Osama On Obama. What’s Different Behind Latest Tape?

Osama On Obama. What’s Different Behind Latest Tape?

Osama Bin Laden’s latest tape talks about Barack Obama but the tone is different from before. Imran Anwar’s short but insightful analysis helps you understand what it means.

© IMRAN 2009
Web: www.imran.com
Blog: www.imran.com/media/blog/
Pictures: www.flickr.com/photos/imrananwar/sets/
Follow Me: www.twitter.com/imrananwar
FaceBook: www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=582866154
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/imran

Tags: IMRAN, ImranAnwar, Video, Opinion, Commentary, Politics, Terrorism, Taliban, AlQaeda, Pakistan, America, Obama, Bush, Afghanistan, OsamaBinLaden

Keywords: IMRAN, ImranAnwar, Video, Opinion, Commentary, Politics, Terrorism, Taliban, AlQaeda, Pakistan, America, Obama, Bush, Afghanistan, OsamaBinLaden

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Send More US Troops Into Afghanistan?

Imran Anwar (IMRAN.TV / http://www.imran.com/media/blog/ ) raises very serious questions about the current situation in Afghanistan. Are more US troops the answer? If not, what is? Listen for the answer.

Technorati Tags: IMRAN, “Imran Anwar”, ImranAnwar, TV, Commentary , Afghanistan, America, Politics, War , Terrorism, AlQaeda, Taliban, Pakistan, Economy, Bernanke, Bush, Rumsfeld, Iraq , Vietnam

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© IMRAN 2009
Web: www.imran.com
Blog: www.imran.com/media/blog/
Pictures: www.flickr.com/photos/imrananwar/sets/
Follow Me: www.twitter.com/imrananwar
FaceBook: www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=582866154
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/imran

Which Country Threat To Neighbors, Unstable, Terrible To Women?

If you ask a loaded question, “Which Country Is A Danger To Its Neighbors, Is Unstable And On The Verge Of Breakdown, And Is Terrible To Women?” I am sure Pakistan is what most of them would quickly jump to answer.

The cell-phone video of three “brave” strong males holding down and ravaging a young northern-area woman (who may be Pakistani or Afghani) with a public flogging was shameful by any standards of decency, morality or humanity.

Even more shameful was the timing of the video’s release. It was apparently leaked not to call attention to a serious crime, and dozens of atrocities like it that are committed by spineless, dishonorable, Taliban every day, but to complicate Pakistan’s nearly complete peace deal in Swat.

The Internet communities like Twitter are, for lack of a better word, atwitter (!) with this particular video being used as an example of what must be happening to every woman in every part of Pakistan.

Don’t get me wrong. The scourge of the Taliban, the cancer of AlQaeda and the repulsive puss-filled sore of Pakistani-killing terrorists brazenly attacking people in Pakistan are serious threats to every Muslim, every Pakistani. But they are, in many cases, byproducts of other fundamental problems that need to be solved by Pakistan and Muslims.

For example, a history of letting some parts of Pakistan being somewhat exempt from the laws of modern Pakistan may have seemed like ceding power and control to local warlords and ancient tribal traditions. But, in many cases, there were also arrangements in place that suited older governments of Pakistan.

They found it easier to buy the peace with a warlord or Maliks or Emirs of the region, even at the cost of not giving the local populace there a vote or a voice in its own destiny.

Even the money given to areas where natural resources were found, and consumed nationwide, the “royalties” did not go to benefit the people of the area, but to enrich the tribal leaders, who became even stronger and more vile forces, somewhat like Stone Age Godfathers even without the semblance of a competition or law above them.

They ensured that murder, rape and other heinous crimes remained their tools of administering their subservient population. Ensuring lack of education, lack of basic facilities, even medical care for the poor was another way to keep a population barely surviving and not daring to speak up, or even knowing that speaking up was an option.

That is why, though I went to school with many scions of such “wadera” or “tribal chief” families sons, I did not shed a tear when a certain Nawab, who was as much an enemy of Pakistan as of his own people, was wiped out by General Musharaff (in one of the few good things he did as Chief Dictator Officer in Pakistan).

