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Friday, December 5, 2008

Obama Admits He Was An Expatriate Living in Indonesia


The article below is by Peter F. Spalding. It is Reprinted from The Jakarta Post, published on December 6, 2008, and states here in full, as follows.

Obama to bridge the West and Islam
Article written by Peter F. Spalding, Washington DC Sat, 11/22/2008 12:53 PM Opinion
Americans can be grateful to Indonesia for the contributions the Indonesian culture made to the character of a bright, sensitive, young boy named Barack Hussein Obama who was known to his Indonesian school mates from 1967 to 1971 as "Barry."

The United States will soon have a President who has a profound understanding and respect for Islam gained from having been immersed in "the real Indonesia" of the kampong during his first two years in Indonesia and from his later exposure to the tolerance and pluralistic attitudes at SD Besuki Mentang in Jakarta.

In The Audacity of Hope, the future President of the United States recalls that "our family was not well off in those early years; the Indonesian Army did not pay its lieutenants much. ...without the money to go to the international school that most expatriate children attended, I went to local Indonesian schools and ran the streets with the children of farmers, servants, tailors, and clerks."

Obama writes that he "remembered those years as a joyous time, full of adventure and mystery -- days of chasing down chickens and running from water buffalo, nights of shadow puppets and ghost stories and street vendors (kaki lima) bringing delectable sweets to our door." When his Indonesian stepfather left the military and obtained a job in the oil sector the young Obama was fortunate to attend SD Besuki Mentang, where he studied alongside Muslim, Christian, and Hindu students.

Today Obama knows the Muazzin's call to prayer by heart having lived in the shadow of a Mosque from when he was seven until he was eleven years old. He studied the tenets of Pancasila and can take to heart the motto enshrined on the Indonesian Coat of Arms, Bhinneka Tunggal lka (unity in diversity) which could well be the motto of his own administration.

I also understand how a sensitive seven year old feels attending a local school in a foreign country without speaking the language. I lived in Sweden from when I was seven until I was ten when my father was posted to the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm. I too was a shy outsider initially and then joined the adopted culture to such an extent that I was admonished by my father who told me and my twin brother: "you boys will never get into Harvard if you only speak Swedish to each other."

President elect Obama's mother had similar concerns. She woke her son at 4 am every morning to go over his English lessons and may well have said to her son: "Barack you will never get into Harvard if you only speak Bahasa Indonesia all the time."

The influence of Obama's Indonesian immersion lingers on. I see the Indonesian aspects of our future President's makeup reflected in the dignified, reserve, calm, and pensive aspects of his character. Barack Obama is halus by nature.

President Obama will not rush to judgment. He has been a stranger in a strange land as a young boy and therefore more likely to see the benefits of a world without strangers as an adult.

The future American President's experience in Indonesia makes him eager to assume mutual respect and understanding even when the two do not presume agreement. He is able to appreciate the full meaning of the term "the dignity of difference" and is therefore inclined towards tolerance and dialogue.

Obama has a unique understanding of the gifts of charity and sacrifice from having witnessed the holy month of Ramadan from a unique perspective. Obama's Indonesian experience makes him more likely to ask "has the United States put itself in the shoes-often the bare feet and sandals of those affected by its foreign policy?"

Perhaps the greatest legacy of President-elect Obama's Indonesian experience is his respect and understanding for Islam, which will hopefully be reciprocated over time by those elements in Islam that today wish his country ill. Above all, a President Obama will be in a unique position to build bridges of mutual respect and understanding between Islam and the West.

Obama does not feel morally superior and no longer will the nation he leads feel morally superior to other members of the international community.

Obama is an admirer of the famed theologian Reinhold Niebuhr who wrote: "The fact that honest men see the hierarchy of moral values and principals in a different order according to their different perspectives must not discourage us from honestly seeking to do what is right. But it should dissuade us from all self-righteous assumptions that we are truly moral."

This reflects the Just and Civilized Society envisioned in Pancasila (Kemanusiaan yang Adil dan Beradab) and is something the young Obama came to respect as a school boy in Indonesia.

The world is a better place today because of Barack Obama's election to the Presidency of the United States of America. We can all look forward to the day when President Barack Obama returns to Indonesia and thanks the people of Indonesia in person for their kind hospitality those many years ago.


The writer served as the American Consul General in Surabaya from 1990 to 1993. He has completed a book entitled In the Shoes of Others: An Ethical Foreign Policy for America. He can be reached at PFS202@AOL.COM


BARACK OBAMA'S EXTENDED SILENCE LEAVES AMERICANS BOGGED DOWN IN UNPRECEDENTED, HEARTSICK CONFUSION!By Rev. Lainie Dowell

Some Crucial Questions that Obama Needs to Answer for the American Citizens Before the January 20, 2009 Inauguration.

1. What is the "SD Besuki Mentang in Jakarta" for expatriated students and were you ever officially and legally repatriated as either a nationalized or as a natural-born citizen in the United States or in Indonesia or Kenya? Do you have certificates of proof?

2. What is the "Muezzin's call to prayer" that you reportedly have known and recited by heart since you were a young child living in close proximity to a mosque as an Indonesian with your American-born mother, Stanley Ann Dunham-Soetoro and your adoptive Indonesian stepfather, Lolo Soetoro?

3. What are the "tenets of Pancasila" in Indonesia that you reportedly studied in Indonesia and do you believe in a "Guided Democracy" by consensus and the participatory form as opposed to the representative form of government in America?

4. Why did you prematurely select as your presidential seal one which closely resembles the Indonesian Coat of Arms, also known as the gaurda instead of in the lawful form of the Great Seal of the President of the United States, to include, also, the American flag, which your design omitted?

5. If you were repatriated to the United States as a citizen, was it granted to you as an Indonesian foreign national or as a repatriated American? If so, where are all of your official signed certificates to verify the same, including your official birth certificate and passport?

6. Where is your Indonesian passport that you had as a child and, possibly as a young man in and around 1981, at which time you reportedly traveled from the American Mainland to Pakistan with a Pakistani friend and/or others, as well?

7. What is your true name(s) and by what means did you, Barack Obama, first enter onto the Mainland (i.e., the United States) from Hawaii, the 50Th state, to subsequently attend Occidental College in California, Columbia University in New York, Harvard University in Massachusetts, and any other places on the Mainland where you may have visited before and after you settled in Chicago, Illinois, from around the mid-1980s to the present?

By now, most Americans understand the serious ramifications that this ongoing uncertainty about your official status creates -- to say nothing of a possible constitutional crisis. And, most of all, it would set a critical legal precedent to install you in the Office of President before gathering all facts and circumstances of your life history, because it would set into place the enabling of any future nationalized citizen (if it should be the case with you) to be legally allowed to move aside any and all constitutionally mandated natural-born citizens to participate in the electoral process to become President of the United States. And, in this regard, Congress and the United States Supreme Court would be hard pressed to argue, after the fact, that it would be contrary to the rule of law to not allow it to occur thereafter.

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