What if Obama’s grandfather was Palestinian?

Could President-elect Barack Hussein Obama’s “historical memory”–inherited from his paternal grandfather Hussein Onyango Obama–of the brutal British suppression of the Kenyan independence movement in the 1950s affect the “special relationship” between the United States and long time ally, the United Kingdom?

But what if his grandfather had been Palestinian?

After reporting on the barbaric torture inflicted on Hussein Onyango Obama in a Dec. 3, 2008 article published online by The Times of London, writer Ben Macintyre says that the first African American President-elect’s views towards the United Kingdom just might be different from those of the previous 43 White U.S. presidents.

“Barack Obama’s grandfather was imprisoned and brutally tortured by the British during the violent struggle for Kenyan independence,” Mr. Macintyre and co-author Paul Orengoh reported. “He was arrested in 1949 and jailed for two years in a high-security prison where, according to his family, he was subjected to horrific violence to extract information about the growing insurgency.

“The African warders were instructed by the White soldiers to whip him every morning and evening till he confessed,” said Sarah Onyango, Hussein Onyango’s third wife, the woman the President-elect refers to as Granny Sarah,” the article states.

Hussein Onyango Obama served with the British Army in Burma during World War II, yet four years after the war his employer, a British Army officer for whom he served as a cook, rewarded his loyal valet by firing him, then denouncing him to the authorities on suspicion of “consorting with troublemakers.”

The irony is that Mr. Obama was a member of the Luo people from Western Kenya, not the Kikuyu. Some Kikuyu people took secret oaths and formed the dreaded Mau Mau, which conducted a bloody rebellion against British colonial rule.

The British soldiers “would sometimes squeeze his testicles with parallel metallic rods. They also pierced his nails and buttocks with a sharp pin, with his hands and legs tied together with his head facing down,” Granny Sarah told The Times. “The alleged torture was said to have left Mr. Onyango permanently scarred, and bitterly anti-British,” the authors wrote. “That was the time we realized that the British were actually not friends but, instead, enemies,” Mrs. Onyango said. “My husband had worked so diligently for them, only to be arrested and detained.”

The President-elect writes of his grandfather in his best-selling memoir Dreams From My Father. He says only that his grandfather was “found innocent” and held for “more than six months.”

While a total of only 32 Europeans were killed by the Mau Mau, the British slaughtered as many as 50,000 Africans during the seven year state of emergency which the British imposed, trying to maintain their unjust, racist colonial rule.

Now. Just suppose that Barack Hussein Obama’s grandfather had been a Palestinian, arrested in Palestine in 1949, or expelled from Jerusalem in 1948 by Jewish authorities in the colonial settler territory which was annexed in defiance of the British Palestinian mandate and which declared itself to be the state of Israel. Would that simple difference in paternal geography have made any difference at all in United States history?

Duh! You bet it would have! This article would never have been written, because Barack Obama would never, never, never have been elected President of the United States had his grandfather been Palestinian. No matter his kindly Kansas-born, Caucasian maternal grandparents, having an Arab-Muslim paternal grandfather would have made him categorically ineligible for the presidency.

Talk about an “historical memory!” But whose historical memory and which U.S. “special relationship” with which ally would be extant in the scenario in which an American politician, with a White mother, had a Palestinian father and grandfather?

We’d probably be talking about history-making President Hillary Clinton now, because Barack Obama might have graduated Magna Cum Laude and been President of the Harvard Law Review, but he would never have been elected dogcatcher in this country, let alone to the U.S. Senate, or to the U.S. presidency had his grandfather been a Palestinian Arab, instead of a Black African.

6 thoughts on “What if Obama’s grandfather was Palestinian?

