Saturday, November 8, 2008

Land and People in the New York Times

Under "Arab Bloggers size up Obama". (Thanks Marcy and Murli)


Sam Gearhart said...

Regarding the "Kapital" comment quoted by the Times - I believe the last report I saw said the average donation to Obama was $87.

Over a million of us donated to help bring change.

Anonymous said...

I supported Barack Obama with my time & money. Not only am I not a rich CEO or on the board of a multi-national corporation, I am disabled & can not work. My multiple donations of $10 over the course of 2 years totaled $240.
The beauty of Barack's fund raising is that it came from 3.1 million Americans- not one cent came from corporations or their lobbyists. Donations by non-US citizens are illegal & all donations are reported to the government & are public record. The other Party would have been shouting from the rooftops if they had seen any illegal donations.

Change is here in America & it starts at the bottom!

Anonymous said...

I too supported Barack Obama; it was the first time I have given money to a political campaign (I'm 61, white, middle class, and female). I believe there were a lot of us. Sure big money was in there too, but I truly believe Obama raised money with solid grassroots organizing of small donors. I also went to New Hampshire to knock on doors to rally support for him from undecided voters (another first for me). He's not going to be a miracle worker, but his heart and mind are in the right place. Right now, it feels good to be an American.

Brightshadow said...

Read your comment in the NYTimes collection of Arab blogs - I especially enjoyed yours.

He'll disappoint us, of course - I'm used to that - got it from Clinton and Carter, too. But such a joy not to look at the paper day after day and whatever the government is saying is always the wrong, the disgusting, the horrific, the unAmerican thing.

That's why America voted for Obama. He's a little known quantity, but eight years of the Republicans is bloat for anybody. Whatever he is and does, he won't be them with their real hatred of the world and its peoples, and America and its constitution.

Just say the word "McCain" (imagining what his administration would have been like) and the world seems a happier, friendlier, more optimistic place.

David Isaak said...

I agree that his administration won't be as different as many might like. The power of the President is actually rather circumscribed, even though the cowards in Congress let Bush far overstpe those bounds. And I'm hoping that one of the first things Obama will do is roll back Presidential powers.

He'll be President, not King, so you're right to have limited expectations.

On the other hand, as many visistors here have noted, you're wrong about the corporate money. Obama isn't beholden to big companies or lobbyists; his campaign was funded with small cash donations, mostly from his appeals over the internet.

That was one of the important and unexpected factors in this campaign: it was funded by millions of individual voters. Voters like me.

Now THAT'S a change!

Grant Devereaux said...

More than 3.2 million average Americans contributed to Obama with an average contribution of less than $100. Obama will be different. Americans do not want unnecessary war. We want peace. Bush was an anomaly. Expect change.

j anthony said...

I was very happy to see your post in the NY Times and Huffington Post. I hope it brings new readers to your great site!

I'm Lebanese American and volunteered for Obama. Over the campaign, as Obama was being pressured to distance himself from Arab and Muslim Americans, I was moved to see how ordinary people--especially bloggers and some journalists--stepped up and spoke out.

I look forward to seeing how this movement will redefine itself, stay mobilized, grow, and keep holding itself accountable for the changes that need to happen.

Steve said...

Thought it was great how you cut past the temporal fireworks:
"Time will show again that the color of the skin has little to do with politics, democracy and equity."

We really picked him for the image he presented, and I guess that would include his skin color. What gets Presidents elected now is the way they look and think. GB fooled us on the think part. I don't think Obama will. News conference anyone?... He (Obama) actually... spoke... articulately... (sigh)

Leila said...

I'm a long-time reader and I want to congratulate Rami for getting some well-deserved exposure. Everybody ought to read Land and People for great information on agriculture, slow food and organic food, farming, social justice and the environment - from a non-Western perspective.

As an Arab-American who voted for Obama with reservations, I want to say something complicated about him.

I agree with those commenters above who point out how he raised money from small donors. Many don't understand how he did this - he went right to Silicon Valley from the beginning and used social networking technology to raise money and organize.

I also want to point out to those people defending him that the Lebanese suffered a terrible terrible war in 2006. Israel bombed the hell out of South Lebanon. Most of the world agreed that it was illegal and over the top. Israel killed well over a thousand people, almost all of them civilians, inside of a month; they also destroyed a lot of infrastructure that had been newly built as part of recovery from Lebanon's civil war.

Barack Obama publicly supported Israel's disastrous war. You cannot expect any Lebanese who suffered the bombing of 2006 to trust a politician who encouraged the bombers.

Whether or not you think Israel's war was justified (I do not) you have to put yourself in the shoes of the people living beneath the bombs. They are not going to like being bombed, they are not going to appreciate the rationale for it, and they are REALLY not going to like any politicians who cheered it on.

I happen to think Barack Obama actually knew enough about the situation to know better. It's not like he's Joe Biden, who is so blinkered by his Israel-right-or-wrong stance that he excuses killing Lebanese and other Arab civilians. Barack is informed about the situation in Palestine and Lebanon, so his cheering is even worse. WHen my friends wept for joy on election night, I remained dry-eyed.

