In his autobiographical book “Dreams from My Father,” Barack Obama paints a heroic picture of his father as having emerged from a poor Kenyan village, where he was nothing more than a simple goat herder, to become a Harvard-educated economist, destined to return to Africa to fulfill his promise.
Unfortunately, the reality is much bleaker than the tale Obama tells in his book.
In truth, Barack Obama senior, Obama’s father, was a polygamist who had already abandoned one wife and child in Africa when he met Obama’s mother in Hawaii.
After being educated at Harvard, Obama senior returned to Africa, abandoning Obama and his mother, to live the life of a chronic alcoholic who ultimately killed himself in his second drink-induced car accident, while driving drunk on the streets of Nairobi.
The truth about Obama’s father was first exposed by London’s Daily Mail in a January 2007 exposé whose details remain unchallenged even today, as Obama leads in delegate count in the race for the Democratic Party’s 2008 presidential election.
Sharon Churcher, the author of the Daily Mail’s 2007 exposé, confirmed to WND today in a telephone interview from London that, as far as she knows, her original report remains accurate.
Rob Crilly, the free-lance journalist in Africa who did much of the on-site first-hand interviews with Obama Senior’s family and acquaintances in Kenya, also confirmed to WND in a telephone interview from Nairobi that he has learned of nothing since 2007 that would contradict the published 2007 Daily Mail story.
Obama begins his 1995 book “Dreams from My Father” with a scene from 1982, when Obama, having just turned 21, was shaken in his New York apartment by a phone call from Africa telling him his father had been killed in a car accident.
The narrative omits that Obama senior killed himself driving drunk.
A few pages later, Obama traces his father’s history in Kenya back to the time he herded goats while attending the local “British colonial school.”
Obama claims his father showed such “great promise” that he won a scholarship to study in Nairobi and then, “on the eve of Kenyan independence, he had been selected by Kenyan leaders and American sponsors to attend a University in the United States.”
Obama proudly tells the reader his father joined “the first large wave of Africans to be sent forth to master Western technology and bring it back to forge a new, modern Africa.”
Again, Obama carefully omits the underside of the story, that his father at age 23 headed off to a university education in Hawaii, abandoning the Africa girl named Kezia he had married at age 18.
Nor does Obama mention that Kezia was then pregnant with his father’s first son.
Obama magnifies his father’s time in Hawaii, claiming he arrived at the University of Hawaii as the institution’s first African student who “studied econometrics, worked with unsurpassed concentration, and graduated in three years at the top of his class.”
Obama notes his father’s friends “were legion, and he helped organize the International Students Association, of which he became the first president.”
He omits any mention of his father’s continued success with women.
The Daily Mail again presented the underside of the story, reporting Obama senior was a “slick womanizer” who persuaded Obama’s mother, a “naïve 18-year-old white girl, to marry him, without disclosing to her that he had left behind in Africa a wife he had not divorced.”
Obama presents a Hollywood version of his parents’ romance, claiming his father met his mother in a Russian-language course at the university, “an awkward, shy American girl, only 18, and they fell in love.”
“The girl’s parents, wary at first, were won over by his [Obama senior’s] charm and intellect,” Obama continues his narrative, “the young couple married, and she bore them a son, to whom he bequeathed his name.”
So, Obama junior was born in August 1961.
Two years later, Obama senior won another scholarship, this time to pursue a Ph.D. at Harvard.
Obama explains his father’s decision to abandon his mother and him in Hawaii by arguing that the scholarship from Harvard did not include “the money to take his new family with him.”
In the next sentence, Obama intentionally skips over several key details.
After noting his father’s decision to leave Hawaii for Cambridge, Mass., Obama explains: “A separation occurred, and he returned to Africa to fulfill his promise to the continent. The mother and child stayed behind, but the bond of love survived the distances …”
The ellipsis omits the fact that Obama’s mother divorced his father when she discovered “his bigamous double life,” the Daily Mail disclosed.
While at Harvard, Obama senior had an affair with yet another woman, an American-born teacher named Ruth, whom he met at Harvard while yet married to Obama’s mother and to his also-abandoned wife in Africa.
Obama returned to Kenya and fathered two more children by Kezia.
Somewhere in that period, he also married Ruth, who followed him to Africa from Harvard.
The Daily Mail quotes a relative of Obama as saying, “We told him [Obama] how his father would still go to Kezia and it was during these visits that she became pregnant with two more children. He also had two children with Ruth.”