My hope was that many of the tribal leaders’ kids going to school with me at Aitchison College, Lahore in Pakistan, would one day go and become the new chiefs of their tribes and maybe change things.

I guess power, especially generations old almost godlike power, has its own power to corrupt. Many of my friends went on to have professional careers but I did not see or hear of any of them being the power of change I had hoped they would.

Thus, it is easy to see why the international media, the global community, including God-fearing, law-abiding, everyday Pakistanis, being horrified and angry at the crimes being committed by the sewer rat Taliban fanatics. It is easy to see why decent people around the world, especially on the Internet, would distribute the story to everyone who would hear.

But what gets my riled up is the way the tragic story is used not to influence positive change or to discuss the reasons such groups exist. There is no talk of the role of the United States in creating yesterday’s mujahideen (today’s Taliban).

Ignored is the double standard of Washington in making speeches about democracy but always secretly praying for, and playing for, a powerful but controllable dictator in Muslim countries.

The worst examples include the repulsive and thankfully long dead General Zia and moderately pleasant but still Constitution-raping General Musharaff in Pakistan or the Arab thug Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.

The most disgusting to me personally is the concept of all American administrations supporting a monarchy in Saudi Arabia, where Islam brought the earliest concept of people deciding who would rule them after the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) passed away.

During this time, the fact is that online communities like Twitter have a flood of messages screaming that the sky is falling in Pakistan. They are crying hoarse about how Pakistan is on the verge of a breakdown.

They are maligning Pakistan as if every young or old woman in Pakistan is beaten at the smallest excuse and the rest of the country applauds. They feel Pakistan is a threat to its neighbors.

If you ask a loaded question, “Which Country Is A Danger To Its Neighbors, Is Unstable And On The Verge Of Breakdown, And Is Terrible To Women?” I am sure Pakistan is what most of them would quickly jump to answer.

The triple irony is that just today’s news shows three of America’s stalwart, and supposedly stable, allies are the worst examples of what Pakistan is accused of being.

The vile Zionist state of nuclear-armed Israel continues to show it has no desire for peace, with its own Foreign Minister blowing off agreements they had made with the American governments in recent years for a two-state solution to the Occupation of Palestine. They treat their Palestinian occupied territory slaves, men and women, worse than the worst Pakistani tribal crook chieftain treats his subjugated poor serfs. And they have an unstable coalition government increasingly run by right-wing fanatics.

Saudi Arabia, where the thankfully gone George W. Bush could not get enough of kissing, and lip-synching policies with the equally hypocritical and un-Islamic Saudi monarch, (and where President Barack Hussein Obama was also bowing in deference) is in the news. How they mistreat women and have no civil rights for migrant workers is not even news.

The latest repulsive news from Saudi Arabia was that a man gave his 8-year old daughter to be married to a 47-year old man to settle a debt. I repeat, to settle a DEBT. In the year 2009 AD the Arab Muslims are literally selling daughters to settle business debts. I wonder whom they would sell to settle a mortgage loan.

Lastly, the mother of all daughter-selling countries, Thailand, a favorite destination for child-porn seekers and pedophiles from Europe and America, not only continues to peddle its wares, and its daughters, it is also now in a state of emergency, in addition to political unrest in various regions around it.

Let’s be fair. All these nations also have insurgencies of one kind or another. It is time that America sends in the drones. But this time let’s send them to bomb civilian areas in Tel Aviv, Jeddah and Bangkok and deal with the far worse crimes against humanity committed by those three American allies every day.

Imran Anwar is a New York and Miami based Pakistani-American entrepreneur, Internet pioneer, inventor, writer and TV personality. He can be reached through his web site http://imran.com and imran@imran.com . You can respond to his live comments on Twitter at http://twitter.com/imrananwar

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IMRAN Economic Recovery Plan – Do You Need Help In This Economy? – “Help Us Help US”

Are things looking bad in this economy? Who’s bailing you out? Could you use $25,000 right about now?

Here is a working plan that will save us and the US.

