October 18, 2008

A Correction

In this post, I mentioned, in passing, a story that has been circulating that claims  Øbama has campaigned for a Kenyan politician who later had a non-trivial role in the ethnic strife that befell that country earlier this year.

Upon reflection it seemed a bit sketchy and tenuously sourced so I contacted the go-to-blogger for matters Kenyan ( Baldilocks) and today she graciously replied.

According to her,  the story is true to the extent that Obama traveled with the Odinga as part of an anti-AIDS initiative, but he was not in any way campaigning for the fellow.
She also pointed that this story actually grew out of the "Obama is a closet Muslim" smear which surprised me. This is because the Marxist Odinga  made some non-trivial concessions to Muslim interests regards Sharia Law amongst other things and that THIS was the angle pushed when the story was first broached....I'd missed it then, perhaps because the Obama as Muslim story is SO silly and dumb that I'd tuned it out.

It appears that unlike ACORN, his Marxist tendancies, and all the other crap in the above linked post, Obama did not in any way support a Marxist who had a hand in the long simmering Colonial blowback that erupted in Kenya in January. In fact given that he was there supporting an anti HIV initiative his Kenyan adventure comes off as pretty laudable.

The Senators  candidacy troubles me to say the least. However, while there are plenty of reasons to vote against Barak Obama. They do not need to be conflated with exaggerations.

I apologize for the error.

Teh crow..it is gamey.

UPDATE:  Juliet Ochieng kindly  gave permission to post her Email so I've pasted it below the fold unfiltered by me, in its entirety...

Hi Ken,

Much of the American commentary I have seen regarding the Obama-Odinga relationship has been questionable at best and flat-out wrong at worst. 


This is the deal.  Obama and Odinga are allegedly cousins as reported.  Now the cousin relationship means something different there than it does here.  Over there, two persons can be of the same clan, but not be related by blood and still be cousins—much in the manner that Sarah Hussein Obama is Obama’s grandmother because she was married to his grandfather but is not his father’s mother. Such is the case in a culture where polygamy is practiced.


Kenya is also a tribal society and Obama and Odinga are Luos, as mentioned (as am I; the surnames beginning with ‘O’ or ‘A’ are dead giveaways in that region).  With the two men being high ranking politically in their respective governments, it was only natural that Obama would be led about the country by Odinga during the former’s visits to Kenya and the photo I keep seeing of the two that accompanies stories about Obama’s alleged campaigning for Odinga is from the 2006 visit and was taken outside of a clinic where the Obamas symbolically received HIV tests to encourage such in the region for obvious reasons.  I’ve read a lot of stories about the 2006 visit in which the reported tried to connect the visit with the 2007-2008 unrest --some want to call it “campaigning” but I’m not seeing it and no one has posted any quotes which indicate blatant campaigning.


I’ve talked about this endlessly.  The Kenya Crisis was a tribal issue stemming from colonialism.  The Brits favored the Kikuyus and when they left, they ceded most of the land to the Kikuyus.  Long story short, all of the other tribes have been fighting for land and the Luos are some of the most powerful.  President Mwai Kibaki is a Kikuyu.  When the December 2007 elections turned out the way they did, there were quite a few suspicious occurrences, so the Luo and the Kalenjin went nuts and targeted the Kikuyu.


One of the things which has annoyed me about much of the American reporting of the Eldoret church burning is this: so many want to turn it into a Muslim versus Islam murder when in fact it was a Luo-Kalenjin versus Kikuyu murder, with all of the principles likely being Christian.  I’ve also seen reporting that most of the Luo are Muslim.  Wrong.  80 percent are Christian, mostly Anglican and Seventh Day Adventists.  My father is an atheist.


Odinga’s MOU is more than likely a sop to an interest group in his country—a common thing there; ten percent of Kenyans are Muslim—than a heartfelt love of Islam.  The thing I would worry about is the Marxism.  Not Odinga’s—most of Africans of his generation who were educated in the West (and in the old Soviet bloc of course) are socialists to a degree, my father included. 


Worry about Obama’s Marxism—something which precedes the Odinga association as far as I can tell.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng
Los Angeles CA

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