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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The October Surprise?

The conservative end of the blogosphere is up in arms of what they feel is the October Surprise that will bring down Barack Obama -- Aunt Zeituni.

The Times on London, owned by Rupert Murdoch, offered a story the other day about Zeituni Onyango, living in a "rundown Boston estate," a housing development in South Boston.

The area has quickly been translated into a "slum" by those looking to find fault with the candidate, something that will no doubt upset a lot of Southie residents, particularly those who aren't Obama voters.

Can we have a sense of perspective here?

As near as I can tell, this is a woman Obama met from the first time 20 years ago on his journey of discovery to Kenya. He recalled her as "Auntie Zeituni" who kissed him on his cheeks and welcomed him "home." We apparently hear no more about her in the book.

The Times spells out the family lineage:
Aunt Zeituni and Uncle Omar are the children of Mr Obama’s grandfather Hussein Onyango Obama, by his third wife – the woman Mr Obama calls “Granny” because she raised his father. Mr Obama’s father, Barack Sr, was Onyango Obama’s son by his second wife, Akumu. That makes Zeituni and Omar a half-sister and half-brother of Mr Obama’s father, or Mr Obama’s half-aunt and half-uncle.
Don't know about you, but I don't have a feeling of obligation to my first cousins, let alone any half-relatives that may exist. I draw my conclusions about Obama's family commitments by his decision to suspend campaigning to return to Hawaii to visit the ailing grandmother who helped raise him after being abandoned by Barack Obama Sr.

For her part, Onyango appears to have great pride in her nephew, keeping pictures on a wall and donating to his campaign.

An obviously proud woman, she wishes to keep her counsel until after the election and not get caught up in a firestorm. Maybe he inherited some intelligence from her.

Can't we respect the privacy she so obviously cherishes?

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