Zawahiri gives Obama the Belafonte treatment

posted at 10:40 am on November 19, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

If you can imagine Ayman al-Zawahiri singing The Banana Boat Song, perhaps you’ll get an idea of the irony — and the insult — of his message today to Barack Obama.  Zawahiri called Obama a “house slave”, which other translators changed to “house Negro”, in condemning Obama’s election.  If that sounds familiar, it should:

Al-Qaida’s No. 2 leader used a racial epithet to insult Barack Obama in a message posted Wednesday, describing the president-elect in demeaning terms that imply he does the bidding of whites.

The message appeared chiefly aimed at persuading Muslims and Arabs that Obama does not represent a change in U.S. policies. Ayman al-Zawahri said in the message, which appeared on militant Web sites, that Obama is “the direct opposite of honorable black Americans” like Malcolm X, the 1960s African-American rights leader.

In al-Qaida’s first response to Obama’s victory, al-Zawahri also called the president-elect — along with secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice — “house negroes.”

Speaking in Arabic, al-Zawahri uses the term “abeed al-beit,” which literally translates as “house slaves.” But al-Qaida supplied English subtitles of his speech that included the translation as “house negroes.”

Zawahiri channeled entertainer Harry Belafonte, who leveled the same slur against both Powell and Rice.  After Powell publicly rebuked Belafonte for the insult, Belafonte hardly appeared contrite over it.  In fact, he called Powell a “sell out”, using the same logic as Zawahiri uses here.

So what prompted this outburst?  Well, the sun rose in the east, and the Caliphate remains a fevered fantasy, and that’s probably enough.  Zawahiri objected to Obama’s plan to escalate the effort against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Apparently, Zawahiri thinks Malcolm X wouldn’t do that, or profess alliance to Israel, which are both true, and both as pointless as Zawahiri himself, since Obama has never professed to be a disciple of Malcolm X anyway.

At the least, it shows that racism and profiling exist in far greater quantities outside the US than within it.  Except for the occasional exceptions to the rule, of course, like Harry Belafonte.

Update (AP): The NEFA Foundation has the full transcript in PDF.

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Considering the amount of hoaxes going around these days I plugged these words into a “online translator” program and came up snake eyes.

Are there other spellings for these words?

“abeed al-beit,”

DSchoen on November 19, 2008 at 2:58 PM

What happened to the comments?

baldilocks on November 19, 2008 at 2:58 PM

Oh there they are.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar was the main factor. Ever seen that guy co-pilot a plane and then get food poisoning?

Del Dolemonte on November 19, 2008 at 2:05 PM

LOL. You’re making me feel old.

baldilocks on November 19, 2008 at 2:59 PM

Are there other spellings for these words?

“abeed al-beit,”

DSchoen on November 19, 2008 at 2:58 PM


It’s well-known that the word means slave and/or black/Negro.

baldilocks on November 19, 2008 at 3:01 PM

So what prompted this outburst?

It’s all about the Islam. Malcolm was a Muslim and Obama isn’t. :::yes I know what some of you are thinking:::

Like the Left, Muslims think they own blacks.

baldilocks on November 19, 2008 at 3:03 PM

Some Arab states still have slavery. Our State Department has repeatedly been contacted about it.

Didn’t Clinton prevent an investigation of Camel Jockeys? Not a joke, these were supposed to be young kids who ride in races and are starved and deprived of goodness knows what.

He called off the State Department according to Dick Morris or some source like him. Hey, those fixers may be natural for The One’s administration…

Am I turning into a charter member of the tinfoil hat club?

P. S. The liberals will blame the remarks on our making war over there. You know, just lashing out verbally. It will become President Bush’s fault. Keith O. will have a hard time with it, given the limited intelligence of his audience.

