Obama and rosti

Rosti, garlic mushrooms and salad on a plate on today's Independent with pic of Michelle Obama

Update 19 June 2013

In the spirit of “long stories” (updates on blogs), I bring you a link to Yvonne Robert’s review first published in the Observer 12 May 2013 on Shadow Lives: The Forgotten Women of the War on Terror by Victoria Brittain.

Yvonne Roberts writes: “The so-called “war on terror” has legitimised practices in the UK most commonly associated with totalitarian regimes.”

I am also thinking Guantanamo is globalisation writ-large i.e. we export practices to distant lands we might not countenance in the UK in the same way clothing manufacturers use sweat-shops in Bangladesh.

It’s just not cricket, chaps.

Here is my original blog-post – inspired by attending a talk by an ex-prison guard and an ex-detainee from Guantanamo prison.

Original post 21 January 2009

I texted Mike: “I feel an Obama blog coming on”. He replied: “Go for it Hon. The wire has been Obama-buzzing all day, Facebook slowed down, Twitter faltered but nothing could rain on the party.”

Tonight my middle child cooked a delectable meal of light, spicy, oven-baked sweet potato and potato-rosti (beating in eggs makes them airy) and grilled garlic mushrooms.

My sister filled me in on Obama’s inauguration speech. On my way home, I heard on the radio, voices of African-Americans active in the Civil Rights movement. They had helped end segregation little knowing their actions would bring about the election in their lifetime of a Black president.

A reminder that activism pays off.

Activism helped release detainees from Guantanamo Bay – a place also on my mind.

Last week I heard an ex-guard and two former detainees talk about their experiences in that place of unlawful incarceration. One was detained on the day his son was born. The evidence was dismissable but no trial took place.

I had dreaded hearing about brutal realities but I rejoiced they were out in the open – a healthy sign that we have got better at recognising injustice, and healing.

A member of the Iraq Veterans Against the War, the ex-guard Chris Arendt came on this tour to meet former detainee and author, Moazzem Begg – to make reparation, to apologise.  The tour is their way of getting to know each other as well as educating us.  Chris is glad he made the trip. He said: “I feel 10,000 times lighter.”

Chris, was 19, “trailer trash” (his words) and in the National Guard when he was sent to Guantanamo Bay. “I knew it would be the most horrible experience of my life.”  His first day on the concrete block was terrifying, the vibe was “so intense, so crazy.”

The war of terror is, he said, “Islamophobic genocide.”

According to the Guardian, Obama wants no part in this. One of his first acts is to close Guantanamo Bay detention centre.

Obama, thank you. And don’t go letting me down.

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6 responses to “Obama and rosti

  1. Wow did I text that? must have been caught up in the optimism and promise of the event.

    The food sounded delicious, lets hope the future is just as satisfying. For real change the seed of belief is required, there seemed to be plenty of that in view yesterday.

    Mike x

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  2. It was incredibly moving to see the millions of Americans braving the 40 degree under cold, at the inauguration. I cried, because the pent up hopes and tragedies of American lives finally burst the dam of pretence. No, it’s not all right in America. The streets are not paved in gold. We are a third world nation ruled by a first world elite. This must end, and it seems that Obama is the man to do it.
    But that’s the fallacy of it all. No one man can do it. What specifically, is he asking Americans to do, other than cough up more of their hard owned dough in the form of bail outs to the banks? Close Guantanamo, but what about renditions? What about Gaza? Afghanistan?
    Nevertheless, this is a historic turning point for this country. The mood is euphoric, and people are kinder than ever to each other. From now on, African American children have more hope and higher expectations. As Mike said, the real change is in the seed of belief that change can happen. No, I never thought I’d see this day in my lifetime.
    PS I have invited a member of IVAW to talk to my class.

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  3. I couldn’t agree more. It’s a heinous abuse of civil liberties and completely unnecessary. I do feel bad for Obama though – is that the world’s most stressful job he’s just taken on??

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  4. “Islamophobic genocide.” That really just says it all.

    Have I mentioned lately that I love your website? 🙂

    -Sarah

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  5. Thank you for your comments. They helped me stop beating myself up (‘people will go off you if you keep banging on about bad stuff’).

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  6. Actvism pays off! I love your website! x

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