The Daily Mail further reveals that Ruth finally left Obama senior “after he repeatedly flew into whiskey-fueled rages, beating her brutally.”
“Friends say drinking blighted his [Obama senior’s] life,” the Daily Mail reported, “he lost both his legs while driving under the influence and also lost his job.”
There ended Obama senior’s brilliant civil service career as a top, Harvard-trained econometrician working in the newly independent government of Jomo Kenyatta, on a mission to bring his economically backward country into prosperity.
According to the Daily Mail, even after losing both legs in the car accident, Obama senior fathered yet another son, his eighth child, by yet another woman, and “continued to come home drunk.”
Then, on Obama’s 21st birthday, Obama senior put an end to the sad drama by killing himself in yet another car crash, once again driving drunk.
The Daily Mail quotes Kenyan writer Philip Ochieng as saying, “He [Obama senior] was excessively fond of Scotch. He had fallen into the habit of going home drunk every night. His boasting proved his undoing and left him without a job, plunged him into prolonged poverty and dangerously wounded his ego.”
“He was a menace to life,” Ochieng said. “He had many extremely serious accidents. Both his legs had to be amputated. They were replaced with crude false limbs made from iron.”
“He was just like Mr. Toad [from the “Wind in the Willows” story],” wrote Ochieng, “very arrogant on the road, especially when he had whisky inside. I was not surprised when I learned how he died.”
“Why didn’t my father return?” is a question Obama admits in his autobiography has haunted him since the age of five or six.
In the autobiography, readers learn that Obama’s Kenyan father was Muslim, only indirectly, when Obama explains to a girlfriend in Hawaii that his name was not “Barry,” as he was then commonly called, but “Barack,” a name Barack explains means “blessed” in Arabic.
He further explains that the name was his father’s, and that “my grandfather was a Muslim.”
In 1986, four years after his father’s death, Obama went to Africa for the first time, to be confronted with the truth of his father’s life and to meet half-brothers and half-sisters he never knew he had.
In Africa for the first time, Obama admits he was told the truth, perhaps for the first time in his life.
He recounts a conversation with Zeituni, his father’s sister.
“Zeituni stopped walking and turned to me,” Obama wrote in his autobiography. “‘After your father went off to live with his American wife, Ruth … well, he would go to Kezia sometimes. You must understand that traditionally she was still his wife. It was during such a visit that Kezia became pregnant with Abo, the brother you haven’t met. The thing was, Kezia also lived with another man briefly during this time. So when she became pregnant again, with Bernard, no one was sure who – ‘ Zeituni stopped, letting the thought finish itself.”
While admitting he had learned the truth about his father when visiting Africa for the first time, Obama still sought to see his father as the victim.
Zeituni, for instance, explains that “the problem [with Obama senior] was that his heart was too big.”
She also explains that Obama senior was the first to study abroad, the first who had ever ridden in an airplane, and had taken on too large a burden trying to help his family in Africa and to lift Kenya into a modern economic age.
As the Daily Mail concluded, “for all Mr. Obama’s reputation for straight talking and the compelling narrative of his recollections, they are largely myth.”
“We have discovered that his father was not just a flawed individual, but an abusive bigamist and an egomaniac, whose life was ruined not by racism or corruption, but by his own weakness,” the Daily Mail wrote. “And, devastatingly, the testimony has come from Mr. Obama’s own relatives and family friends.”
The Daily Mail suggests Obama chose to present his father in a favorable light as an electoral tactic.
“Indeed, by offering up a conveniently plotted account of his personal history in this way,” Churcher wrote, “he [Obama] might even have made a pre-emptive strike on those sure to pose the awkward questions that inevitably face a serious contender for the White House.”
Regardless of the motives, in “Dreams from my Father” Obama never states precisely how many wives his father had, or how many half-brothers and -sisters he has from different mothers, whether married to his father or not.
Obama blames racism for breaking up his parents’ marriage, not his father’s polygamist ways which began when he first left Africa, before he ever met Obama’s mother in Hawaii.
In the final analysis, Obama embraces the myth, presenting his father as a victim who suffered because, as Zeituni explains in the autobiography, his “heart was too big” – not that he was a bureaucrat of modest achievement who could not overcome a fight with alcohol that ultimately cost him his life.
Media wishing to interview the author of this article, please e-mail Tim Bueler.