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 

Selamat membaca deh,

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 

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 

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! 

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