  1. Love the Player, but I don’t love the game.
    I think the argument ignores the domestic political process. It ignores the fact that we do have both Arab American and Muslim members of Congress whose parents the voters don’t know a great deal about. In addition, the notion that the descendant of a Palestinian Muslim can’t be elected dogcatcher I think is flat out wrong. That would depend on the district, the individual’s history and links in that community, and his or her organization.
    Undoubtedly the candidate’s parentage would become more important as the office being sought gets higher, but keep in mind that Obama’s parentage narrative was an integral factor during his political ascendancy, so it was obviously highlighted in media.
    If the descendant of a Palestinian Muslim were running for political office, whether he emphasized that legacy or not would be part of the political calculation that all successful candidates for public office make depending on the existing political climate.
    That said, in the current political climate, it is almost incoceivable that a candidate running for high office in the U.S. would want to emphasize a Palestinian Muslim heritage, unless it was to establish credibility for his/her opposition to HAMAS.

  2. Sadly, of the more than 11,000-plus men and women who have been elected to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in the 200-plus years of U.S. history, only TWO (count them) two have ever been Muslims. Both of the Muslims elected within the last five years! Both of the Muslims are African American. Add to that list not more than 10 Senators or Representatives–Abourezk, Oakar, Rahall, et al–who are or have been Arab American Christians. None, I believe are of Palestinian descent. During the presidential campaign the enemies of Islam and Mr. Obama’s political opponents tried to make even his middle name Hussein, and by suggestion the thought that he might be a Muslim, a toxic reason to disqualify him in the eyes of the electorate. To my dismay, it was only Gen. Colin Powell who made a public and full-throated defense of the idea that even if Obama was a Muslim, there would be nothing wrong with it. The candidate did make the same comment politely and sort of under his breath. The U.S. Constitution on the other hand (Article 6) is unequivocal on the subject: “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” For a magna cum laude Constitutional law professor and scholar on the subject to never once state that obvious point tells me that he did not want to argue the point, because of the toxicity of the modern Islamic connection in today’s American politics. The point of my article is that the suffering of a Black African Muslim at the hands of the British could pass under the American political radar screen for someone seeking public office, in a way that the similar suffering of countless Arab Palestinian Christians and Muslims would never, ever, ever, ever be tolerated because of concern over the potential office seeker’s “historical memory” and how that might influence future public policy.

  3. Obama would not be elected if he had a Palestinian grandfather. Unless he was a wealthy person who, like the Saudis, or other rich Arabs hide their religion behind their bank accounts. Let’s be clear about a few things, the attacks in Gaza has the approval of the US government. As a person who will soon be in charge of this corrupt and dishonest government he will have to jump to many masters and play the tune that all world leaders play. This newest conflict has two real purposes that I can see. One has the Israeli’s were able to attack Lebanon, and Syria, and the world was outraged, and did nothing but blow empty wind. The UN is useless, and has no political will to do anything. I believe that after the massacre is over and when they Israeli elections are over, the next point of attack will be Iran. As their ally and number one customer of weapons of mass destruction the US will be staging it’s next round of, “shock and awe”, and continue it’s attempt to control the resources of the oil/gas rich nations of the Middle East. The other members of the security council will stand by and pick off the whatever crumbs we leave, like vultures seeking rotted meat……..

  4. Just wanted to say that I work at a large Pharmaceutical company in Clayton NC and I support Barack Obama with all my being. I encourage all my friends and colleagues to vote for Obama in 2012!! I LOVE YOU OBAMA

  5. This is all total fabrication and race baiting. What really matters isn’t the color of someone’s skin, or where they came from. The real question–which Obama’s handlers don’t want you to ask–is if the economy is better after Obama has worked it over? Bush is gone, and President Obama has had over two years now to work his “magic.” Half my family has lost their jobs since Obama has been in office. I can’t get a loan to buy a home, even though my credit rating is very high. What promises has President Obama kept, and which ones has he broken? Has he ended the wars, or started new ones? Closed Gitmo? Ended the Patriot Act? On and on. For once, forget about race and prejudice, and ask yourself if you really can trust this man, based on what he has actually done?