Financial deregulation started under the Clinton era and, through the terrible mismanagement under George W. Bush, the economy melted. Now TRILLIONS of Dollars were given away by Bush to bailout industries that put you, me and our entire economy at risk. Even failing carmakers are getting Billions. Are you getting a dime?

Obama has good ideas but they are not enough to do anything for you, for us, for the US in the immediate situation. We need help NOW.

Here is the IMRAN Economic Recovery Plan.

It provides a specific way to trigger an economic recovery within 90 days. Ninety Days, not 9 months or 9 years.

Imran Anwar ( http://imran.com/media/blog/ ) explains the plan and the specifics on how it would work. Using a simple example with numbers, he shows how much money you would get, how you can spend it to stabilize your situation and help the economy. Finally, he explains how the government gets the money back – so we are not all paying trillions in higher taxes for money that makes bankers and other failed executives even richer at our expense while we lose homes, jobs, cars and our future.

This plan ensures legal American residents, citizens and taxpayers are bailed out. They can spend money on American businesses, so more Americans can be hired and the American government can get tax revenues again to ensure a stronger future for AMERICANS.

Would $25,000 to $30,000 help you today? If you want to get help, do something. Take action. It’s easy.

Please tell everyone you know about this ERP (Economic Recovery Plan).

Please share on FaceBook, MySpace, your blog, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon… call in on radio shows, email TV programs and hosts that you like. Write letters to editors.

If you don’t take action, no one will bail you out but you will be paying for years for money given away to bankers, oil companies, automakers and other sleazy businesses. It’s your choice. Watch now and please rate it positively so others can hear the idea and support it. Help Us Help US!

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CLICK! 40 Years Of Photography – FLASH! A Lifetime Of Memories

CLICK! My 40 Years Of Photography

By Imran Anwar

I wrote the following words on December20, 2008 to celebrate nearly four decades of photography and to salute my father for setting me on this hobby, and many other great paths. I am sure readers will recognize some of the items and gadgets I mention in this trip down photographic memory lane; no pun intended.

My Father gave me a camera when I was 6 years old. It was a small 35mm film camera, made in Japan. It was a time when cameras were expensive, and processing film even more so. At that time I had to start with simple black and white films. I had to use pocket money in Karachito develop photos taken with that camera as I grew up in Karachi, and attended St. Paul’s English High School in Saddar.

In four decades I sure have come a long way. From that startup Japanese camera to today’s amazing Nikon D300 DSLR that I received on my 46th birthday, a lot has happened.

Forty years of life, 40 years of photography, a lifetime of memories.

I hope to see and capture a lot more, God willing, and to share with my family and friends the many unforgettable sights I have seen.

So, as I said, I started with a nice little Japanese camera my dad gave me as a kid going to Karachi. He also had the confidence in me to let me use his more expensive and also more breakable camera, a really reliable Argus (that still works!).

From his passion for photography and traveling to new places with us, he and I captured our memories and our lives as I grew up in Pakistan.

After my O’ Levels exams I moved to Aitchison College, in Lahore. By then I “borrowed” (ahemmm…. somewhat permanently!) the camera Abu had started using. It was a truly awesome (for it’s time) Yashica Electro35 camera.

That camera was amazing in its own right – telling over and underexposure by its orange and red LEDs! A “Wow” back then is something even 10 years old kids expect to see in cell phone camera these days! The amazing progress of technology and photography does not cease to amaze me even today

I then found myself studying (well, that is a liberal use of the word!) for an Electrical Engineering (Electronics) degree.

Unfortunately, some of my work from the late 1970s to mid-1980s is lost forever, turned to ashes when USA and ReaganBush Sr. backed Taliban type right-wing fundamentalists ransacked and burnt my stuff in my hostel room at Lahore’s University of Engineering & Technology. (Ironic how similar people are now called terrorists, back then they were “mujahideen” supporters of Zia and the US policy of promoting Islamic fundamentalism against the Soviet Union).

The Yashica Electro 35 was stolen and not recovered. Even terror(ist)s know how to use a camera.

The typewriter I used to get published in the then popular newspaper The Pakistan Times was also stolen but later returned. Terrorist supporters, even the jeans-wearing ones in Mumtaz Hall who hung out with the hot babes of UET didn’t need no stinkin’ typewriter. Why use words when you can use guns, I guess?

