“Dreams From My Father”: Obama’s Fables

I read “Dreams from My Father” about a year ago.  It was pretty much what I expected, and I gave it little further thought.  But now that cynophagy and composite girlfriends have produced virtual reams of electronic copy across the internet, I realize I missed something.  I coudda been a contender.  Few of the millions who bought the book read it closely, if at all.

The juicy cuts have been ingested but, perhaps like a hungry man three days after Thanksgiving I can still pick something of interest from the carcass.

I quote from the 2004 edition, published just as State Senator Obama was in his first – and only – term.–

It doesn’t take long to see that Obama is a fabulist, and not a skillful one.  Anecdotes conveniently support his narrative of alienation and oppression with a clumsy didacticism that one would expect in a Stalin Prize winner.


From the Introduction:


“My wife’s cousin, only six years old, has already lost his innocence.  A few weeks ago he reported to his parents that some of his first grade classmates had refused to play with him because of his dark, unblemished skin”

This seemed unlikely. It’s just too pat.  The boy’s parents had moved to an affluent suburb so that he might flourish in a better school system and live in safety rather than perish in the gang culture of inner city neighborhood from which his parents came.  In this century with America’s institutionalized concern with race, fairness, and multiculturalism, I’m sure someone would watch out for a boy in such a situation, and I have faith in the general decency of my countrymen, even first graders.

Mr. Obama may have congratulated himself on his nice sense of irony as he wrote this, but I don’t buy it.  Notice that the racial slight is at one remove:  it’s something he heard, so, if it didn’t happen, or was exaggerated, it’s not his fault.

One might think that my reaction is rooted in my antipathy to the President, a feeling I freely acknowledge, but consider an anecdote in the first chapter.  The young Obama, living in a low rent apartment in Manhattan, hangs out on the fire escape where he observes whites from a nearby affluent neighborhood walking their dogs and letting them crap everywhere in an arrogant and demeaning challenge to the poor folk who live there.

Not only is the metaphor overdrawn and cartoonish; it’s simply not believable.  Any New Yorker could tell you this would be a very risky practice.  It’s crap all right.  It didn’t happen.

What did happen is that a publisher first paid well for Mr. Obama’s amateurish mythologizing, and years later, a nation is paying dearly for its belief in him and his empty fables.

Everybody Draw Mohammed Day: A Personal Rubicon

In 2010 American cartoonist Molly Norris of Seattle proposed May 20 as “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day 20.”  This was in response to threats against the creators of South Park, who had named a bear suited character Mohammed.  A Facebook page sprung up and attracted a large number of followers.  Ms Norris’ own contribution was rather tame and did not in fact depict Islam’s prophet;  further, she disassociated herself from the Facebook page, which was the work of third parties.

Molly Norris’ contribution to “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.” After credible threats to her life, the cartoonist went underground, and remains in hiding.

Nevertheless, in the end, she received more serious and credible threats than had the South Park team, and was advised to go underground by the FBI.  This she did at her own expense, so that a citizen of the United States, exercising her constitutional rights, was on her own, while violent felons and turned terrorists flourish in government sponsored witness protection.

Since 9/11, when Islam roars, the West cowers, as it did the previous year during the furor over Muhammad cartoons in the Danish Newspaper Jyllands –Posten.  In that instance, after a lag of some months, protests began as internet provocateurs – Muslims themselves– distribute the pictures along with even more graphically offensive images which had never appeared in the Danish newspaper.  Rioting, arson and death spread through the Middle East and Central Asia. It is ironic that the depiction of Islam’s prophet is not clearly proscribed in the Koran itself, and there is a rich history of portraiture showing Muhammad and events in his life in the artistic traditions of Persia, Central Asia and the

A Persian depiction of the Angel Gabriel revealing the Koran to Mohammed.

Ottoman Empire.

Logo from OIC Website. This pretty much says it all: a world centered on Mecca.

Since then, the OIC(Organization of Islamic Cooperation) has pushed its “anti-blasphemy”(read: anti criticism of slam)   rules in the west, with officials of purported democracies all too eager to comply.  Free speech in regard to Islam, among other multicultural shibboleths has bee criminalized in Europe, and has only shaky protection in the Anglophone democracies of the former empire.  The mother country has all but capitulated as “public order” and “community cohesion” statutes muzzle critics in Britain.  Only in the United States does the Constitution’s second amendment remain as a bulwark for freedom.

