Before today, I’ve never posted anything about Barack Obama’s half-brother, George Onyango Obama, a resident of one of Nairobi's worst slums. The reason: unlike many, I don’t think that it is automatically the senator’s responsibility to support those whom he has taken no part in creating. And even if it is discovered that there was some agreement between the two brothers, it would be one made between individual adult members of a family and, therefore, none of my business.
In contrast, I took on the responsibility of supporting Obama-Kogelo School with the assistance of many others, because a public promise was made to many children. Some of these children may have the chance to fulfill the same type of dreams which Barack Obama Sr. and Philip Ochieng had a half century ago.
I do understand why some of the senator’s political opponents have made an issue of the fact that Senator Obama has done nothing to lift his younger brother up from his degraded existence, one which is light-years removed from that of a Harvard-educated lawyer and US Senator. (And now it has been discovered that the senator has an aunt on his father’s side--Zeituni Onyango--living Boston public housing.) Senator Obama is the sponsor of the Global Poverty Act (S. 2433)—a proposed law designed to feed all the hungry children of the world and funded by American tax dollars, naturally. In other words Barack Obama would legally compel Americans to give even more to the poor of the entire world even while he made the choice not to do so for his own flesh and blood. The two stances are hypocritical on their faces. Conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza thinks so as well and has been raising money for the immigration and upkeep of George Obama.
One wonders, however, if the senator, believing that he will win next week’s election, thinks that his proposal will take care of all the George Obamas and Zeituni Onyangos of the world. Senator Obama seems to think that he can solve all of the problems of this country by forcing American workers to give their proceeds to those who cannot or will not work. Why shouldn’t the ideal be applicable worldwide?
But to me, Barack Obama’s advocacy of GPA and D’Souza’s efforts to “save” George Obama represent the same sort of futility. If the parents of the world will not do enough to feed their own children and the George Obamas of the world—especially the American ones—will not do everything in their power to improve their individual situation and that of their kinsmen and their countrymen, nothing will change. All these charitable endeavors will just be like tossing money into the furnace.
With these thoughts in mind, I am thinking of disbanding Save Senator Obama Kogelo School, Inc. Because the organization is a non-profit, I am obliged to either refund the money or donate it to another charitable organization and that’s what I am likely to do next week, but I haven't made up my mind at this point.
At any rate, it is likely that the school will be built/remodeled after the election by an organization which prefers to remain anonymous to avoid the politicization of it all. And in the event of an Obama victory I suspect that Obama kinsman Kenya Prime Minister Raila Odinga will take it upon himself to upgrade the Obama ancestral village all around. Such is the way of countries where semi-strongman politics is present—if you win, your relatives and your hometown win also.
I almost disbanded my effort immediately after reading my father’s September op-ed on D’Souza’s actions. After all, in email, he said something similar—but less stinging--to me about my effort.
[W]here was this latter-day savior before Barack appeared in the news pages? Why is it that he's only interested in helping the relative of a celebrity, whereas hunger is rasping millions of other Kenyans?As we know, this is something I actually did do.
If he were a genuine savior, wouldn't he organize an institution - like Father Grol's Undugu Society - to channel publicly collected funds to benefit more human beings? Granted, he has a right to choose to help only a single individual.
But in the event, why not do so privately?How is the heck are people supposed to know that they can give to a particular charity if the holder of that charity doesn’t tell anyone about it?
My prideful response: if you all are so smart, build your own schools, feed your own countrymen. After all, Mboya’s efforts to educate Obama Sr., Ochieng Sr., and hundreds of other Kenyans back in the day seem to have borne fruit for the individual students and their American offspring, but it didn’t do much for the country that it was intended to benefit.
"You" are merely trying to embarrass the Senator. The urge in your puny mind is to convince the world that Barack is a skinflint who cares nothing about helping his own brother out of a quagmire.That’s correct. And after the discovery of the existence of the American aunt, this image is reinforced--not because of D'Souza's actions but because of Obama's.
You are telling Americans that the man seeking their votes is a sadist whose entire paternal clan in Kenya is perishing from hunger.Years ago, in my ignorance, I asked my father why the poor in Nairobi’s slums don’t have indoor plumbing. He never answered me. Now I think that I know the ‘whys’ of both. And, more than ever, I'm inclined to agree with Kenyan economist James Shikwati: the kindest thing that the West could do for Africa is to cease all aid. It would be a great compliment to the competence of all the ethnic groups on the continent.
I’ll post my decision next week and inform the donors.