Here’s one member of the Obama extended family that so far has been overlooked in this series of articles: Half-sister Auma. As usual, there are mysteries surrounding this Obama, too. One mystery involves when, exactly, Auma was born.
She’s anywhere from a year to three years older than her half-brother Barry Obama. For example, a 2012 TIME Entertainment story about Auma’s recent memoir states that Auma is older than her half-brother Barry “by one year.” Barry, we’re told, was born in August 1961, so Auma must have been born in 1960.
This 2006 story from the UK’s Times Online says that Auma was born in Kenya before her father left to study in Hawaii, where he later met and married Barry’s mother. Their common father arrived in Hawaii in the summer of 1959, according to INS records. If Auma was born before he left, then she had to have been born by the summer of 1959 or earlier, making her at least 2 years older than Barry.
This 2007 story from the UK’s Daily Mail says that Auma’s mother, Kezia (aka Grace), was 3 months pregnant with her daughter when Barack Obama Sr. (BHO Sr.) left for Hawaii in the summer of 1959, which would place Auma’s birth early in 1960, making her at least 18 months older than Barry, unless Barry, too, was born early in the year, albeit in 1961. A New York Times story from 2008 also states that Kezia was pregnant with Auma when her husband left for the USA in 1959.
Back to 2012 and we find Piers Morgan interviewing Auma on CNN. The story accompanying the video says that Auma is “older by roughly three years.” Therefore, if Barry was truly born in August 1961, then Auma had to have been born in the summer of 1958, more or less.
Interestingly enough, in the video Auma says that she took part in Barry’s campaign. Whether or not this is legal is open to interpretation and requires investigation into her status in the USA. Did she have a green card, for example? Was she a volunteer or was she compensated? Another Obama relative, illegal alien Aunt Zeituni, was found to have illegally donated to Barry’s campaign in 2008; the campaign claimed that it would return the money. Not known is whether or not anyone was charged with regard to the crime. It’s also a crime for anyone to “facilitate” such a “transaction,” which arguably happened because, unlike with other candidates, software used by the Obama campaign website allowed foreign donations.
A sidebar to this story further confuses the issue of when Auma was born: [emphasis added to quotes]
Auma Obama was born in 1960 and is a year older than her President half-brother.
She is the daughter of the President’s father Barack Obama Senior and his first wife Kezia.
In 1959, Barack Obama Senior, left Africa to take up a scholarship at the University of Hawaii. Auma appears to have been conceived when [her] father was home on holiday in Kenya.
If Kezia was pregnant when her husband left for Hawaii, then it wouldn’t have been necessary for him to return “on holiday” to impregnate her, if Auma was born by early 1960. The story gives no birth date, nor does it explain the source of this information about BHO Sr. returning to Kenya “on holiday.” Did the reporter know the birth date and invent a story to prevent gossip?
Any return to Kenya seems unlikely, as BHO Sr.’s INS records are replete with sad tales about his impoverishment. How could he afford to fly home to Kenya “on holiday?”
In addition, also odd, when asked in 1961 for the names of his children, BHO Sr. named only Roy (aka Malik, Auma’s older brother) and not Auma who, by any version of the story, was already born, whether in 1958, 1959, or 1960.
If Auma was born after her father left for the USA, did her mother not bother to write to tell him the happy news?
Another mystery involves when, exactly, Auma first met her now-famous half-brother. There’s an interesting 2008 story in the German media about Auma, which has been run through translation software [as have other articles cited from the German press]:
U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama had his half-sister Auma impressed by his skills at the stove. When she visited him in 1982 in Chicago, he had cooked Indonesian for them. In an interview with The Stern, the 48 -year-old also tells of her first meeting between the two in Kenya as young adults. [This story was written in July, so Auma must have had her birthday before then.] …
“He had such a small car, in which he hardly could fit. We got in and did not stop talking from then on until I went away again,” she describes her first encounter; more encounters in Kenya followed, where she drove him with her VW Beetle to [meet] relatives. …
So this story clearly puts Barry and Auma together, in 1982, in Chicago. The only problem with that scenario is that Barry was allegedly attending Columbia University in New York City (NYC) from summer 1981 until he graduated in 1983. (He went to NYC after his 3-week sojourn in 1981 to Pakistan, where he hunted partridges). So Barry wasn’t in Chicago in 1982. Did he and Auma first meet somewhere else around that time? Perhaps in Kenya? This 2004 story from an African paper, The Nation, suggests so:
A Sunday Nation team that set out to trace Obama’s roots was surprised to find that, unknown to many, Obama has actually been to this village twice. First in 1983, when he had come to mourn his late father, Barack Hussein Obama, who had died in Nairobi in 1982 …
Biographer David Mendell agreed that Barry first visited Kenya in 1983 (p. 355, 2007). The book also states that Auma took a well-known photograph of Barry with his step-grandmother Sarah, who’s depicted stroking his cheek (p. 17). Therefore, Auma and Barry did meet on that first trip to Kogelo. Elsewhere, Auma’s mother Kezia states that Barry’s mother also came to Kenya after BHO Sr. died, and the erstwhile co-wives became “like sisters.”
