Category Archives: Obama

Racial mathematics: 50 percent is more than 50 percent.

It’s regarded as self evident that Barack Obama is “the first black president in US history”. Sometimes it looks as if his adversaries think he should be content with that, and put up with the rather derogatory treatment they often have bestowed him with (as they at the same time have been tainting the very presidency).

But it’s something murky with the racial labels in the first place. As far as I know, Barack Obama is conceived by an American (“white”) mother and an African (“black”) father. With the mathematics I have learned he hence is 50 percent “white” and 50 percent “black”, in other words just as much “white” as he is “black”. Still everyone always calls him “black”, without a hint of hesitation, much less of discussion. That kind of thinking has obscure roots. (The term “African-American” is not a rescue here, since it’s synonymous with “black”, according to Wikipedia.)

Germany harbored some 80-90 years ago the very champions of racial thinking. In their world Aryans constituted the highest and purest race, the perfection of human development. If an Aryan intermingled with someone of an “inferior” race it was seen as a contamination of the more precious lineage. So, if one of these heroes fathered a child with a Jewish woman, the offspring became a half-Jew, not a half-Aryan. The Jewish “pollution” determined the taxonomy.

The same fishy thinking seems to underlie western parlance on race. Someone with three “white” grandparents and one “black”, and with dark enough skin, can’t call himself “white”, I suppose. And the mystery is why this embarrassing paradox isn’t discussed more (or at all) in public media. We seem to have inherited the thinking of primitive folks we otherwise wouldn’t touch with a barge-pole.

The US obsession with ethnicity is in general puzzling for many Europeans, experienced already in the paperwork necessary for traveling to the US. That’s not to say that racism and xenophobia is less common and rampant in Europe than elsewhere, but the manifestations are certainly different. (We all have a lot of cognitive therapy to do on this aberration).

Apart from the dubious grounds for racial categorizations of human beings mentioned above there are fundamental blows to racism served by modern molecular genetics. For one thing there are very small systematic differences in the genetic material between different “races”, smaller than incidental differences between individuals of the same “race”. Varying skin colors, eye shapes etc. accounts for minor genetic variations. (That’s why I’ve put “white” and “black” between quotation marks above.)

Consequently there may be characteristic diversities of appearances in different parts of the world; of course also varying cultural, religious and other habits, but no other “race” than the human race.

Is Cuba tortured enough?

“Bring terrors of the earth to Cuba!” was the order given by John F. Kennedy to his administration in 1962 after the embarrassing defeat in the Bay of Pigs adventure. And he certainly was obeyed. Cuba became the most terror stricken country probably in all history. CIA got to exhibit every aspect of its creativity and cruelty.

A number of agricultural facilities and industries were blown up, among them an oil refinery where 500 people were killed. Cuban embassies around the world were bombed, as well as a passenger airliner killing 73 people. Dengue fever was implanted (contained only thanks to Cuba’s well functioning health care system), on top of that an African swine flu forcing the slaughter of every pig on the island.

Sugar cargoes destined to the Soviet Union were tampered with to make the sugar inedible. (Once though, CIA succeeded with a blunder making Kennedy furious. A Soviet vessel carrying sugar had suffered machine breakdown and was forced to enter a port in Puerto Rico, where CIA routinely destroyed the sugar. Presumptuous as it is, CIA overlooked that Puerto Rico is US territory, thus giving the Russians the opportunity of a formal protest against USA.)

All this was on top of numerous attempts to murder Fidel Castro, in which every fanciful method imaginable was tried. Fidel had to change quarters each night for years (thus fathering a number of new Castros). When assassination was no longer a suitable tactic CIA worked on other ideas, such as doping Fidel’s cigars with substances intended to make his hair and beard fall off. It was all like a Grimm fairy-tale in real life.

Unimaginable irony: In 1982 Cuba was put on the US terrorist list, the same year Saddam Hussein was taken off the list!

Two of the more notorious CIA terrorists were identified as Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles, guilty of the airliner bombing among other horrible things. Since the plane had taken off from Caracas it became a legal issue for Venezuela (this was long before Hugo Chávez, of course) and they demanded the two terrorists after they had been captured. Not surprisingly Bosch and Posada Carriles “succeeded” to escape from custody in Caracas and find shelter in USA. There they enjoyed their comfortable existence when George W. Bush declared his famous pretext for the war of aggression against Afghanistan: “those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves”.

Now President Obama intends to loosen the hard grip USA has held on Cuba for more than 50 years. Reactionaries in his country find this an all too benevolent action and are expected to prevent any attempts in Congress to abolish the embargo. Our reactionaries in Sweden, such as they appear in “our NYT” – Dagens Nyheter – reluctantly accept Obama’s first step towards normalization of the Cuban relations.

Although DN in an op-ed finds Obama’s initiative “reasonable”, the rest of the article dwells on formalist arguments on why the Cuban government still is “grotesque and disgusting”. This is in itself grotesque enough to come back to in a forthcoming postcard.