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Change. Something that the world recognizes it needs this very moment. Some may disagree with that statement, but the disagreement would come from a bunch that are living a life too sheltered.  With billions living below respectable conditions, to say the least, and thousands facing death under the regime of politics and civil unrest, one has to ask, when will change truly come?

For many, the answer was Obama. Not only was he an icon for the Americans, but he was also an inspiration and a ray of hope for many around the world. Not only did he promise to bring change, but he also defined it. The president of the strongest, or at least the most influential, country in the world, was finally looking like a good thing... for everyone. 

But just like George Bush's war on Iraq, Obama's campaign of change was based on artificial manifestos. Where thousands wanted an end to the Afghanistan war, Obama increased war efforts in Afghanistan, increasing money spent on the war and thus increasing America's debt. 

Drone attacks have increased since George Bush left, and one has to think at this point, if the prior president of the United States made a claim to shame, following in his footsteps would surely be a mistake. Not only is Obama surpassing his predecessor in his act, but he completely changed the mantra he had once preached to gain presidency. Transparency and the voice of the people is muffled behind secret prerogatives and war has spread from Afghanistan to Libya, Yemen and Somalia. The presence of special U.S. forces has expanded from 60 to 75 countries, and all this is behind the banner of fighting terrorist organizations that are a threat to the American freedom.  The continuous violence propagated in the name of protecting civilians, has resulted in countless innocent deaths outside the  U.S. border.

But all of this is not the reason for my rant.  My frustration with Obama being perceived as a doer of good has come from his recent visit to Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. With Israel advancing its efforts to set up illegal settlements in Palestinian land, which has been recognized as an independent state by the U.N., Obama continues to act as a mediator that has the best interest of both parties in mind, when this is clearly not the case. In a recent article on CNN, Obama came forth with a bold statement in support of Palestinian rights and freedom. He urged young Israeli's to demand change from their government so that peace between the two countries could be achieved. But then in the same visit, he advised Palestinians to drop the precondition of having the settlements stop completely before any peace talks could begin. He stated, "If the expectation is that we can only have direct negotiations when everything is settled ahead of time, then there is no point for negotiations." 

Why not? If America can use 9/11 as the main reason for its campaign against terrorism and take extreme measures to ensure its safety, then why can't the Palestinians who have been oppressed for 40 years, demand that their land, or what's left of it, be left alone? What is acceptable for one country, is not acceptable for another? Why do we continue to live in a social paradigm that reflects the mistakes of the past? Continuing to appease a group at the expense of another.. sounds familiar? Without outright change and adherence to responsibility, the President of the U.S. will continue to face criticism from me and others who see beyond the facade. Without fulfilling the promise of change, none will come on its own. 

Please feel free to add your thoughts of what Obama is doing right or wrong. I would love to hear both sides. 



3/24/2013 01:51:18

Hi Zainer,

Very good blog post on Change in the context of Obama.

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3/25/2013 18:54:57

Thanks Tomm! I'd love it if you actually read the whole thing next time :P

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Ali Barras
3/24/2013 11:57:19

Zain-

I love your post. Being involved in health, I see Obama's initiatives towards improving access and reducing barriers to primary care as making him a good guy. Indeed I think this work is positive and progressive; necessary to improve the health status of his population. I do believe our actions are both good and bad though, and while Obama may inherently be a good person, clearly his actions on the international stage are not inherently good. The lack of transparency and commitment to international peace leaves much to be desired.

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3/25/2013 19:08:34

Thanks Ali. I definitely agree that Obama has done tremendous things as well. He has stood up for the American people much better than George W. Bush. But, as Uncle Ben said, with great power comes great responsibility. I think Obama's impact on the rest of the world has come short of expectations.

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Astra
3/24/2013 13:58:01

Great post:). I do commend the president on his recent visits to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem though. His message to the youth of these nations to demand change from their leaders is essential to change the mentality in a war that taken way too many lives.

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3/25/2013 19:23:34

Thank you for your post Astra :) I definitely thought it was powerful for the president to go past the government and speak to the children of Israel directly. However his dedication to this statement lost momentum when he tried to retract the Palestinian agenda by asking them to not ask for a cease in settlements being created. After International backing on Palestine officially being recognized as a state, the creation of more settlements on Palestinian land is a violation of rights of the Palestinians and would not be accepted by any country in the world that has national boundaries.

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Rasha Abu-Meizer
3/25/2013 10:29:47

This is some great insight Zain! I too find it frustrating when people are caught up with the façade created by Obama and his campaign. He has done some good but he still has made various questionable choices.
He claims change, however, there are certain areas of his governance where change seems to be lacking. Especially when it comes to his policies in the Middle East.
I came across this video recently that shows the current president's reaction to the Newtown's school shootings, compared to the two previous president's reaction to other school shootings. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8E8vHnNR2dI&feature=youtu.be
watch how similar the speeches are!

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3/25/2013 19:25:38

Thanks for the share Rasha. The music in the background definitely made the whole thing a lot more sinister than I would've hoped for (got a little too scary). I'm glad that you are aware of the issues that are occurring due to Obama's foriegn policies. Did you know Obama has a "secret kill list" that allows him to target any "threat" in the U.S. as well?

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Renish
3/27/2013 14:50:18

Zain, your blog is quite wonderful! This post has an arguable perspective and I'm glad you expressed that because I totally agree with the final point you mentioned in your conclusion, of the reasons being valid for some countries over others when the root to the main issue may be very similar.

Looking forward to more posts kind sir.

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    Zain

    As an avid listener of instincts and humanity, I strive to do things that put me out of my comfort zone. Cherishing the growth that comes along with this habit and all the beauty that life has to offer, I'd like to share my experiences with you. 

    All posts and opinions expressed are mine and completely independent of the University of Waterloo and the International Development program.

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