Anyway, even before I finished my engineering studies, I was invited to, and was thrilled to join the owners of Jang Group‘s (especially the brilliant owner and publisher of MAG Weekly as well as Jang and News, Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman) team in Lahore.

Even though I came on to write a youth page, within a few days I was privileged to become Business Manager, and also started writing weekly articles in MAG Weekly in Karachi. I would rush them to my then colleague, later friend, and now a fond memory, the late Wahab Siddiqui who was Editor of MAG.

Since I drove around in Lahore a lot, I also started carrying a portable camera in my car and took ‘slice of life’ photos called PIC(K) OF THE WEEK with a caption that made people think about the ironies, absurdities and tragedies of life we see everyday and just drive on by.

My late mother, Mrs. Nargis Anwar, had always taught me to be sensitive to those moments of life’s drama that unfold around us every day. My father taught me how to capture them on film. I still hope to “some day soon” put together some of my tongue in cheek articles (a dangerous thing to do under then dictator General Zia) and photos with captions from back then into a book. Yes, one day

But, life has it’s own plans. After a few years of working at Jang, I picked and packed my proverbial bags and came to America; exactly 20 years ago (January 1989 to be precise). I was fortunate to come to America on a scholarship to get an MBA at Columbia University in New York City.

My parents came to visit me a few months later (Abu had to go for some higher studies on a fellowship of some sort). When he went off for studies (somewhere in Utah I believe) my mother and I went around town (Manhattan) from my Columbia University apartment. Our favorite visit together was to the top of the World Trade Center in New York. It was one of the best times of my life spent with my mother, whom I lost just 2 years after her return to Pakistan at around age 50.

When we were in New York, my then current model camera stopped working so I was saving up for the camera I badly wanted. She wanted to buy it for me but my dream camera at that time, the MinoltaMaxxum 7000i, was too expensive for me to let her buy for me in 1989. Maybe I should have – as I could have captured many more memories of my parents’ only trip to America together.

I did buy it a few years later and took some stunning pictures – of beautiful places, gorgeous faces – during my Manhattan years.

I loved taking these photos especially when I was living a blessed life at The Monterey (on the Upper East Side of Manhattan overlooking one of North America’s largest and very beautiful mosques) and when visiting loved ones in Washington, DC and friends in California.

Life, time, lifetime friendships, captured in memories in the heart and on film.

(continued…)


FLASH! A Lifetime Of Memories In A Blink

By Imran Anwar

In last week’s article I mentioned how I came into photography, thanks to my father inspiring me in every way a father can inspire his son.

He loved photography, and got me a camera at age 6. I mentioned how I progressed from a small, simple 35mm camera in the late 1960’sto one of my favorite film cameras in the late 1980’s.

The 1990’s brought along a new revolution. Along with the 35mm film Minolta Maxxum 7000i, I became one of the earliest users of digital cameras when the first Apple QuickTakedigital camera came out. I even have some of its pictures on my web site, at IMRAN.COM .

I later upgraded to the next Apple model and I still have it as a memento. It seems so ancient now! It’s part of my Apple collection of Mac IIfx, ColorOne scanner, StyleWriter and LaserWriter printing equipment that still reminds me of my love affair with Apple and its technologies. Maybe I will give it to a museum some day (if I don’t end up having to sell everything to survive this economic downturn, that is!!).

Not much later 2 Megapixel cameras were coming out so I invested in, and loved, a Minolta DimageX 2MP. My flickr photo-sharing page ( flickr.com/imrananwar) has some taken with that camera. That camera was unfortunately lost but it was impressive both technologically (a marvel in how it “double-turned” light rays to provide an actual optical zoom lens without having a lens protrude from the camera body!) and color quality.

During the next few years I got the 5MP NikonCoolpix E5700, which took some of the amazing Palm Beach and Singer Island, Florida, photos you see on my flickr pages. You should take a look, too. Some of these have been enjoyed by more than three thousand people!

I still use it with an amazing panorama EyeSee 360 lens.