Remember that TIME Entertainment Q&A from 2012? That story says that in 1984 Auma “met the President initially in Chicago when he was a community organizer.”
Whether 1982 or 1984, Barry was not in Chicago then, nor was he a community organizer. The official story says that he was at Columbia University in NYC from 1981-1983. After graduating, he worked in NYC through mid-1985 at Business International Corporation, NY Public Interest Research Group, and then City College (or City University). If any of those jobs could be called community organizing, then he was doing that in NYC, not in Chicago. Barry didn’t go to Chicago to work as a community organizer until June 1985. (See our O Timeline for details and links.) So where might these half-siblings have first met? In 1982 or in 1984 or in 1985, but somewhere other than Chicago? Where might that have been? Kenya? And why did the story change after 2004, after Obama’s compelling speech at the Democrat Convention, after he decided to run for president?
This 2012 Daily Mail story moves the timeline of their first meeting to a more general “1980s when he [Barry] was working as a community organiser,” but the location remains the same: Chicago.
This New York Times story from 2008 says that Barry first corresponded with Auma by mail after their father died, in 1982, and it also says they first met in Chicago “in the 1980s.” Oddly enough, the story says that Auma took a Greyhound bus from Carbondale, IL, where she was visiting a German friend, to Chicago. The trip took 7 hours, she says, yet the distance is only about 300 miles. (Slow bus; it’s a straight shot up a wide interstate.) What’s odd is that Barry, in his competing memoir, claims to have picked Auma up at the airport. He even remembers Auma going through customs, something she wouldn’t do if she arrived from Carbondale (a college town, btw). What was not revealed in the story is where Auma was prior to arriving in Carbondale, or how she got to Carbondale, and when.
This 2008 story from the UK’s Guardian supplies some answers. Auma arrived in the USA from Germany, to visit that friend in Carbondale, apparently. She says the visit took place in “the mid-Eighties,” during which she also went to Chicago to spend 10 days with Barry. Auma said,
I was very active in political awareness work in Germany and I saw that he had the same energy and passion to make a difference and to change people’s lives.
(One wonders if they ever considered that many people don’t want some elite someone to come in and “change” their lives.)
Whatever the case, this 2008 story seems to indicate that Auma’s activism came a decade later, although it’s possible that these weren’t her first or only political activities.
In the mid-1990s she was invited by German television to speak about the some of the vicious attacks on foreigners that were taking place in the country at that time. She worked for the local newspaper in Bayreuth and organized seminars for the [socialist/Marxist] Friedrich Ebert Foundation. She found part-time work as an interpreter at trade fairs, and was chosen among thousands of applicants for admittance into the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin. In the capital city she lived in the multi-cultural neighborhood of Kreuzberg and, according to Stern, joined a “glamorous clique” of successful black women from the arts and business.
Like her most-famous half-brother and their common father, Auma was quite interested in labor issues (she wrote her dissertation on that subject), racism, Marxist/socialist ideology, and political activism.
In her own memoir, Auma apparently is coy about the date she visited Barry in Chicago. This NBC News story’s headline places the visit “in the 1980s.” An excerpt from Auma’s book recounts how Barry took her to see the “projects” in Chicago and to meet his co-workers:
Barack explained to me that he worked for a priest and that his office and his colleagues’ offices were in this community center.
Was that priest the radical Father Pfleger? Barry’s boss, according to Auma was “an older white man with a charismatic aura.” Were the priest and Barry’s boss different men? Hard to tell from the excerpt.
In the story quoted above, Barry also told Auma that Maya, his “little sister”, lived in Hawaii with “her” maternal grandmother, while their mother remained in Indonesia.
From November 1984 until sometime in 1988 (some stories say for 5 years), Stanley Ann Dunham worked for the Asia Development Bank in Pakistan. Coincidentally, June 1985 through May 1988 is the official time frame for Barry’s community organizing in Chicago. Maya did attend Punahou School, in Honolulu, from 1984 to 1988, after which she attended Barnard College in NYC. If Maya was in Hawaii and their mother was in Pakistan, why would Barry tell Auma that his mother was in Indonesia? If Auma originally said that she first met Barry in 1982, why then did she change her story?
