Obama Speech in Cairo
Tadinya saya ingin menulis reaksi setelah mendengar pidato Obama di University of Cairo. Tapi saya mengurungkan niat saya, dan men-quote saja sebuah komentar oleh Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo dari Internet (NYT). An equally eloquent comment of an eloquent speech.
A day before President Obama made the now famous speech in Cairo, I was tempted to write a piece on what Obama should tell Muslims. Than[k] God I did not attempt that. It would have been an embarrassment.
I came across the speech while flipping the TV channels for local morning news and weather. I was standing when I got to a channel that carried the speech live. I remained standing until it ended, almost 45 minutes later.
I did not have to give a standing ovation because I was already standing. I did not have to applaud because standing ovation was superior to loud applause.
As the audience in Cairo University auditorium clapped, I could hear the silence at other ends of the world. As the audience fell into silence, I could hear the applause at other ends of the world.
I imagined two neighborhoods in Jerusalem. I could hear one neighborhood applauding while the other was in cold silence. And as soon as the silent one applauded, the applauding one went dead.
From the very beginning, President Obama said he would try to tell the truth.
From the trajectory of the applauses, you could see when he told the truth about the Muslims and when he told the truth about the Jews.
What I did not hear, which was what I would have written had I mustered the courage to attempt such a speech, was the truth about the rest of us- those who are not Muslims, Jews and Christians and have no steak in Jerusalem. The truth about what the Middle East conflict has done to the rest of the world.
“Listen people,” I would have made Obama say, “the world has wasted enough time and resources on y’all. We can no longer afford to give Israel money and arms with which they will destroy Gaza and then we go ahead to give the Palestinians money with which they will rebuild Gaza and have the whole story repeat itself again and again. Meanwhile, there is a whole lot of world’s need begging for our attention. Y’all better sit up, shape up and behave like adults or we leave y’all to mutually destroy each other.”
Something like that. Something direct. Something harsh.
Whose truth did Obama tell?
— Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo