Brit Newspaper Performed Legwork US Media Neglected by Tracking Down 'Aunt Zeituni'

Once again it is the British newspapers that are performing the legwork that the American media oten neglects to do. In this case, it was the UK Times that tracked down Barack Obama's "Auntie Zeituni," not the "evil" Republicans as many Democrats are alleging. This is the story,  by Ben MacIntyre  and James Bone, of how they found Obama's aunt (emphasis mine):

The trail that led to “Aunt Zeituni”, the relative of Barack Obama who was traced by The Times last week, started with Mr Obama’s memoir, one of the most widely read political autobiographies of all time.

The Democrat campaign has implied that the story might have come from Republican sources – “the American people are ... pretty suspicious of things that are dumped in the marketplace 72 hours before a campaign,” said Mr Obama’s chief strategist David Axelrod yesterday.

Sorry, David, but the "nefarious" Republicans were not behind this. Just a British newspaper doing the job that the American media should, but won't, do.

In fact, the story came from a book that has been read by millions, including just about everyone connected to the Obama campaign.

Dreams From My Father was first published in 1995, and the story of how Mr Obama returned to Kenya in 1988 to trace his roots has become the cornerstone of his political biography. Yet the US media appears to have overlooked the passage indicating that at least one relative of Mr Obama’s had moved to America and might still be there.

The US media seems to be "overlooking" almost everything that might damage Barack Obama.

Two thirds of the way through the book Mr Obama’s half-sister talked about Africans who had emigrated to the West and were never heard of again, “like our Uncle Omar, in Boston . . . They’ve been lost, you see”.

A few pages later Mr Obama meets his step-grandmother, Sarah, for the first time in the village of Kogelo. On the walls of her hut are photographs of Omar, “the uncle who had left for America 25 years ago and never came back”. Touchingly, she asks the future presidential candidate if he has any news of Omar, her son and Mr Obama’s half-uncle.

“She asked if I had seen him, and I had to say no,” Mr Obama wrote. “She grunted something in Luo, then started to gather up our cups. ‘She says when you see him, you should tell him she wants nothing from him,’ Auma [Mr Obama’s half-sister] whispered. ‘Only that he should come visit his mother’.”

These brief references appeared to indicate that Omar Obama might have moved to the US in the mid1960s, at about the same time that his half-brother, Barack Hussein Obama Senior, went to Hawaii, where he met Ann Dunham, the mother of Mr Obama.

Those intriguing passages in Mr Obama’s book were first investigated by The Times during a visit to Kenya in September to interview members of the family, including “Granny Sarah”. Inquiries as to the current whereabouts of Omar elicited only vague responses – and even the suggestion, from a full brother of the missing man, that no such person existed.

The American media wouldn't even investigate Barack Obama's extensive involvement in Kenyan politics.

This triggered a six-week search, one that would lead eventually to Boston and to Aunt Zeituni. Public record searches found traces of O. Onyango Obama, Uncle Omar’s real name, in Boston. A friend and a former landlady said that he now uses the name Obama Onyango.

In the course of searching for Uncle Omar The Times found a Zeituni Onyango, who also played a prominent part in Mr Obama’s book.

In the memoir Auntie Zeituni, Uncle Omar’s sister, explained the family’s complex family tree to the future presidential candidate, introduced him to other relatives and fed him a herbal remedy for an upset stomach.

At that time Auntie Zeituni had been working at Kenya Breweries. Inquiries about her whereabouts also met a blank response from the family, however.

The Times called the Zeituni Onyango in Boston three times. The first time a woman said that she “went to California”. The second time a woman said: “She died last summer.” The third time a woman said in French that she did not know her at that address.

On visiting the housing estate, however, neighbours confirmed that she was indeed the “Auntie Zeituni” in Mr Obama’s book – as she eventually confirmed herself.

Uncle Omar has still not been found.

Kudos to the Times for persevering and actually visiting the neighborhood. Meanwhile where was the Boston Globe? Are they now putting Uncle Omar's photo on milk cartons? More likely they are letting a foreign newspaper scoop them in their own backyard again.

It was not until Wednesday evening that The Times obtained a formal identification of Ms Onyango by George Hussein, Mr Obama’s half-brother who had known her throughout his childhood.

Whatever the Democrat campaign may imply, there is nothing suspicious about the story or its timing. The only mystery, perhaps, is how so many people read Mr Obama’s book in the US without wondering what might have happened to the mysterious relative, lost in America.

But there is something suspicious about the way the American media avoids investigating anything that might embarrass their beloved Barack. And that pretty much solves the mystery about the so very convenient incuriosity of the MSM. 

2008 Presidential UK Zeituni Onyango
P.J. Gladnick's picture