Wednesday, June 04, 2008

More of Obama's Unusual Fans: Cognitive dissonance

Judith Miller describes Syria's infatuation with the idea of President Obama. Read the whole article. I would like to draw attention to two points she makes about the possible reasons for such infatuation:

1. "Syrians think that as a man of color, Obama may understand the Muslim and Arab worlds better than Hillary Clinton or John McCain,”

2. “And we are fed up with over a decade of American leadership in the hands of two families—Clinton and Bush. For us,” he says—diplomatically omitting the fact that President Assad, who has now ruled for eight years, succeeded his father, Hafez el-Assad, who ruled Syria with an iron fist for three decades—“Obama represents new blood.”

It is quite extraordinary that young Syrians advocate democratic practices and frequent change of guards for the US, while completely ignoring their own backyard's seamlessly successive dictatorship, handed down from father to son, as if by providential decree.

So of the two reasons they give for their support of Obama, the first is racially-biased (racism is not something Arabs are ashamed to practice, so they have no qualms about articulating what benefits they may reap from a person's skin colour) and the other is grounded in moral relativism, at best: What is good for the American goose is not even a consideration for the Syrian gander, or something along this line of self-contradiction.

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