[Edited to correct opening sentence and title. There don’t seem to be “a lot” of McCain supporters talking about this, as I had originally stated. My apologies for the mistake.]
It seems that a few McCain supporters are jumping at the chance to use George Obama’s life in Kenya for the purpose of attacking Barack Obama’s character. How can he abandon his own brother, leaving him to suffer in poverty while he lives like a king? What a hypocrite, some are saying.
Some of the stories would lead the less skeptical among us to believe that Barack has turned his back on a starving man in poor health who has no-one; that George begged for help and Barack kicked him instead. Of course this isn’t what anyone is actually saying, but it’s the kind of picture some bloggers seem to be keen to paint.
Skeptic that I am, I had to see for myself, and here is some of what I found:
[…] George Hussein Onyango Obama, the youngest of his halfsiblings, responded to claims that his family had abandoned him by insisting that he was content with life in a simple wooden hut.
“Life in Huruma is good. In other places you must lock yourself in to keep yourself safe,” he told The Times. “Here I am surrounded by friends and family and feel safe and secure.”
He said that he was furious at subsequent reports that he had been abandoned by the Obama family and that he was filled with shame about living in a slum. “It seems there are people who want to destroy me and my family,” he said.
“They say I live on a dollar a month, but this is all lies by people who don’t want my brother to win.”
Those attempting to use Barack’s brother against him have also alleged that George denies being related to Barack because he is ashamed of him. Lies mixed with truth are the best kind, aren’t they? What did George Obama really say?
From the above linked article:
“Many people don’t know about my connection,” he continued, dipping a greasy hunk of goat in salt before popping it into his mouth. “If people ask about my name I tell them we are not related. The problem here is that people have expectations and think I would look after them.”
So George does deny being related to Obama, but not because he’s ashamed of it. That little twist was just added by a few members of the McCain camp for effect.
But should Obama help George? If he did, would it cause more harm than good? The article goes on to say that “Kenyan politics is synonymous with corruption and MPs are expected to shower cash and development projects on their home villages.” Could receiving help from Obama put George in an even more difficult situation? Sometimes things are more complex than they appear. Besides, according to this same article, George wants to work for a living and doesn’t expect any favors from Obama.
Here is what George told CNN:
But reports surfaced in the past few days, springing from an Italian Vanity Fair article saying George Obama is living in a shack and “earning less than a dollar a day.”
The reports left him angry.
“I was brought up well. I live well even now,” he said. “The magazines, they have exaggerated everything.
“I think I kind of like it here. There are some challenges, but maybe it is just like where you come from, there are the same challenges,” Obama said.
Obama, who is in his mid-20s, is learning to become a mechanic and is active in youth groups in Huruma. He said he tries to help the community as much as he can.
At least one of his neighbors feels that perhaps the candidate should help the brother.
“I would like Obama to visit his brother to see how he is living, to improve his way of life,” said Emelda Negei, who runs a small dispensary near Obama’s house.
But George Obama will have none of it. He draws inspiration from his famous half-brother. He acknowledges that he is biased but said he knows that his half-brother will be the next president.
Something that I believe many (if not most) Americans fail to understand is that not everyone in the world wants to live by American standards. Getting/being rich isn’t everything to everyone, and just because many of us may gasp at first glance of the place George Obama calls home, doesn’t mean he needs or wants to be rescued. Barack Obama did not abandon his brother to the slums of Kenya. George wants to stay in Kenya; it is his home and he is happy there, as unbelievable as that may be to many Americans.
George Obama is training to be a mechanic and he is active in his community. He is not the recluse that some have claimed he is.
Does any of this stop these McCain supporters from spinning the story to their advantage? Not at all. Why would it? It’s only the truth, after all.
As far as I can see, Barack Obama has done nothing to be ashamed of in regard to his brother George. But those from the McCain camp who have twisted the facts and exploited George and his family in Kenya for the sake of scoring a few political points should definitely be ashamed! While they’re asking how Barack Obama can sleep at night, I’m asking myself how they can.
I will leave you now with video footage of George Obama speaking for himself: