Archive for August 29th, 2011

Uncle Omar

August 29, 2011

One of the disadvantages of being the president is that you have to put up with relatives who do not always behave appropriately  Bad behavior that be overlooked in “normal” people becomes a national scandal or embarrassment if you happen to be the brother, or son or daughter of the President We had Billy Carter, Ron Reagan, Neil Bush, and Roger Clinton. You wouldn’t think that President Obama would have much of a problem with this, since his daughters are young and well behaved. He has a half-sister who is an educator and writer but who lives a relatively private life. But, then there is Uncle Omar. It seems that he in an illegal immigrant and a drunk driver.

The arrest ends a mystery over the fate of a relative that the US President wrote in his memoir had moved to America from Kenya in the 1960s, although the circumstances of his discovery may now prove to be an embarrassment for the White House.

Official records say Onyango Obama, 67, was picked up outside the Chicken Bone Saloon in Framingham, Massachusetts, at 7.10pm on August 24. Police say he nearly crashed his Mitsubishi 4×4 into a patrol car, and then insisted that the officer should have given way to him. A report filed with the Framingham District Court said that a breathalyser at the police station registered his blood alcohol at 0.14mg/100ml of blood, above the state limit of 0.08mg.

According to a local newspaper, Mr Obama was charged with driving under the influence and driving to endanger, as well as failing to use a turn signal. He was detained as an illegal immigrant because the US Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement has an outstanding warrant for him because he was previously ordered to be deported to Kenya.

The Times has established from his birthdate that Mr Obama is the Uncle Omar mentioned in President Obama’s best-selling memoir Dreams from My Father. In the 1995 book, President Obama writes of “the uncle who had left for America 25 years ago and had never come back”.

I am going to guess that they are not going to have a reunion at the White House.

It’s interesting that the link Drudge provided for this leads to The Australian.  I wonder if very many US newspapers have picked this story up.

It’s in the Washington Times where they include the detail that he tried to call the White House. I would love to be able to listen to a recording of that conversation.

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Beach Tourism in Egypt

August 29, 2011
Retouched versions of this picture from the ge...

Image via Wikipedia

If you are planning to go sun bathing in Egypt, you had better plan your trip sometime soon. The Muslim Brotherhood, or at least, its affiliated political parties wants to place tougher restrictions on tourists in Egypt can wear and do.

Egypt’s tourism industry has suffered a severe blow since the outburst of anti-regime demonstrations in January. But that did not stop the Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, from demanding stricter regulations over what tourists can do and wear while visiting the country. The party is urging officials to ban skimpy swimwear and the consumption of alcohol on Egyptian streets.

“Beach tourism must take the values and norms of our society into account,” Muhammad Saad Al-Katatny, secretary-general of Freedom and Justice, told Egyptian tourism officials on Monday. “We must place regulations on tourists wishing to visit Egypt, which we will announce in advance.”

The call for new strictures on tourists comes as Egypt debates the role of Islam in the post-Mubarak era. Freedom and Justice is competing in elections scheduled for this autumn for parliament and opinion polls show a majority of Egyptians favor a greater use of Islamic law and mores. But a vocal minority worries that Egypt risks becoming an Islamic republic.

I am sure there is a larger number of Egyptians who are looking forward to Egypt becoming an Islamic republic. Of course this sort of thing will hurt their tourism industry. I don’t see large numbers of tourists going to Iran these days. But, I suppose economic considerations are secondary to doing the will of Allah.

Personally I don’t have a problem with banning bikinis or alcohol. I do worry about this though.

But bathing suits are not the only worry of Egypt’s Islamists. Abd Al-Munim A-Shahhat, a spokesman for the Salafi group Dawa, has said that Egypt’s world-renowned pharaonic archeology – its pyramids, Sphinx and other monuments covered with un-Islamic imagery – should also be hidden from the public eye.

“The pharaonic culture is a rotten culture,” A-Shahhat told the London-based Arab daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat on Wednesday, saying the faces of ancient statues “should be covered with wax, since they are religiously forbidden.” He likened the Egyptian relics to the idols which circled the walls of Mecca in pre-Islamic times.

I doubt that would be a popular position to take in Egypt, since I suspect that the vast majority of Egyptians are proud of their country’s ancient history. Still, there is a link between radical Islam and iconoclasm. Remember the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan by the Taliban. Egypt has generally been more liberal, but the Sphinx’s nose was chiseled off in 1378 by a Sufi named Muhammed Sa’im al-Dahr when he discovered Egyptian peasants worshipping it. He was hanged for vandalism afterwards, so maybe the Egyptians are still more sensible than some in the region.


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