I have a very soft spot for Barack Obama, I will admit it. Like me, he's a half-breed American with a funny name. I identify with him in many ways. AND I have not lost sight of how others in the world might see him.

Americans, try to imagine how other people in other places see things. They have their own tragedies that they remember, as we Americans remember ours.

Steve said...


US politicians can be pushed from office by determined groups of people here in America. Until a politician has advanced to a safe political place, only the Presidency now, they have to say whatever the powers that be want them to. Obama would not have reached this point had he angered the Israeli lobby earlier in his career. As it is, the lobby is still worried though. McCain was a shoe-in for the status quo.

Don't think that the people who read newspapers here in the US are ignorant about what they read. I may have irrevocably lost all good will for Israel and it's supporters for what happened in Lebanon and how it was dealt with after. I had given Israel a fair break on account of the neighborhood until then, but it was obvious that the Israelis did not even think of the 1000+ innocent people as human beings. And then to read almost nothing but praise and defense for what happened in the major media...
Israel has become just too weird for the average American to think about. And when we do it's with a wince of pain and exasperation. Despite what Obama has said in the past I have a feeling he's as fed up with the situation there as most people are now.

Leila said...

Steve - well I hope that Obama is fed up, but if you go by what he says, you have no evidence of it.

I don't like projecting my hopes and fantasies onto a candidate without any real action on his part to back them up.

I would really like to believe that Barack is playing along to get elected. I secretly do hope this; I secretly hope that he will play fair with the Arabs.

And of course I'm aware of the political realities in the USA. I live here.

I'm just saying, it's asking a lot of a citizen of Lebanon, South Lebanon, to give Barack Obama a gigantic pass based on imaginings.

I don't say cynical things about Obama as many do (see Angry Arab). I am just watching and waiting. (and yes, hoping)

Steve said...


"I don't like projecting my hopes and fantasies onto a candidate without any real action on his part to back them up."

I do, and because of his racial identity (whatever,however) I think he has a lot of empathy for matters of race and ethnicity. That will surely prove well for a more balanced view by the US in the future. (I hope, too)

He's talked the talk, but let's wait to see if he does the most important thing, walking the walk. I pray he walks in pursuit of doing the right thing by all.

What I really want is peace on Earth, Goodwill toward all. But I'll settle for Obama for now. He's not even President and it feels better already.

Steve said...

Actually, no, if I was a citizen of a country that suffered at the hands of the US or it's allies I wouldn't get as excited about Obama as the rest of the world.
And I wouldn't appreciate comments endorsing my oppressors actions and views. I and my people would have every right to be cynical of Obama.
Not of his election though.

Personally, I hope Obama, in his inaugural speech, apologizes for all past wrongs done to other countries and peoples by this country, on behalf of this country.
That's the kind of clean slate this country needs

Leila said...

Yes well the election was a wonderful event. I could not cry that night, but the next morning when I delivered my 7 year old to public school in Oakland California, in the pouring sunshine, I heard a crowd of children screaming "Obama! Obama!" and cheering; then I teared up.

I have never in my lifetime heard so much hope and pride in an American president.

Life is complicated and politicians are, too. I don't care to be so cynical that I refuse to feel the emotion of the moment. However, as a daughter of South Lebanon, I remember the other side of all this.

Steve said...

"Life is complicated and politicians are, too."

At least I think Americans of every color and class have shown their wish for a better and different world than what's gone on before. The People still have the power to change things, and what's even better about that, considering the horrors of history, we chose with decency and intelligence. Maybe Obama won't do well, but Americans want him to, and that says a lot about us.
Whether my ancestors were driven here by the English or your family and friends suffering because of government indifference, we, you and I, as Americans have a right to be proud of ourselves.

Brightshadow said...

I am a Jew who strongly opposed the invasion of Lebanon in 2006 precisely because the most harmless, innocent and defenseless people were getting the brunt of it, and it was really stupid publicity for Israel. I quarreled with a few of my pro-Israeli relatives about that.

So far as I am aware (I'm a historian), non-nuclear aerial bombing of civilian populations has never had any effect in any war; it is just malicious bloodshed and destruction to make air forces and their employers feel cool.

I'd love it if Obama were free of such prejudices, but the AIPAC group will not let any candidate be elected in the U.S. who does not kowtow to Israel, and he had to get elected in order to be able to do anything. Nor do I see any obvious or simple solution to the Palestinian problem. But you were right to vote for him with reservations -- you have to keep up the pressure. There won't be a balanced attitude until the Muslim Americans and Arab Americans vote more often and make their opinions known, their voices heard. Once every four years won't do it.

Steve said...


You said, "There won't be a balanced attitude until the Muslim Americans and Arab Americans vote more often and make their opinions known, their voices heard."

Surely you know that the most important voice to be heard is yours and fellow like-minded Jews. AIPAC and the many others groups that purport to speak on behalf of American Jews would not have the power they do if Jews themselves stood up to them. No one else can without being slandered or marginalized.

It's a peculiar and unhealthy situation. Unlike in the past, the fate of Jews is in their own hands now. Unless Jews police themselves like other groups do there's no way to gauge who the bad apples are and blame will be cast on all.