Here’s a copy of a letter I e-mailed [in 2002] to Rochelle Riley of the Detroit Free Press in response to her September 2002 editorial “Nobody’s Like Bill [Clinton, that is]—Let’s Get Him Back.”
As for citizenship (by birth) and allegiance, I’m American. However, as for ethnicity, I’m half Kenyan. In the aftermath of the two terrorist attacks on the US Embassies in Africa, I expected then-President Clinton to hit hard and fast. After all, two sets of my people, American and Kenyan, had been brutally murdered and both countries had been attacked. In addition, thousands of Africans had been horribly maimed: legs, arms, genitals, eyes, were severed and these people had the prospect of horribly maimed lives set before them.
And surely, since these weren’t the first terrorist attacks on the US/US assets, I felt sure that this president would take military steps to ensure that any more prospective terrorists would think twice before attacking the US in the future. I was sure that the so-dubbed “First Black President,” best friend to Vernon Jordan, lover of black music, etc. would avenge the murders of his American countrymen and his adopted African brethren. I was wrong.
But surely, he would go after the mastermind of these attacks and all the others, Osama bin Laden! Now I find out, from one of former President Clinton’s own officials [sic], [Mansoor Ijaz] that bin Laden was offered to him on a silver platter by Sudan, and he refused to take him.
But surely, he would offer state-of-the-art medical attention and pensions to all of those Africans who lost livelihoods and aid to the families of the murdered. After all, these are our allies and the murdered and maimed were working alongside or for the Americans! Nothing from the “first Black President” but sincere-sounding words.
To paraphrase the words of King Solomon, pretty words hide a wicked heart. Or a cowardly one, for that matter. This man knew all the right words to say to black Americans. Knew all the fronts to put on. Knew all the frauds to perpetrate. And we bought the game, hook, line and sinker. But when push came to shove, he abandoned all Americans, black ones, white ones and all the other ones. He folded like the empty suit that he is.
It’s hard for most people to say that they’ve been wrong about a person or a subject, and it took me some time to admit that I was wrong about William J. Clinton. But in the face of this man’s inaction or bad decision making in the wake of the 1993 WTC attack, the Khobar Towers attack, the Somalia debacle, The US Embassy bombings, the USS Cole bombing and, yes the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01–if OBL had been in custody, the latter would have been less likely to occur–I have no other choice but to say it again: I was wrong.
And so are you.
BTW, I never got a response from Ms. Riley.
You’d think some people would have figured this out by now. The residents of Harlem lament the scarcity of the “first black president” at his highly-touted Harlem office. Apparently some are Cluebat Immune. Pitiful.
Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.
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