MARYAM ISMAIL Walking down Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem you can see scraps of dreams, hopes and promises of a better world. Scattered on walls of half torn down buildings, testifying the attempted greatness of the a nation within a nation, the African American advertisements for Shabazz Soda, Sister Clara Muhammad School and glory of the Nation of Islam. A faint hand painted history, chipped, wind-burned, sun-scorched, and yet defiant. Through these ragged signs and symbols we can look back into the past, when Black Power was part of an extraordinary day in the life once upon a time in Harlem. Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965, and for many, with him died the possibility of a better future. It looked that way until Obama was elected. And now I wonder if Obama could ever bring back to life the dreams of Malcolm? It doesnt look that way. Obama must have lost his running speeches or forgotten his promises completely. Or did one of those aides play a trick on him and hand him a map of the roads taken by Bush and Cheney? Remembering Malcolm X, Americas first shining black prince, I wonder is Obama just playing it safe because doing the right thing is just too deadly? I wonder what Malik El Hajj Shabazz, commonly known as Malcolm X, would say today? I know for sure that he would be hanging his head low at the morass that the world is in. I dont think that he would be all too thrilled to see a black man in the White House, running things as they are today. After his conversion to Islam he urged the Arab Muslims and African Americans, and anyone concerned, to come together under the common bond of Islam in order to form a politically active body to end the misery that this world is in. How much of what he said over 40 years ago is still vividly true. African Americans are an unwanted vestige of the past I really had hoped we had overcome. But once Obama got in the White House and the parties were over, it seemed like somebody switched the DVD from Obama to Bushbama. The revolution has been ambushed and we never even knew it. Its all because we werent really paying attention. How could we expect a systematic shift when we didnt change the game? We only moved the same pawn into a different place. Now the ruck is pretending to be the king. Malcolm would have told us: Yes, youve gotten some more respect but its not enough. Look, the masses of African Americans are still living on the edges of the American landscape. With a black man elected the president, how much has really changed? Scores of people of colour are still suffering without basic human rights. The Obama administration has reincarnated the law that protected the Hamptons killers. This law is so atrocious that Reagan banned it. It states that any American citizen, who is deemed to be against the government by virtue of his actions, speech, or associations, can be murdered by the government. This just incinerates the basic freedoms of the constitution. Why bring it back? To take down American Imam Anwar Awlaki, who was held for over a year. And now they want to kill him? Which one of us is next? This is so scary that it makes all of those old American movies, about the Soviet era and the horrors of communism look like comedies. With the recent, mind-boggling trial of Afia Siddiqui, the ambush and arrest of Daniel Maldonado and his children, and torture of Maher Arrar, where can anyone, caught in this web of terror, go to find recourse? The US courts? Impossible, like Malcolm said: Thats like running from the wolf to the fire. I am praying that Obama has the audacity to change and lay this menace and bloodlust to rest. Khaleej Times