Plus, he cooks daal and reads Urdu poetry?

Is our president a phenomenal mutli-culturalist or what?? Not only he has Kenyan relatives, grew up in gloriously multi-culti Hawaii, went to school in Indonesia and speaks some Bahasa Indonesia, can do Hawaiian hand gestures and African-American hand jives with equal ease, has studied and taught in the arcane language of the law, writes graceful and revealing English prose, etc etc….
But now we learn he also reads Urdu poetry and can cook some Pakistani dishes? Who knew?
This, from the interview with Anwar Iqbal that ran in Pakistan’s Dawn yesterday (HT: Tom Ricks):

    “Any plan to visit Pakistan in the near future?”
    “I would love to visit. As you know, I had Pakistani roommates in college who were very close friends of mine. I went to visit them when I was still in college; was in Karachi and went to Hyderabad. Their mothers taught me to cook,” said Mr Obama.
    “What can you cook?”
    “Oh, keema … daal … You name it, I can cook it. And so I have a great affinity for Pakistani culture and the great Urdu poets.
    “You read Urdu poetry?”
    “Absolutely. So my hope is that I’m going to have an opportunity at some point to visit Pakistan,” said Mr Obama.

Oh, and there was a bunch of politics there, too.

10 thoughts on “Plus, he cooks daal and reads Urdu poetry?

  1. Titus

    Hey, I had Persian roommates and know hot say Chetoree with great fake iranian accent. I love their food but not always the smell of cooking it. Am I also a phenomenal multiculturalist in your eyes?

  2. JES

    Titus, here’s a big “hubam” to your “chetoree”. Because my wife is one-quarter Tati (mountain Jew), I also know how to say “inja biyo” (the one Tati dialect phrase she remembers her grandfather saying to her in Baku). I guess that makes us both “multi-culti”, doesn’t it. And don’t you find it interesting that Helena thinks that Hawaii is “multi-culti”, but that apparently Israel (which I think is infinitely more “multi-culti”) isn’t?
    But the question here is not how “phenominal a multi-culturalist” Obama is. Rather, it’s how good a leader he is, and I quite frankly haven’t really seen any demonstration of this as ah… ah… well… ah… yet.
    BTW, I have also cooked daal – numerous times – and it’s no big deal.

  3. John Francis Lee

    Sorry I don’t have an opinion to offer on this piece of fluff from the White House publicity department… I did see the following, however:
    Fate of Withdrawal Pact to Be Decided at the Polls
    Last year, Iraqi and U.S. negotiators included a provision in the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) for a referendum on the presence of U.S. troops on Iraqi soil, to be held six months after the deal went into effect. Although the referendum was supposed to be conducted in July, recently Iraq’s cabinet decided to hold it along with national parliamentary elections in January 2010.
    The headline, of course, should have been Fate of Withdrawal Pact Will Not Be Decided at the Polls
    I hadn’t thought that Obama/Maliki would be able to get away with shutting down an election so important to the Iraqi people.
    I wonder if the recent spate of car-bombs and murders in Iraq can possibly be related to the latest act of betrayal on the part of “their” government?

  4. Helena

    Titus, Am I also a phenomenal multiculturalist in your eyes? Not yet sufficiently proven, I’d say. I mean, look at the other Obama accomplishments I cited, as well…
    On leadership, JES, I think he’s demonstrating it pretty well every day. Not least by the calm and effective actions he’s taking on issues vital to Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. Go ask Netanyahu how he feels about that, maybe? (Oh, but you might know that already since you seem to have been chanelling him for the past few months. What happened to all your previous pro-withdrawal convictions, anyway?)

  5. Titus

    Fair enough Helena, I will keep working on my accomplishment list but matching our president may be a tall order.

  6. JES

    …the horrendous nature of Obama’s political engagement with Pakistan.
    I guess that makes Obama a multi-culti chickenhawk who cooks daal and reads Urdu poetry.

  7. JES

    This piece by Fouad Ajami in the WSJ starts out as being quite appropriate here:
    President Barack Obama did not “lose” Iran. This is not a Jimmy Carter moment. But the foreign-policy education of America’s 44th president has just begun. Hitherto, he had been cavalier about other lands, he had trusted in his own biography as a bridge to distant peoples, he had believed he could talk rogues and ideologues out of deeply held beliefs. His predecessor had drawn lines in the sand. He would look past them.
    Ajami goes on to say that:
    Gone was the hope of transforming these regimes or making them pay for their transgressions. The theocracy was said to be waiting on an American opening, and this new president would put an end to three decades of estrangement between the United States and Iran.
    But in truth Iran had never wanted an opening to the U.S. For the length of three decades, the custodians of the theocracy have had precisely the level of enmity toward the U.S. they have wanted….

  8. JES

    What happened to all your previous pro-withdrawal convictions, anyway?
    Ooooooooh. We’re rough aren’t we. I still have those “pro-withdrawal convictions” if you’d been reading what I’ve been writing.
    At any rate, Helena, I don’t see the great leadership that you apparently do coming out of the Obama administration.

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