(Ooops, typed too soon, that beautiful camera and specialized lens were shattered a shortly after my writing these lines, when the Nikon strap slipped out of the hook, sending the camera and the lens sliding to hit the road and smash into little pieces! Note to readers, never assume that cameras and other things connected by straps will not slide off. Always check the straps regularly).

Hundreds of panoramic images of Europe, United States and other places are still to be processed and put online. I hope to do soon, so my family and friends can view them and feel like they were right there in the room or city or museum right beside me. It helps me bring the joy of going to the most remote places in the world and knowing I can share the experience with my father, and my loving family and friends.

For portability, and to get back to taking “slice of life” photographs as I used to take in Pakistan for MAG Weekly, I had also added another Nikon to the mix. I replaced the lost Minolta Dimage X with a Nikon S6 (slightly larger than the S1/S5 but WiFi built-in for ease of transferring to the Apple MacBook Pro laptop).

But for real SLR photography with changeable lenses I was in a quandary.

I did not know whether to move from Minolta (my Maxxum 7000i film and Dimage X digital) to another Minolta, their newest DSLR, or complete the migration to Nikon by adding another Nikon like the D60, to accompany the E5700. (As my photographer readers will know, it is not as simple as just picking up a Sony or Panasonic DVD player. Selecting cameras is almost as much a matter of taste and preference as wanting to be a Mac user).

Minolta made it easier by selling out their camera business to Sony. For a while I even found the Sony AlphaA700 a better deal than Nikon (you may have seen an old review I wrote) but I did not make the jump to Sony. I refused to indulge Sony’s choice of forcing us to buy expensive Memory Stick and not regular SD Secure Digital cards that are so great and cheaply available

Anyway, on the photography front, though I did not get the Sony Alpha DSLR, nor did I move to the Nikon DSLR ship right away. I found the Nikon D40 and D60 not enough of an advance to make the jump.

And, then, on my return from my recent trip to visit my father, I finally did. I had decided on the Nikon DSLR D30012.3 MP camera when it came out and I got it as one of the best birthday gifts I have ever received from a loved one.

I invested in some additional lenses and flash, etc. and I love it. Sheer magic and take a look at flickr.com/imrananwar. That page has just some of the photos to prove the magic. Some have already won awards, been used in calendars and traveling road shows by companies here and 2 will be used as “INSPIRATION” posters by another company.

Check them out and leave comments. I hope to be back in Pakistan soon and put it to use on photos of my family and beloved homeland of Pakistan. I have also selected some photographs to make a printed coffee table book for my father to see and show his friends the amazing magic I was able to capture from a gift he gave his son 40 years ago.

So, there you have it.

My 40 years journey in photography so far. It was started by my father’s gift of a camera. It developed from my mother’s gift of telling us never to miss any moment of the beauty in the world around us – before it is too late.

I try to do that, every day, in my own way, by living and capturing that incredible journey, for myself, and, I hope, online, for you and others. The photographs of that journey are online and on my computers, now and in my mind for as long as I live.

Forever? I hope so. The Internet and my “Live, Forever” project (at neternity.org ) give us a chance to leave coming generations a permanent record of our having seen the amazing world I saw, we saw, with our eyes. I hope our visions are seen, for an Eternity, if you do the same.

I emailed the first draft of this tribute and article to my father by email. He had just arrived back in Lahore from a trip. I spoke to him late on the afternoon of December 20, 2008, and had a wonderful conversation with him on the phone.

A few hours after my salute, Mr. Anwar-ud-Din, beloved father to my siblings and me, passed away from unexpected cardiac arrest early on December 21, 2008. ILWIR.

His smile, his love, his words, his sacrifices for us, his very presence in the lives of all that he touched – they are all etched in our hearts and memories for far longer than an eternity, far deeper than any photograph can capture.

May Allah bless him and my mother with a great place close to Him in Heaven.

I thank you, dear reader, for saying a prayer for my parents, and all the great people who have left us and now live forever in our memories. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

(The End)

Playing Games With The Future

Part 2: Playing Games With The Future

By Imran Anwar

In the previous column we were analyzing how the Republican Party and defeated politicians play the blame the media game. Even though President-elect Barack Obama has won the election, there are many months before he can even more into the White House. He is busy putting together his team and trying to arrange for a smooth transition from the current administration.