Was that white boss John McKnight, for whom Barry worked as a trainer for three years in Chicago, from 1982 to 1984 McKnight said, when Barry was supposed to be at Columbia in NYC (but where nobody remembers him)?
Fox News contacted some 400 of his classmates and found no one who remembered him.
Nobody remembered Barry at Columbia. Similarly, few claim to remember Auma at the college she attended in Germany, where she studied languages, specifically German.
[T]oday hardly anyone can remember Auma Obama at the University of Heidelberg. Herbert Ernst Wiegand, already at that time a professor at the Department of Germanic Studies, told SPIEGEL ONLINE :
“Of a woman with this name I have no memory – although there really were not many colored students in Heidelberg at the time.”
Questions to other former Germanic and philological faculty yield similar results. Gert Schneider, Ex – Head of the International Office in Heidelberg says, “The name is familiar, but it lacks the face.” …
However, her former PhD supervisor says he very accurately remembers Auma Obama. … [He is] Alois Wierlacher, the now retired founder of Intercultural German Studies.
(Shades of the narrative about Stanley Ann Dunham at the East-West Center, with her own PhD supervisor Alice Dewey.)
Apparently Auma’s German education was facilitated by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), which sounds like the German equivalent of Hawaii’s East-West Center’s foreign outreach. The story quoted above elaborates on Auma’s political activism. With regard to what Auma may have told Barry about Germany:
The bad impression may also be related to the years of gruesome attacks on foreigners that occurred in Germany – in Hoyerswerda, in Mölln in Solingen. Auma Obama felt at this time apparently threatened, as a black in Germany. In January 1996, after an arson attack on a refugee center, … she was a guest on ARD [a German radio station].
The story says that Auma held “political seminars” for the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in the mid-90s. The story also gives some tantalizing hints about the cultural milieu in which she found herself:
Originally from the U.S. opera singer Jocelyn B. Smith is quoted as saying : “For us black women this togetherness was a kind of relaxation, a place where you could be what you are, where you did not have to constantly watch what you said. During the discussions we focused on black self-confidence and our African roots.”
It seems that, like her half-brother Barry, Auma also traveled in elite circles. (Smith received a gold record for singing the title song from the movie The Lion King, among many other notable achievements.)
Also like Barry, Auma seems to perceive racism as a generalized condition among whites. She seems to believe that she knows what white Germans really think and that all white Germans are raised to be racist:
Today Auma has mixed feelings about her time in Germany, the country that supported and educated her during her formative years. She told her brother,
‘Germans always like to think that they have a very liberal attitude towards Africans. But when you scratch the surface you can see that they they still carry around the prejudices of their childhood. In German fairy tales black people always appear as the bogey man. You don’t forget things like that so easily.‘
Have you ever read a German fairy tale with a black bogey man? I read a lot a fairy tales as a child. I don’t remember race entering into any of them.
One wonders whether Auma believes that particularly bitter Germans also cling to guns, religion, and xenophobia.
So what’s the story here? Are we dealing with deliberate obfuscation, very poor memories, or simply a matter of rotten journalism when it comes to covering any Obama?
Are reporters so under the Obama spell that they get discombobulated in the presence of such august excellencies, and so they put aside all their training and simply take at face value whatever they’re told, with no fact checking to follow?
Why are corrections not made to these articles, when information to the contrary comes to light?
One thing becomes clear; the various Obamas have much in common:
So many of them seem to feel the need to set up foundations or charities (e.g., Malik: Barack H. Obama Foundation; Auma: Sauti Kuu Foundation; Sarah: Mama Sarah Obama Foundation; Mark: Mark Obama Ndesandjo Foundation Limited).
So many of them seem to have very poor memories with regard to when and where events happened, or if they even happened at all.
Here’s just one more example of an Obama mystery, which turned up during research for this post:
Strangely, Kezia and Ann became great friends, writing to each other often. So when Ann died of breast cancer in 1995, it was Kezia who formed the link to Barack’s past; Kezia who now takes pride of place at special family gatherings and Kezia who was there to celebrate Barack Jr’s 2005 inauguration as an Illinois senator.
Anyone familiar with the official narrative knows that “Ann” died from ovarian cancer, but we’ve also been told that she died from uterine cancer. This was nicely resolved when an official biography decided to elaborate: she had uterine cancer, which spread to her ovaries. Breast cancer is a totally new diagnosis. Just another Obama mystery to ponder.