…Continuing, the DAILY MAIL notes the fiction around the narrative well:
A new biography of Barack Obama has established that his grandfather was not, as is related in the President’s own memoir, detained by the British in Kenya and found that claims that he was tortured were a fabrication.
‘Barack Obama: The Story’ by David Maraniss catalogues dozens of instances in which Obama deviated significantly from the truth in his book ‘Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance’. The 641-page book punctures the carefully-crafted narrative of Obama’s life.
One of the enduring myths of Obama’s ancestry is that his paternal grandfather Hussein Onyango Obama, who served as a cook in the British Army, was imprisoned in 1949 by the British for helping the anti-colonial Mau Mau rebels and held for several months.
Obama’s step-grandmother Sarah, Onyango wife, who is still living, is quoted in the future President’s memoir, as saying: ‘One day, the white man’s askaris came to take Onyango away, and he was placed in a detention camp.
‘But he had been in the camp for over six months, and when he returned to Alego he was very thin and dirty. He had difficulty walking, and his head was full of lice. He was so ashamed, he refused to enter his house or tell us what happened.’
In a 2008 interview, Sarah Obama claimed that he was ‘whipped every morning and evening’ by the British. ‘They would sometimes squeeze his testicles with metal rods. They also pierced his nails and buttocks with a sharp pin, with his hands and legs tied together. He was lucky to survive. Some of his fellow inmates were mutilated with castration pliers and beaten to death with clubs.’
But Maraniss, who researched Obama’s life in Kenya, Indonesia, Hawaii and the mainland United States, found that there were ‘no remaining records of any detention, imprisonment, or trial of Hussein Onyango Obama’. He interviewed five people who knew Obama’s grandfather, who died in 1979, who ‘doubted the story or were certain it did not happen’.
This undermines the received wisdom that Obama’s grandfather was a victim of oppression, an assumption that has in turn fuelled theories that Obama harbours an animus towards Britain based on a deeply-rooted rage about the way Onyango was treated.
John Ndalo Aguk, who worked with Onyango before the alleged imprisonment and was in touch with him weekly afterwards said he ‘knew nothing’ about any detention and would have noticed if he had gone missing for several months.
1.Hussein Onyango, Barack’s grandfather, wasn’t really imprisoned and tortured by the British. Interestingly, this destroys the case that some conservatives have made about Obama’s hatred of Great Britain – or at least the primary reason for it.
2. The father of his Indonesian stepfather, Soewarno Martodihardjo, wasn’t killed by Dutch soldiers in the fight for independence.
3.Regina, a friend at Occidental who Obama writes about as a symbol of the authentic African-American experience turns out to be based on Carolina Boss, who is white. Regina was the name of her Swiss grandmother.
5. Obama wrote that he broke up with his New York girlfriend in part because she was white. But his next girlfriend, an anthropologist in Chicago, was also white.
7. Obama wrote about his high school friends as an alienated, ne’er-do-well “club of disaffection.” In fact, most members of the “Choom Gang” were “decent students and athletes” who went on to successful careers.
8. Obama’s mother left his father, not the other way around.
And it was Barack Obama’s grandfather was the one that introduced Islam to the family:
What your grandfather respected was strength. Discipline. This is why, even though he learned many of the white man’s ways, he always remained strict about Luo traditions. Respect for elders. Respect for authority. Order and custom in all his affairs. This is also why he rejected the Christian religion, I think. For a brief time, he converted, and even changed his name to Johnson. But he could not understand such ideas as mercy towards your enemies, or that this man Jesus could wash away a man’s sins. To your grandfather, this was foolish sentiment, something to comfort women. And so he converted to Islam—he thought its practices conformed more closely to his beliefs.
Barack Obama, Dreams of my Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance (New York, NY: Crown Publishers, 2004), 395. (PDF version)