IlikedAUH2O on November 19, 2008 at 3:03 PM

It’s all about the Islam. Malcolm was a Muslim and Obama isn’t. :::yes I know what some of you are thinking:::

Like the Left, Muslims think they own blacks.

baldilocks on November 19, 2008 at 3:03 PM

Some places that is literally true..Everyone Talks about Darfur just talk but I guess bringing up the root cause is too unpleasant.

Dr Evil on November 19, 2008 at 3:17 PM

Some places that is literally true..

That was my point and why they call us slaves.

baldilocks on November 19, 2008 at 3:23 PM

baldilocks on November 19, 2008 at 3:03 PM

You have to wonder if Al Zawahiri in his twisted way is just trying to establish Pecking Order…or this is a form of “Trolling” he is trying to bait, Barack Obama into a response. This wouldn’t be a good time to give 43 an excuse to play whack em all…he is a lame duck, what’s the downside of sending a hellfire in response to Dr Ali Babble’s cave door?

Dr Evil on November 19, 2008 at 3:23 PM

He’s frontin’ for his homeboys. /South Central lingo

baldilocks on November 19, 2008 at 3:28 PM

Mr. Z better hope that The One is of forgiving nature, otherwise, come January 20th.

The Predators are going to be stacked over his hiding plan until it looks like O’Hara airport at rush our.

El Coqui on November 19, 2008 at 4:05 PM

Well, well, Malcolm X is idolized by this Jihadist nutcup. Puts that whole black liberation/black panther party business to rest. Terrorists

Oh, yeah, an Zawahiri is rrrrrrrraaaaaaacccccccciiiiiiiisssssssttttttttt!

How long before Obama starts apologizing to his world citizens?

HornetSting on November 19, 2008 at 4:16 PM

DSchoen on November 19, 2008 at 2:58 PM

I can tell you it’s correct. ‘al beit’ is a (poor, IMO) transliteration of the Arabic word for house. The ‘al’ is an article that signals it being definite. “abeed” (literally: slave) is indefinite, an indefinite noun followed by one marked as definite is known as an idaalfa structure– turns the whole phrase into, literally “slave of the house.”

xSerenityx on November 19, 2008 at 4:50 PM

Other than his skin color Obama is not a “black American”. Black American connotes a multi-generational struggle which began in the dark holds of slave ships. Obama shares none of that history. In fact, save for the Rev. Wright, whom Obama eventually eschewed, association with influential black (men and women) in Obama’s political rise is a rarity

Pacific Daily News 11/19/08

The context of the op/ed the quote came from refered to Obama’s support of Planned Parenthood and FOCA. However, I thought it is an important angle to the argument that voters superficially voted for Obama soley on his skin color.
In other words, the American black community has nothing in common with Barack Obama other than his skin color.

So Ayman al-Zawahiri calling Obama a “house negro” is a major fail. The outrage about racism is hilariouis. Rather we (those that saw past skin color) should laugh at the fact that Ayman al-Zawahiri fell for the superficial rhetoric that Obama made election history soley based on his skin color!

geckomon on November 19, 2008 at 6:58 PM

Islam does not believe in Free Will.

Allah ordains everything, down to the last jot and tittle of behavior and destiny. We are all puppets in his thrall, for his inscrutable amusement. All Muslims are slaves of Allah. The only insult here is that Zawahiri is saying that, instead of being Allah’s tool, Obama is the pawn of infidel dogs.

The more they attack the Cipher In Chief, the better it will be for all of us. Because it may galvanize the human instinct for self-preservation that the crypto-Marxist multicultural drivel has blunted in Obama’s nature.

Keep attacking, Z-man!

Maybe the fools on the Left will finally wake to the threat of imperialistic, intolerant Islam.

profitsbeard on November 19, 2008 at 7:14 PM

Malcolm X video on difference between house and field negroes.

nor on November 19, 2008 at 10:36 PM

Now its on. Doesn’t al queda know what happened to Susan Smith? Sure, she drowned her beautiful children, but the real outrage was from her lying about how a black youth hijacked her car.

Mark30339 on November 20, 2008 at 9:39 AM