I have been associated with Islam and Muslims for most of my life.  At the time of the Oklahoma City bombing, I prayed that the actors not be Muslim.  Then came 9/11, the second and successful attack on the Twin Towers.  Even then, I made excuses and distinctions.  It was the violent and irrationally disproportionate  reaction to the Danish cartoons  of 2009 that led me to to examine Islamic tradition and scripture.

I did not like what I found, and am daily further appalled as I continue my exploration.  In the last few years, I toyed with the idea of posting something on May 20 each year, but refrained, telling myself that giving needless offense helped nothing.  There is validity to that argument, but, in truth, underlying it was moral cowardice, and personal sadness.  While I live in a  Muslim country, I am obscure enough that physical jeopardy is unlikely.  However, it is likely that some people for whom I have personal regard will not be able to see beyond their emotional attachment to  a religion which I am certain they do not fully comprehend, and our association will thus end.

So be it.

Like the larger part of my generation, I have never been called to stand for anything, as my father and grandfather were in the conflicts of their times.  Due to accidents of birth and class, Viet Nam passed me by.  This then is a small thing to do.

                     My contribution to “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”

Art is not my forte, so my drawing requires some explication:

I show Muhammad as bearded and turbaned, as he is described in most traditions.  Note that I use the word “traditions” as the historical record is even scantier than support for the Christian Gospels.

The other sketches show aspects of Islamic belief and history:

1)”The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and his messenger, and strive for mischief n the land is execution, crucifixion, or the  cutting  off of hands and feet from opposite sides (Koran 5:32)

2)  While the Koran prescribes one hundred lashes for adultery (really, any extra marital sex) in the hadith( sayings and deeds  attributed to Muhammad and purportedly verified through a documented chain of transmission, which  are central to Islam, particularly the Sunni majority) quote the prophet as personally ordering death by stoning:  “Allah’s apostle commanded that she be stoned to death:  Sahih Bukhari

3) The sack of Alexandria 641E: Islamic  tradition and scripture support spreading the religion by the sword. It is a conundrum that today, as Arabs and Muslims protest the existence of Israel, and bemoan the horrors of the Crusades, with the support by much of the world, that the historical record is generally ignored.  The extra-Arabian  Middle East, Turkey  and North Africa, once Christian, and Greek, Aramaic, Syriac, Hebrew, and Latin speaking, now is Arab  and Turkic, and almost  entirely        Islamic.  The war on Christians begun by the early caliphs is today in its final phase in Egypt, Syria and Iraq.

Holy war is an Islamic concept, as epitomized today on the Saudi flag, with the Muslim confession of faith surmounting a sword. For contrast, one need only look at the legacy of the European empires: only in the Americas, and the Philippines in Asia do we see indigenous religions vanquished by Christianity, inlands that were conquered by the Iberian powers in the century immediately after the end of their seven hundred year Muslim occupation.

“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the jizya( a tax required of non-Muslims under Islamic rule) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” (Koran 9:29)

4)Some of Muhammad’s many wives.  While Islam limits the number of wives to four, its founder had many more, as well as numerous concubines, with some of each taken in war.  The small figure on the right is Aisha, the youngest of all.  Betrothed at six, bedded at nine.  She holds a doll.

Hadith – Bukhari 8:151, Narrated ‘Aisha

I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet , and my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah’s Apostle used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me. (The playing with the dolls and similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for ‘Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl, not yet reached the age of puberty.) (Fateh-al-Bari page 143, Vol.13)

5) The Battle of the Trench 627 CE.  After defeating the Jewish tribes and their allies who had been besieging the Muslims in Medina, between 600-900 men and boys were beheaded in the public square.  Muhammad presided, and in some accounts, participated.  Boys without pubic hair were spared and joined the women and girls in slavery.

Such practices are common through the histories of many peoples, in many times.  What is different here is that the conduct is not reexamined in the light of modern mores, but rather, celebrated, extolled, and emulated. One simply does not find traditions depicting the founder of any other major religion engaging in such actions.

My examination of Islam has lead me to the firm conclusion that this belief system, in its core doctrines and traditions, offers nothing but supremacist delusion , which is daily expressed in violence and repression, throughout the word, with the majority of victims themselves Muslims. There will be no peace until Islam reforms – and I consider this highly unlikely – or until it is turned back on physical an moral battlefields.  If not, one hopes, not though actual war, but a rhetorical, economic and moral equivalent of Tours, Lepanto, Vienna, and the defeat of the Ottomans.     It is a conflict that the West denies, and of which only the proponents of Islamic dominance speak the truth.

6) 9/11  A latter day incident in a very old war