We are looking forward to seeing capable, strong, respected, intelligent and competent people to get lots of Cabinet and administrative positions. In other words, we are expecting from the Obama administration what we did not have in the Bush administration!

In the meantime, lame duck president George W. Bush cannot seem to wipe the glee of his face in that his disastrous presidency is coming to an end. He still does not seem to understand the serious damage he has done to America, Americans, the world and America’s standing in the world. He is just acting as if a juvenile, who had been given the responsibility for managing a dorm for a few weeks, is glad that he can go back to partying and having a good time. Texas ranch, here I come!

His team of incompetent, and sometimes corrupt, officials continues to wreak havoc on the nation and the global economy. Secretary Hank Paulson in particular has been spectacular in his inability, apparent poor judgment and lack of good decision-making. It seems that every time he opens his mouth the stock market will drop 200-500 points. Call that the financial equivalent of Hurricane Katrina, another Bush disaster legacy of rewarding failure and incompetence.

As I have written before, the world faces grave financial crises, which need both liquidity and a return of credit and consumer confidence. Paulson does not seem to know how to provide either one. First he disagreed with the good decisions that were being made by other central bankers around the world. Then he agreed with them and said he would follow them.

Then he announced that the government would use the bailout money from taxpayers to buy bad assets, or bad loans, from banks and financial institutions. In effect, he proposed rewarding poorly managed companies run by greedy and crooked executives, while saddling the taxpayer and the American economy with trillions of dollars in liabilities.

When the market had finally adjusted to this, dumb as it was, idea – he roiled the markets again. He did this, in effect, by saying, oops, that’s not what he was planning to do. He then proposed finding some new way to give the money not to the financial institutions that are melting, and could sink the entire global economy with them, but consumers who have high credit card debt.

As was to be expected, the bank stocks that were starting to stabilize took a massive new beating. The entire stock market dropped precipitously again. Thanks, Hank.

An interesting news item related to this financial crisis is that opinionated, big mouth, gold and daring movie producer Michael Moore (who had done great exposes on Bush, 9/11, the war on terror, the US auto industry, US health-care, etc.) has announced that he will be making another movie.

This time he will follow up to his previous successes with a movie exposing the games and players that made up the current financial mess. Hopefully, he will expose their endgame as being something that America and the world cannot afford to play.

News reports still continue to comment on how major American corporations, financial institutions, and insurance companies that have their hands stretched out asking for taxpayer bailout still continue to shamelessly spend money on unbelievable expenses.

AIG is the worst culprit of them all. There have been documented cases of more than one expensive, unnecessary and in your face lavish events that this company has continued to hold for its executives.

This company is getting some of the biggest handouts in corporate, financial and global history, already exceeding the $100 billion, yet its executives are dining out on $400 steakhouse dinners, staying in two-storey resort bungalows – while having massage and spa treatment instead of attending the so-called necessary conference costing nearly half a million Dollars! I wonder where I can apply for one of these jobs. I love steak, my shoulders are tight and I sure could use some R&R at taxpayer expense.

I have to give credit to my fellow media professional, the respected TV anchor, Lou Dobbs of CNN for not letting go of the story – despite the bold-faced explanations of the AIG CEO on the lame Larry King Show.

There is one story, however, that I do not think anyone is investigating at least now. It would be so great if CNN, the New York Times or the Washington Post – all the great American institutions – would spend some resources on investigating, in-depth, the major stock trades that took place during the last few months.

I do not have any proof to level a formal complaint or accusation, yet. But, I have a hunch that all was not as it appeared.

I hope that future historians, investigators, and congressional committees will investigate what I am going to say in more depth. I wonder, no, I ask: Was the stock market being manipulated by M/s Paulson, Bush officials and their cronies? What do you think?

While it seems hard to imagine, I do not put it past the friends of evil genius Karl Rove to let the United States economy fall into a new great depression.

Students of the Great Depression and its causes, including Secretary Paulson, and Karl Rove, know that it can take four years or more for an economy to come back from a giant depression.

