in the transformation of the US presidency from a force long regarded as oppressive and intrusive to, rather, an ally in their own aspirations for liberation in their own lands. There is not a nuclear bomb or weapon of mass destruction ever made that could have possibly had such an impact. I am certain, based on my own lifelong study of social movements and their relationship to leaders, that very soon, in different parts of the Islamic world, we will see evidence of the shift that took place today. I wrote, yesterday, that the President would likely aim for the “hearts and minds” of Islamic youth. But what occurred today exceeded even my own out-on-a-limb expectation, another "three point shot" on the global basketball court.
Again and again throughout the 55 minute speech, the President kept hammering at the theme of praising and recognizing the accomplishments of Islamic peoples, and finding commonalities, where he could, with those of the United States.

The author broke down each section of the president's speech and laid out how it fit and how the argument was made to every section of the world. With his perspective of being outside of the US and talking to people outside the country he has a different insight into what is happening and sees things with clearer vision and without the spin and the color of the media we have here.

The best thing I can tell you is to go read the entire post. It is a wonderful read and really makes you look at the speech in a different way. This will definitely be on my must read list from now on.

Also make sure you read the comment section. He answers in there several things I think are worth noting. As I said his perspective is unique to us and makes me think from another way.


Matt Osborne said...

Obama's trip is THE best-managed public diplomacy initiative EVER.

K. said...

Thanks for the great plug! We have a mutual admiration society going here!

I've been thinking more about the speech. In it, Obama took global his quest to move American politics to the liberal center that he sees as the true political majority. He's a remarkable politician -- better even than Clinton and Reagan, something I never thought I'd think.

Tango daddy said...

I personaly was more impressed with his speech from Cairo than I was with his speech today.
When the President is good he is great!1

enigma4ever said...

I was so proud of him watching him speak to millions all over...and the way he wove history and culture and current was breath taking...and he was fearless..he brought up WOMEN to the Muslim world- that was HUGE ( the media here did not grasp or even mention how important it was....but also touching....while girls schools in Pakistan and Afganistan are daily facing brutality and burning it was really brave...)

thanks for the new to read perspectives from outside the US..always enlightening and though provoking....

thanks for finding things we need to read....