Obama’s shoes make history

Navid Nicole Nonahal

President Obama’s promise of change, unity and traditionalism is on the horizon, as 60-year-old rivals might be seeing eye-to-eye.

Jews and Arabs have been in an ongoing dispute for the past six decades.  While many attempts have been made to negotiate a two-state solution, which includes an independent Palestinian state alongside an independent Jewish state (although Israel was established in 1948), the two societies have not been able to reach an agreement on territorial division.

The conflict goes beyond land marking.  It is a disagreement between cultures, religions, views and opinions.

Nonetheless, after 60 years, Israelis have demonstrated their acceptance of Arab culture, values and morals as they analyzed President Obama’s recent photo taken by White House photographer Pete Souza.

Although not a Jewish custom, many Israelis interpreted the photo taken on June 8, 2009, in the Oval Office of President Obama, displaying the sole of his shoes while talking on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as an “insult” to Israel.

“The journalists on Tuesday called the image insulting, since in many parts of the region, it is considered an insult to show someone the sole of your shoe,” reported CBS News.

Souza, met President-elect Obama on his first day in the Senate in January 2005 when he was sworn in as a Democrat from Illinois.  He followed Obama for his first year and eventually wrote his first book “The Rise of Barack Obama,” which made it onto the New York Times bestseller list.

“My relationship with the president-elect is a professional relationship. I’m not his friend, I don’t look at myself as his friend,” said Souza in a Jan. 15, 2009, interview with ABC News, following his appointment as official chief White House photographer.

“I’m there to document for history and I think he understands that role, but I do think it’s something that I have to be conscious of and I’ll probably be explaining to his aides over the years the importance of documenting things even when they’re not going well. That in the long run is good for the American people — to see pictures in all kinds of situations involving the president. And again — maybe not right away, maybe 10 years from now, maybe 50 years from now — but I really want to impress upon them the need to document the presidency for history with photographs,” he added in the ABC interview.

Congratulations to both gentlemen as they have gotten one step closer to their lifelong goals and promise to America.

Souza did not quite wait 10 years or 50 years.  He documented history through his photograph, as he intentionally displayed a different “kind of situation involving the President.”

And as for President Obama, with every good intention, he unintentionally, and at his own expense I must add, helped two enemies come together in observance of a custom, by defining and analyzing the president’s shoes within the political globe.