Kalau beberapa waktu lalu kita "berkenalan" dengan ibunya Zidane di milis ini, kemarin di Jkt Post ada artikel menarik tentang ibunya Barack Obama, senator partai demokrat Amrik yg lagi naik daun dan disebut-sebut calon fav utk jd wapresnya Hillary Rodham-Clinton yg running for top job di Gedung Putih.
Obama ini blasteran kulit hitam dari ayahnya (Obaha) dan kaukasia dari ibunya (Ann Durham). Perkawinan ortunya berakhir dengan perceraian, Bu Ann kemudian berkenalan dengan Pak Sutoro, seorang perwira militer yg sedang tugas kuliah di Amrik. Mereka kemudian menikah kala Barack masih usia SD dan pindah ke Jkt selama 3 tahun. Setahun pernikahan itu Bu Ann kemudian melahirkan Maya, adik tiri Barack, di Jakarta. Sayang Pak Sutoro dan Bu Ann kemudian juga berpisah jalan. Bu Ann kembali ke Amrik dengan putra-putrinya. Maya kini bermukim di Kanada dengan suaminya yang WN sana dan beretnis Tionghoa, kini Maya memakai nama belakang Sutoro-Ng. Lastname yang terakhir itu marga suaminya Maya. Tak heran pencalonan Barack sangat strategis karena lintas ras, agama dan budaya. Ia contoh sempurna melting pot Amerika yang sukses dengan American dream, (kebetulan ia memang pinter banget katanya, jadi ketua sema di Harvard, jabatan pertama yg dipegang keturunan African American) jadi pencalonan Barack Obama, disebut-sebut sebagai salah satu kuda hitam calon pres/wapres Amrik yang paling berpeluang. Selamat membaca deh, rta Obama for President ... of Indonesia oleh : Julia Suryakusuma, Melbourne Sumber: The Jakarta Post, edisi Senin 29 November 2006 The Oct. 23 issue of TIME featured Barack Obama, the new star of the Democratic Party. He embodies much that is good about the U.S. Inclusive and seeking to stand above race, religion, class and party politics, he preaches a message of unity, speaking for almost everyone -- black, white, liberal, conservative, immigrant, native- born, women and men. He cultivates this image of being a politician above party ideology and is admired and respected by Democrats and Republicans alike. Obama's rise to (political) prominence has been meteoric, from virtually unknown Illinois legislator to "a phenomenon that we've never seen before", likened to Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and Bill Clinton. He's currently the sole African-American in the U.S. Senate and only the third in the past 100 years. He's expected to run for the presidency in 2008, and if he wins, he would become the first black American president. Wow. So what is the appeal of this is this young, 45 year-old, charismatic wunderkind, a cross between pastor, professor and rock star? Fundamentally, Obama seems to address a long-held need among Americans for integrity, faith, authenticity, a sense of purpose, meaning and someone who sees the bigger picture -- a feeling that someone out there cares and is listening to them. I read about Obama's life and read his speeches, with a whole gamut of emotions: Fascination, wonder, admiration, but also much sadness, love and longing. You see, Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, was one of my closest friends. I say "was" because she died of ovarian cancer in 1995, aged only 52. As I write this column today on her birthday, Nov. 27, she would have turned 63. Ann was an anthropologist. Her doctorate research was on cottage industries in Java and she had a deep love for this country. I had been friends with her since 1981, when I was guest-editor of Prisma, a social-science journal, and had asked her to write an essay about village women in Indonesia. She ended up not writing it, but we became very close friends. There were very few details of each other's lives we did not know and we consulted each other on so many things. More than five years after she died, I still had imaginary conversations with her. Ann was one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, sensitive, generous people I have known. She was also funny, intelligent, knowledgeable, well-read and had a sunny, engaging personality. When I remember her, it's always her big smile that appears in my mind. I knew Maya, her daughter with Sutoro, Ann's Indonesian husband, since Maya was 6, and I had met Berry (as Ann called Barack) at Ann's South Jakarta home when he came visiting. He was then a Harvard law student and even skinnier than he is now. I remember her intense pride when she told me in 1990 that Berry had been elected president of the Harvard Law Review, the first ever African-American in that position. Berry's father was a Kenyan politician, a Muslim (although later an atheist) who died in a car accident in 1982. I didn't know Berry's father, but Ann's stories indicated that Berry had inherited the best of both his parents' qualities and skills. Perhaps Berry got the political acumen and rhetorical skills for which he is now famous from his father, but I certainly see his mother in his compassion, warmth and concern for others, qualities that set him apart from other politicians. As I sit here writing today, I wish more than ever that Ann were still alive. I cannot imagine her excitement and pride to see her son named as the possible next president of the United States. And I think she would also see Berry as a great inspiration for Indonesia, her adopted home. The dilemma Obama faces, a choice between communal- sectarian and policy-based politics is one that Indonesians also face. Obama has identified the U.S. as a country that has divided sharply along racial and religious lines which politicians exploit for their narrow power interests. His "Call to Renewal" speech about faith and politics, delivered on June 28 this year, could have been about Indonesia. He says, "given the increasing diversity of America's population, the dangers of sectarianism have never been greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers". Acknowledging the need for faith in politics, Obama also exhorts people to reconcile faith with a modern, pluralistic democracy. "Democracy demands that the religiously-motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion- specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason ... Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. It involves the compromise, the art of what's possible". Solving the myriad problems facing pluralist nations such as the U.S. and Indonesia will requires changes to government policy, but it also needs committed political will. Obama, while running for higher office, acknowledges that government has its limitations, and that the basis for real change is within ourselves. Even if I had no connection to Obama, I would be moved by his rhetoric and hopeful, as so many people are, that he make true his words if he is elected. So I wish him the best of luck for the presidential race in 2008, especially if he runs with Hillary Clinton. But if Obama fails, perhaps he might consider running for president of Indonesia? After all, he spent four years of his life here in the country that his mother loved so much. Berry, we need someone like you!