They say lightning never strikes the same place twice. Well, they say lots of things; the reality is there is no evidence to support such a statement, just an illusion caused by the abundance of places that lightning can choose to strike at.
The question I would like to ask in this post is whether lightning will hit twice in the case of president elect Barack and former prime minister elect Barak(*).
Back in 1996 Israel, shortly after prime minister Rabin was assassinated, the right wing Likud party took the elections by surprise and Netanyahu became the new prime minister. In my opinion and in the opinion of many others he was dreadful in this role, with the tunnel riots involving much death amongst Arabs and Jews being the pinnacle of his achievements.
Netanyahu’s government didn’t last long, though, and by 1999 he was replaced by the left winger Ehud Barak. On the eve of Barak's election there was unsurpassed joy in the streets: people all over the place were partying at the departure of the pain in the backside Netanyahu and the rise of the new star Barak with his promise to change all that was rotten about the Netanyahu way. I clearly remember how more than a hundred thousand youths gathered that night at the center of Tel Aviv to celebrate.
At first it seemed as if Barak truly made a difference. He had an undeniable achievement up his sleeve, taking all Israeli armed forces out of Lebanon (a contestable move given the rise of Hezbollah ever since and the way Israel has abandoned its Lebanese allies, but still a move that made a huge difference).
However, as time went by it became clear that Barak is not all he was meant to be. Things just didn’t go well and eventually, towards the end of 2000, an armed conflict started between Israel and the Palestinians. By 2001 the Israeli public got rid of Barak and since had clearly lost most of its interest in him despite his recent attempts at a come back.
Netanyahu, however, is currently leading the polls for the upcoming Israeli elections.
What I’m saying here is simple. Barack Obama was elected on the promise of a long awaited change, but then again he has succeeded such a lacklustre president in the shape of George Bush that even my now dead grandmother would have walked thought that elections.
Sure, it is exciting to know that the USA can ignore racial grounds and vote for the better candidate, and it is nice to see the majority of Americans overcoming religious fundamentalism to vote for the clearly better way. But the bottom line is that Obama should be judged by his actions and not by his obvious gift for coming up with mesmerizing speeches or for getting elected despite the color of his skin.
I’m holding my hands out for Obama in the name of peace, global warming, poverty, education, and the general welfare of all people. I’m often annoyed with the USA but it is clear that if something good is to happen to this world that something needs to start in the USA for it to have a chance.
I’m crossing my fingers for Obama but in my mind I still recall Barak.
Barak, in Hebrew, literally means lightning. In Obama’s case, Barack comes from the Arabic/Hebrew word for a blessing or being blessed; he shares the origins of his name with Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.