That means, conceivably it is possible to sabotage an Obama presidency even before he takes office! They could do this while setting the stage for the economy to still be in bad shape when the Republicans make the next bid for the White House in 2012.

I hope I am wrong, but American politicians have been guilty of far worse crimes, against their own people.

Imran Anwar is a New York and Miami based Pakistani-American entrepreneur, Internet pioneer, inventor, writer and TV personality. He can be reached through his web site http://imran.com and imran@imran.com. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/imrananwar

New Day, New Dawn, New Era, A Renewed Nation

There are dark clouds on the horizon, as the damp chill of an early November rain looms over Washington DC. It is unlikely that anyone awake at this dawn hour will see even a single ray of light of sunshine. Yet, Washington, DC, as well as all the United States of America are bathed in a warm glow and bright light. It is the sunshine of a new day, a new dawn, a new era, and a new chapter in the history of a great nation renewed.

To paraphrase a recent advertisement, published by CNN in The New York Times and other reputed newspapers, the United States, as well as the rest of the world, were caught in a magical moment on the night of November 4, 2008, as the US elections came to a close.

The past was leaving, but still threatened to continue into our future. The future beckoned, the hope of a new day, but the dawn had not yet arrived and could still elude us. For a brief moment in time, you, I, the United States, as well as the whole world, were caught in a moment of curiosity, wonder, concern as well as sheer, innocent, daring hope.

Yesterday the nation stood at a crossroads, the brink of expanding disaster or a new beginning. As the election results came in, it became obvious that Hope had won the day. The past was going to be sent far into the past. In that brief period of time, between the end of polling in the United States, Senator McCain conceding defeat and President-elect Barack Hussein Obama giving his victory speech, many amazing things happened which many of us had not expected to see for a long time.

Americans themselves appeared to close the door on the jingoistic, brutal and bullying faux but failing empire that George W. Bush and his henchmen had tried to build over the last eight years. Americans of all colors, ages, races, religions, ethnicities and backgrounds came out in larger numbers to vote than at any time in the recent history. They also found that they had made a dream come true surprisingly quicker than they themselves had expected.

Dr. Martin Luther King, the black slain civil rights leader, was killed for his preaching equality for whites and blacks. His amazing "I Have A Dream" speech is known to all Americans, and I urge readers of this column to read, or even better, to hear it for themselves. (It is easily available on the Internet). Many Americans can even quote words from that speech. But few had believed it possible that they would see parts of Dr. King’s dream come true in such a real and shining manner.

Americans found their country once again beginning to be the bright beacon of light, hope, equality, justice, greatness and ideals that the rest of the world looks up to. Above all, Americans themselves woke up to realize that from being a good, yet imperfect, country overnight they had matured into a renewed nation, achieving greatness again, surprising themselves and the world in unison.

Let there be no delusions. We have not suddenly achieved some racial-nirvana, some miracle of overnight solutions to eons old human emotions. The results from various states, and parts of the country, including so-called redneck areas, show that despite the massive failure of George W. Bush, and his friends, voting for a black man was still too much for the Bush-supporting people to do.

No society in the world, at least in our lifetimes, can achieve the Utopian ideals of having no racism at all. However, with this vote Americans resoundingly proved that if there is any country in the world that can come close to living up to its own ideals, and the ideals of most human beings, it is the great nation of United States of America.

The country that had a history of slavery, abuse and even murder of black people today elected its president who is not only black, but is the son of a Kenyan immigrant, raised by a single mother, with an extended family of Africans, Christians and Muslims. And they did not install this man by some technical election, or by some narrow margin. They did so in such a resounding manner that there was no doubt left in anyone’s mind. It was clear. America had come back to its rightful place on the world stage – as a nation to be respected, admired, looked up to and – perhaps one day soon – loved again.

The irony is that this next to impossible election of Barack Obama was made possible by the disaster that was George W. Bush. It was hastened by the brink of disaster faced by the United States as well as rest of the world. Yet, the challenges that Barack Obama faces on taking the oath of office will make his getting elected seem like a walk in the park.

