My Favorite Obama, George

My Favorite Obama, George

I know from reading President Barack Obama’s book, Dreams From My Father that he was born into a large and complex family.  Aside…the President’s father was a bigamist and Mitt Romney’s Grandfather was a polygamist…what are the odds that the two presidential candidates both came from multi-spouse families…I’ve only met one person in my entire life that came from a multi-spouse family.  Back to the post…one of the President’s many siblings is a young man in his late 20’s named George who lives in a hut in Nairobi, Kenya.

Like his more famous brother, George is also an author.  George has written on race relations and colonialism.  I recently watched a film clip of George where the interviewer tried to get George to lament his life in poverty when his brother has the ability to lift George above it.  George’s answers were eloquent and reflected a philosophy of self-reliance that have earned him a place on the Prepography Wall of Honor.  He essentially said:

  • I am a grown man
  • I can take care of myself
  • My brother has his own family to take care of and a pretty demanding job
  • My brother doesn’t owe me anything

While I haven’t read George’s book, Homeland (see description under More below), I was impressed by what I saw of this young man.  His eloquent and confident message of self-reliance, along with his rational views on post-colonial race relations were a refreshing change from our election year politics of division and culture of envy.  See the clip here.

George Obama

George Obama

Homeland is the remarkable memoir of George Obama, President Obama’s Kenyan half brother, who found the inspiration to strive for his goal—to better the lives of his own people—in his elder brother’s example. In the spring of 2006, George met his older half brother, then–U.S. senator Barack Obama, for the second time—the first was when he was five. The father they shared was as elusive a figure for George as he had been for Barack; he died when George was six months old. George was raised by his mother and stepfather, a French aid worker, in a well-to-do suburb of Nairobi. He was a star pupil and rugby player at a top boarding school in the Mount Kenya foothills, but after his mother and stepfather separated when he was fifteen, he was deprived of the only father figure he had ever known. Now left angry, rebellious, and troubled, his life crashed and burned. George dropped out of school and started drinking and smoking hashish. From there it was only a short step to the gangland and a life of crime. He gravitated to Nairobi’s vast ghetto, and in the midst of its harsh existence discovered something wholly unexpected: a vibrant community and a special affinity with the slum kids, whom he helped survive amid grinding poverty and despair. When he was twenty, he and three fellow gangsters were arrested for a crime they did not commit and imprisoned for nine months in the hell of a Nairobi jail. In an extraordinary turn of events, George went on to represent himself and the other three at trial. The judge threw out the case, and George walked out of jail a changed man.

After winning his freedom, George met his American brother for a second time, and was left with a strong impression that Barack would run for the American presidency. George was inspired by his older brother’s example to try to change the lives of his people, the ghetto-dwellers, for the better. Today, George chooses to live in the Nairobi ghetto, where he has set up his own community group and works with others to help the ghetto-dwellers, and especially the slum kids, overcome the challenges surrounding their lives. “My brother has risen to be the leader of the most powerful country in the world. Here in Kenya, my aim is to be a leader amongst the poorest people on earth—those who live in the slums.” George Obama’s story describes the seminal influence Barack had on his future and reveals his own unique struggles with family, tribe, inheritance, and redemption.

via Homeland: An Extraordinary Story of Hope and Survival: George Obama, Damien Lewis: Books.

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