A comment on Barack Obama’s book “A Promised Land”-

Reading the book(880 Pages-27 chapters-in Danish) left me speculating on the strong will that the poor black child possessed while young, until his becoming the head of the biggest power on earth, passing through multi-layers of harsh experiences and frustrations, including his Kenyan Muslim father who left him early, and appeared only in a few words in his book  . Although one is willing to recognize the talent, the firmness, and the steady ambition Obama had; nevertheless, when it comes to politics while in power, another Obama is seen, compromising, looking for every word he will speak or write, and how people will react. And when it comes to the Middle- East, the traditional view of all previous American presidents will follow: mainly the theological classical view of religions, especially the Bible- a fictional narrative that has nothing to do with science, as archeologists had demonstrated in the past few decades (the Copenhagen School ).  Although in his Cairo univ. speech he pronounced few sentences concerning Palestinian People’s right to an independent Palestinian State…nevertheless, he felt short of using his power to implement the unjustified casting of  14 million Palestinians, from having a decent place under the sun, equal to all other nations of this small planet. Neither his friendly relation with Rasheed al-Khalidi, nor being a student in Edward Said’s Class in 1983 to study modern novels could help him to approach the historic and legal rights of Palestinians. Only once he allowed a security council resolution condemning settlement policies in Palestine to pass by abstaining. 

Afghanistan, where he send more troops, against his promises, and Iraq, where he recognizes the necessity of withdrawal, are other major issues that contradict his earlier beliefs: Obama on top, is different than Obama the young grassroots human- not to mention the many drone killings of people without trial-including one who is a US citizen. I wonder what he will say nowadays after his successor decided to withdraw from Afghanistan, and how trillions were spent in hollow dark corners that benefit only a few, at the expense of millions of Afghans, Iraqis, or Palestinians….. Although vertically opposite to his successor at a series of different levels, after all, institutions and powerful lobbies had the upper hand in decision making, but never underestimate the huge possibilities of grassroots’, NGO’s & media’s role, especially with the futuristic power of the social media that could open the horizon for the interests of the majority to prevail- A clear example of Muna & Mohammad el-Kurd of Sheikh Jarrah -were among the world’s 100 most influential people, according to the American Time- because of resisting evacuation from their homes, and the huge impact of their resistance against occupation authorities.

A series of funny stories about Sarkozy having high shoes to compensate for his shortness; a king married with 12 women, and when he Obama asked him about difficulties to manage all those wives, the king answered: sometimes it is easier to solve the Middle East problem than reconcile his wives….and many other episodes that make one share laughing with the author.     

A book that is worth reading, especially when Obama wrote on details of the Arabic Spring’s Movement, and how he advised Mubarak to leave after Tahreer Square’s demonstrations, how he opposed Hilary Clinton’s speech when she tried to save Mubarak, how he condemned Sarkuzi & Cameron’s decision to interfere in Libya to save their own domestic agenda, and how he had contempt to the Arabic League when they supported a military intervention…..etc.       

A comment on El-Dabash book “PALESTINE from here emerged Civilisation”

Ahmed El-Dabash book on Palestine from the Paleolithic to the Chalcolithic Age is a very concise book of seven chapters -160 pages presents authentic well-documented research on the history of this tiny piece of land-Palestine, tracing back the emergence of the Homo Erectus species-from the Ubeidi Civilisation, located by the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee-Tiberias lake- to the nowadays era. Ahmed’s analyzed the main role of the western theological surveys of Palestine, especially Edward Robinson & Eli Smith in the middle of the nineteenth century (1852) & many other Biblical Orientalists who tried systematically to impose names of the Bible, the old and the new as well, on the topography of the “holy land”.  The result of these early biblical archeological research resulted in the infamous say: “A land without people for a people without a land”, and the demolishment of 675 Palestinian villages and towns that had their roots in prehistory stone ages before their ethnic cleansing in Nakba 1948. With this well documented and well-researched book, El-Dabash followed & confirmed the research of the earlier pioneers of “The Copenhagen School” who revolutionized the whole perception of the historiography of Palestine since the eighties of the last century: Niels Peter, Thomas Thompson, Keith Whitelam, Ingrid Hjelm, Bo Hermansen  & many  Palestinian archeologists- Muawia Ibrahim, Hamdan Taha, Issa Sarie,  Hani Nur El-Din -Mahmoud Hawari, only to mention a few. “Revision and change in all our methods … to write the history of ancient Palestine today- is required”, as Thomas Thompson wrote in his book “The Mythic Past”, 22 years ago.

(Centre for Arabic Unity Studies, Beirut-2021, translated by Manal Sherbini).   

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