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Don`t Mention The Luo
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January 31, 2009, 05:08 PM
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The New York Times frontpages a long and peculiar story on the Kenyan election a year ago: Secrecy Surrounds Kenyan Election Poll. As you`ll recall, controversy over the vote-counting ended with a 1000 people getting killed before a powersharing agreement in which the Kikuyu president gave the Luo tribe`s paladin, Raila Odinga, the #2 job in the government.

The main point of interest to Americans in this whole story is, of course, that President Obama is half-Luo. Indeed, Odinga claimed during the fighting he launched, after one of Obama`s calls to him, that Obama is his first cousin (which is dubious). But the New York Times never mentions the words "Luo" or "Obama" in the entire 1900-word article!

I suspect this is the beginning of a trend. We`ll continue to hear more and more about the inner workings of Kenyan politics without ever being told why they are so important, kind of like how the New York Times devotes more coverage to Israel than to Mexico, without explaining why Israel is more interesting than the country next door.