I was frankly shocked when I heard this today and I am not easily shocked by Obama conspiracy theories.
The first I knew of Barack Obama’s step grandmother, Sarah, was in a YouTube “video” (actually an audio recording overlaid with a translation) of Sarah Obama. Listening carefully to the tape, one can tell that Sarah Obama is not actually saying that the president-elect was born in Kenya, but rather that her stepson (Barack Obama, Sr.) was born in Kenya and that she was present. I watched the transcript, analyzed what it was really saying, and put it aside as one more mislabeled factoid against Barack Obama.
The Berg lawsuit, Berg v. Obama et al. contains an affidavit with the suit that includes a transcript of this phone conversation between Ron McRae, an American clergyman and Sarah Obama with a translator in Kenya. Here is the Berg version of the transcript in full:
Kweli Shuhudia: Hello? [Back ground music]
Ron McRae: Brother Kweli? [music] Brother Kweli? This is Brother McRae.
Kweli Shuhudia: Yes.
Ron McRae: Okay. How are you today?
Kweli Shuhudia: Now. We are okay. How are you?
Ron McRae: I’m doing very well. You said you are there with, uh, Barack Obama’s grandmother?
Kweli Shuhudia: Yes. I am just in the home now. She is right here. We’re, we’re waiting to talk in a uh long conversation. And [unitelligible] a good family and she is ready to talk.
Ron McRae: Good. She’s not there at the present?
Kweli Shuhudia: Yes. She’s here right now.
Ron McRae: Okay. Is it possible to speak to her?
Kweli Shuhudia: Yes. It is possible. I ah, along with her and her family, uh, you and me.
Ron McRae: Uh, is it possible for you to put her on the speaker phone and translate for me?
Kweli Shuhudia: Yes! Yes! I will do that.
Ron McRae: Okay.
Kweli Shuhudia: Yes?
Ron McRae: Okay.
Kweli Shuhudia: Yes. Go ahead [he then speaks to her in Swahili]
Sarah Obama: [Replies to him in Swahili]
Ron McRae: Ms. Obama?
Kweli Shuhudia: Yes go ahead.
Ron McRae: Mrs. Obama, my name is bishop Ron McRae.
Kweli Shuhudia: Ametaja bishop Ron McRae, Ron McRae. Go ahead.
Ron McRae: I am, I am the bishop of the Anabaptists Churches of North America.
Kweli Shuhudia: Yeye niaskofu Anabaptists makaisa.
Sarah Obama: Shikamooo! [Hello, good day].
Mr. Ogombe: Are you speaking English and , and we will tell her in Luo. Okay?
Ron McRae: Now give me that again. Explain it to me again.
Ogombe: It is welcome. She is very grateful for your interest.
Ron McRae: Okay. Thank you! Tell her I count it a great honor to speak to here since her son Barack Obama is running for President of the United States.
Ogombe: Eh makasema yuko kiuu mgomba Obama kwa mwenyekiti America. Yah, she says she is very helpful for got to you to please pray for Obama. She is asking you to pray for him. For Obama.
Ron McRae: Yes Sir. Uh…Ms. Obama, you can rest assured that I am praying for your son, for your grandson.
Ogombe: Yes. It is helpful also towards it is beginning to help.
Ron McRae: Okay.
Sarah Obama: [unitelligible from Ms. Obama because of room noise].
Ogombe: She says she is covet your prayers for he [unintelligible] her son.
Ron McRae: Okay. And tell her that I will be coming there in December and I would like to come by and meet with her and pray with her.
Ogombe: Yes. Ye atakuwa mwezi Desemba.
Kweli Shuhudia: In December. He will come in December and he wants to come and talk with you.
Sarah Obama: [unitelligible]
Ogombe: Oh she says you’re so encourage her. Your coming in December so you can talk together with her.
Ron McRae: Amen. I am so thankful. Could I ask her, uh, about his, uh, his actual birthplace? I would like to see hi actual birthplace when I, when I come to Kenya in December. Uh, was she present when he was, was she present when he was born in Kenya?
Ogombe to Sarah Obama: Alikuma zalima Obama [unintelligible].
Kweli Shuhudia: He is asking her, he wants to know something was ah she present when he was born?
Ogombe: Yes. She says, “Yes she was! She was present when Obama was born.”
Ron McRae: Okay.
[The transcript ends abruptly but the call continues]
Boldface and Italics added.
The shocking part is what I learned today when I found a link to the whole conversation on the excellent What’s Your Evidence? web site, a site that examines the Berg v. Obama et al., lawsuit in extreme detail. When one listens to the complete recording it becomes unavoidably clear that Obama’s step grandmother says that her grandson was born in Hawaii, in America. McRae even apologises for misunderstanding her at first. I let the reader draw their own conclusions from the recording itself (you might start around minute 5, or listen to the whole thing).
Here’s a partial transcript:
MCRAE: When I come in December. I would like to come by the place, the hospital, where he was born. Could you tell me where he was born? Was he born in Mombasa?
OGOMBE: No, Obama was not born in Mombasa. He was born in America.
MCRAE: Whereabouts was he born? I thought he was born in Kenya.
OGOMBE: No, he was born in America, not in Mombasa.
MCRAE: Do you know where he was born? I thought he was born in Kenya. I was going to go by and see where he was born.
OGOMBE: Hawaii. Hawaii. Sir, she says he was born in Hawaii. In the state of Hawaii, where his father was also learning, there. The state of Hawaii.
There are three video’s of Sarah Obama which both say or suggest that Barack Obama met his grandmother for the first time when he was in college.
Obama’s Village Kenya – In this video Obama’s Uncle says Barack Obama was in Kenya for the first time in 1978.
CNN Interview – Also says first visit to Kenya was as an adult