Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Mixed messages

Mr. Obama will be speaking at Cairo University. When young Arabs and Muslims see an American president who looks like them, has a name like theirs, has Muslims in his family and comes into their world and speaks the truth, it will be empowering and disturbing at the same time. People will be asking: “Why is this guy who looks like everyone on the street here the head of the free world and we can’t even touch freedom?” You never know where that goes.
-- writes Thomas Friedman. Well yes, and Obama's message may seem a whole lot more convincing to many people than Osama's, but they will also see that he heads a government that continues to support the Egyptian and Saudi regimes, two of the least accountable major players in the region and perhaps the world.

P.S. 4 June: Obama's analysis and prescriptions "in most regards maintain flawed American policies intact" says
Ali Abunimah. As Tom Englehardt has reminded, the U.S. is building a $750bn dollar giant "embassy" compound in Islamabad.

But the speech is a classic.

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