March 04, 2008

Comment of Obama's East African Robe

Recently Senator Barack Obama was shown wearing an East African or Somali robe. The West has completely misrepresented this African culture of East Africa. It has nothing to do or with the Muslim or Islam clothing. In fact Muslim clothing is more directed to woman. The male population in the Muslim countries or African countries can be wearing anything from the typical Western business suit to a loin cloths of some tropical country.

Bishari or Beni Amer Ethiopians in the province of Eritrea. The design has nothing to do with religion or Islam. (Golden Lion An Expedition to Abyssinia, by Hartlmaier)

An Afar from Ethiopia wearing the fashion that Obama was wearing in Kenya.(Courtesy:A Cure for Serpents)

Ethiopia Afar Tribemen wearing the Shemma. The heat of the lowlands compels them to wear the robe in such fashion but in the Highlands of Ethiopia, the fashion used is different. Due to the cool climate, it is wrapped around the shoulders by Christians, Muslims and Animists men and women.(Ethiopian Tourist Organization)

The African fashion in the Sudan where Islamic Arab culture is eroding the African Zaghawa culture. The lone person on the right is wearing the Traditional African garb (from:The Life of my Choice)

A Beja Tribe that inhabits from Ethiopia to Egypt. (Courtesy:The History of the Beja)

The so-called Somali clothing that Obama is featured is also practiced by a number of tribes in the horn of Africa. The Afars, also known as Danakils or Adals wear a similar clothing whether they are Muslims or animists or Christians. In addition to the Somal, the Saho and Tigre people also wear a similar fashion. In Ethiopia, the material used is usually made from local fabric called Netela or Shemma. A number of other tribes also wear this style across Ethiopia and even up to Egypt. It is not surprising that the Ancient Egyptians also wore such type of fashion.
Another misinterpretation by the uninformed is the name Barack as a Muslim word. In fact it has nothing to do with adherence to a certain faith. In Arabic it means Blessing. In Swahili it also means Blessing and is derived from Arabic language (Arabic is not a religion but a language). Within Ethiopia the equivalent of Barack is Bereket in Amharic or Berekhet in Tigre and Tigrigna. The word also is used by many of the other tribes in Ethiopia. The meaning is still Blessing.