One of the interesting elements of United States elections is the significant time period between the results of elections and the new government taking over. In most circumstances it is a good thing – as it allows for a smoother transition from one administration to the next. However, in today’s serious geo-political and socio-economic meltdown situations, Barack Obama faces a new dilemma.

On the one hand he cannot be overly aggressive in pushing for his own policies while lame-duck George W. Bush is still in office. On the other hand, he cannot simply wait for 2 months for the situation to get worse, or the wrong policies or "solutions" from being applied or tested – by an administration already having seen itself rejected to the dustbin of history.

The major challenge that President-elect Barack Obama is sure to face is the issue of unrealistic expectations.

Being able to inspire people to believe that solutions are possible, being able to suggest that change is coming and getting people out to vote are far easier than solving the actual problems in some miraculously short timeframe. On top of that, as can be seen in any country where the party comes back into power after a long time, it’s supporters (jialas), power players and constituents expect to be rewarded for their support. The thing that can save Obama from this problem is the huge turnout in the elections and the very broad range of people who swept him into power. That makes it easier for him to resist the pressure or blackmail tactics of any particular constituent or support group.

An additional challenge that he and his Administration will face is that there are no easy solutions to the problems that are faced by the United States economy, as well as the global economy. Nor is it very easy to get out of the war in Iraq – if that is what people expect to be a short and easy fix to all problems.

Another thing to keep in mind is that one of Obama’s strengths is his ability to think coolly and rationally about issues, analyze the situation, make a decision and communicate his plan. The problem is that it can also lead to analysis paralysis, especially for a relatively young, inexperienced, new leader.

It is possible for Obama to also try to please as many people as he can and end up displeasing a lot more. Even worse, being someone who appears to want to be liked by everybody, it is possible that he may want to tiptoe around some of the tough decisions that need to be made. That, in my humble opinion, would be a disaster.

The biggest strength, the biggest advantage, the biggest opportunity that Obama can leverage is the huge mandate he was given in this landslide victory. It is for this reason that his first 100 days will be far more important in real terms than in the usual symbolic terms that they are looked at for new presidents.

If he’s smart, and a man of action, he will find a strategic way to have Congress, with its Democrat majority further strengthened in this election, influence and force George W. Bush’s outgoing administration to embark on the path that Obama would like to follow. This would enable him to get the ball rolling even before his inauguration, avoid the impression of imposing himself before he assumes office and also save him from any blame that can come about from George Bush and his team still screwing things up.

Another advantage I see is that this clear mandate, given to a visionary leader with the ability to inspire his nation, is just the right shot in the arm needed by the US consumer, business and stock markets.

As I have written in these pages before, there are serious threats to the United States and global economies, but the biggest threat is a crisis of confidence. Obama’s ascension to power is sure to help revive that confidence.

As I write these lines at 5 AM on November 5 in Washington DC, I am confident that, barring any external economic events, an economic resurgence, including a stock market rebound, shall start soon. More credit will start becoming available, thawing the economic freeze that had left Main Street shuddering and Wall Street with pneumonia. I even hope that a recovery and expansion may be on the horizon as happened when the last great American President Bill Clinton came into office replacing another weak economy under another weak Bush.

So, economic recovery will be of paramount importance to Americans and the whole world. The weak economy is what helped Obama get elected, but the biggest challenges before, during and even after an economic recovery will be foreign affairs and undoing the damage done by the Bush Administration.

My advice to President Barack Obama would be to therefore embark on aggressive efforts to resolve the Middle East and Palestinian, as well as the Kashmir issues. I would also encourage him to immediately start dialogue with Iran and other countries that George W. Bush was busy burning un-built bridges with.

But Obama has to do so in a friendly yet firm manner. It is time for America to assume its place as leader of the free world, willing, able and ready to use its power and influence to do good and effect real positive change around the world and achieving things that no past American President had the willingness or courage to do. That is the audacity of my hope for President Barack Obama.

Imran Anwar is a New York and Miami based Pakistani-American entrepreneur, Internet pioneer, inventor, writer and TV personality. He can be reached through his web site http://imran.com and imran@imran.com