One More Dubious Story in the Obama Family Saga (AMERICAN THINKER) By Jack Cashill 06/14/12)
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The respectable media, left and right, are finally opening themselves
up to the possibility that the story Barack Obama told in his 1995
memoir Dreams from My Father has been, in large part, manufactured.
As a case in point, the Weekly Standard´s Andrew Ferguson has had to
do some serious reevaluating of the man after reading David
Maraniss´s soon-to-be released book, Barack Obama: The Story. Writes
Ferguson ruefully, "The writer who would later use the power of his
life story to become a plausible public man was making it up, to an
What Ferguson found particularly "dispiriting" was that the moments
most likely to be "invented" were the most critical ones, the book´s
racially-charged epiphanies, "those periodic aha! moments that carry
the book and bring its author closer to self-discovery."
Although I have not yet seen the Maraniss book, I suspect there is
one such story that he may have missed. Ferguson certainly did not
discuss it, and that is Obama´s alleged meeting with his half-brother
Mark Ndesandjo in Kenya more than twenty years ago. Although I wrote
about this in some detail last year, it deserves revisiting given the
renewed interest in Obama´s many fictions.
In Dreams, Obama goes on at great length about his first meeting with
Ndesandjo in 1988 (or thereabouts) on the occasion of Obama´s first
visit to Kenya. This meeting took place at the home of Ruth
Ndesandjo, Mark´s Jewish American mother, who remarried after her
divorce from Barack Obama, Sr.
In Dreams, Obama remembered Ruth´s current husband, Ndesandjo´s
stepfather, bouncing his and Ruth´s son, Joey, on his lap. Joey was
born no later than 1980. That was some heavy-duty bouncing. Do the
"I hear you´re at Berkeley," said Obama, who is four years
"Stanford," Ndesandjo corrected. "I´m in my last year of the physics
program there." Obama added accurately, "His voice was deep, his
accent perfectly American." After a lengthy meeting with Ndesandjo
and his mother, Obama reportedly called his half-brother the
following week, and the two had a heart-to-heart over lunch.
Ndesandjo, who grew up with Obama Sr., was so appalled by his
father´s behavior that he took his stepfather´s name after his
parents divorced and turned his back on Kenya. "Don´t you ever feel
like you might be losing something?" asked the forever patronizing
Obama, then noisily trying to reclaim his own Kenyan roots.
"Understand, I´m not ashamed of being half Kenyan," Ndesandjo
answered. "I just don´t ask myself a lot of questions about what it
all means. About who I really am." Ndesandjo eventually moved to
China where he lives to this day.
This all sounds legitimate, but when Obama was interviewed about
Ndesandjo on the occasion of a state visit to China in 2009, he said
dismissively, "Well, you know, I don´t know him well."(at ~1:50 in
this CNN video). Obama then added the kicker that deepens the Obama
mystery, "I met him for the first time a couple of years ago."
If Obama met Ndesandjo in Africa as claimed, that first meeting would
have been more than twenty years prior. As related in Dreams, they
met twice, at length both times, and in some depth. There should be
no forgetting the two poignant, detailed visits with a new-found
brother, visits that consume three pages of book space.
In sorting through this story, it is hard to know what is true. Best
guess: Obama visited Ruth and pulled a few details about Ndesandjo
from this visit and from his half-sister Auma´s recollection.
As I wrote last year, "This kind of fictionalization would not be
particularly troubling were it an anomaly. It is not. It is the norm.
No one really knows where the lies begin and end."
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