Yes We Can!

Muslim Matters

Yes We Can!

By Masood Rab, MMNS

Is this a new chapter in American history, a new dawn in America, a historical event which passed, one to be remembered by generations to come as a magical time captured in the minds, eyes and hearts of those who lived it?



A sign congratulating President-elect Barack Obama is seen November 19, 2008 at 57th Street Books, where Obama is a long time customer. American Sightseeing tours operates a bus that travels through Chicago’s south side and passes several Obama landmarks.

REUTERS/John Gress

I was at a victory celebration party for volunteers of Obama Campaign around 10 PM when it was becoming clear in the blaring sounds of large projected TV’s that America has shouted back loud and clear with the ballot against the Republican manipulation of the political process leading the world into a chaotic disorder from the lies to our nation and thrusting America into wars, unilaterally usurping the individual freedom of its own citizens and the sovereignty of nations, intitutionalizing torture, using executive power to enforce its own interpretation of the constitution, etc., the Bush Administration has created a paradigm of hate and fear within this country and abroad. And the current economic meltdown added more misery to America and America is angry.

America’s anger was visible in the streets of all major cities and their precincts, as throngs lined up and patiently waited to use the power of ballot. It was then that I felt an overpowering desire to stop celebrating and go back home for somber reflections.

My mind and thoughts were electrified maybe as much as those assembled at Grand Park in Chicago. I could feel a tremor jolting me as I prepared myself to become part of the historic moment captured by millions in America and all over the world. I heard CNN commentator declare the unthinkable, “CNN forecast based on exit polls declares Barack Obama, the President Elect of America!” A Black man gaining the highest office of the country where blacks were slaves a few decades ago—and voted in largely by the descendents of the white masters to lead them!

It was then that I choked up and became emotional. An African American was the popular choice of America to correct the disastrous course that America had taken in the last 8 years of Bush and Republican Party leadership. An African American with the rich heritage of living in diverse cultures emerging as a Savior of America – of whites, blacks, browns, Christians, Jews, Muslims, and countless others.

“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.” In this opening of Barack Obama’s acceptance speech, I started looking for my own inspiration as a Muslim dealt by Divine Hand to become an American citizen and take part in the process of change. Can this ‘democracy’ itself be changed from a Capitalist Democracy into a Grassroots Democracy where one would not need millions of dollars to promote governance with justice? Is it possible to expand the power of people, I am asking myself, to all the shores and the lands and the mountains and the valleys of the world? Can this dream of freedom and equality be shared by all the peoples of the world–transcending races, cultures, religions, nationalities? Can the power of Americans be channeled to bring peace to the warring world and justice to the deprived and oppressed? 

As the president-elect said, “The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America–I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you–we as a people will get there.”

And, I would add to this with my own voice a call to my Muslim brethren in America to start dreaming, planning and strategizing to expand the dream of universal justice, a Message from God Almighty, to all corners of the world and bring dignity to every human being. God Almighty Willing mankind will see that day–not in our lifetime or even this century, but the mankind will get there!


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