President Obama’s half-brother has sold a handwritten letter the president sent him 20 years ago – revealing he planned to venture into politics to tackle ‘some serious issues blacks face here’.
It is the third personal note Malik Abongo ‘Roy’ Obama has auctioned in recent years.
But this, dated 23 July 1995, is perhaps the most revealing about the president-to-be’s political ambitions.
‘Some colleagues of mine here have talked me into running for the Illinois State Senate (like being an MP for a province),’ Obama, then a 33-year-old lawyer in Chicago, wrote to his paternal brother in Kenya.
‘I have agreed, since I have an interest in politics to deal with some serious issues blacks face here.’
He adds: ‘Of course, it involves a lot of campaigning, going to meetings and so on, which I don’t find so attractive.
‘Anyway, if I win it will only be a part-time post, and I will continue my work as a lawyer.’
The updates are a fragment of the jovial note, which starts ‘Hey there, brother!’ and jokes about Malik’s love life.
‘I received your postcard, along with the news that you’ve found a new wife. Man, I must say you don’t fool around! Please write and tell me more about her. A photo would also be nice, although I have no doubt that she is beautiful.’
From his end, Obama gives updates on First Lady Michelle and his mother, who was suffering from ovarian cancer and died four months later in November 1995.
‘Michelle is fine, also busy with her work,’ he explained. ‘My mum’s health has stabilized for now, but she is by no means cured and continues to undergo extensive treatment.’
The letter has been sold for an undisclosed amount with a manuscript of Obama’s book.
In 2013, Malik sold another two for $15,000. Both were written after Obama took office in 2009, penned on White House letterhead.
They feature the same message, addressed to two different groups of people.
‘Thanks for your prayers and support,’ the letters read, signing off with his initials ‘B.O.’
The letters were sent by the President shortly after his Kenyan relatives flew from Africa to Washington D.C. in January 2009 to attend his inauguration.
They came to light after Gary Zimet, an American collector and head of historical blog Moments in Time, speculatively contacted Malik to see if he had any letters available for auction. After sending a letter to a post office in Kenya, Zimet said, he was shocked to receive a response – and two unseen notes.
Zimet had already sold around 12 letters written by the president during his tenure.
Malik maintains he shares a loving relationship with the president, and that they were each other’s best men at their weddings.
In 2013, he told the Mail on Sunday they have regular get-togethers.
‘I see my brother privately at least once a year, when I go to visit him in the White House and say hello,’ he said. ‘It’s like visiting a working national monument, such as the Smithsonian or Buckingham Palace.’
However, their relations may have soured in recent months as he lashed out at the president earlier this year saying: ‘He’s not been an honest man… in who he is and what he says and how he treats people.’ Daily Mail
Below is the full letter
‘I’M RUNNING FOR STATE SENATE TO DEAL WITH SOME SERIOUS ISSUES BLACKS FACE HERE’: LETTER OBAMA WROTE TO HIS BROTHER IN 1995
Hey there, brother! How are you faring these days. I received your postcard, along with the news that you’ve found a new wife. Man, I must say you don’t fool around! Please write and tell me more about her. A photo would also be nice, although I have no doubt that she is beautiful.
How is it otherwise being at home? I hope everyone is well, in good health and in good spirits. I understand that you have bought some property, and that you brought over a vehicle from the UK after all. Any other business ventures? I’m very eager to hear about everything, and trust that your hard work and planning will pay off in the near future.
As for me, I am very busy these days. As you can see, the book is finished and in the bookstores, so I have been going to various bookstores to talk about the book. In addition, some colleagues of mine here have talked me into running for the Illinois State Senate (like being an MP for a province, not the national United States Congress in D.C.) I have agreed, since I have an interest in politics to deal with some of the serious issues blacks face here. Of course, it involves a lot of campaigning, going to meetings and so on, which I don’t find so attractive. Anyway, if I win it will only be a part-tine post, and I will continue my work as a lawyer.
Michelle is fine, also busy with her work. My mum’s health has stabilized for now, but she is by no means cured and continues to undergo extensive treatment. Maya has gone back to Hawaii for the summer to keep her company, which I think put her in better spirits. Tutu, Maya and Mum all send their love.
Please send my love to Bernard, Abo, Sayid, Abongo, Silpa, Granny, your mum, and all the rest of the family. I have sent an extra, paperback version of the book to be passed around if anyone else is interested. I hope to hear from you soon, with news of happiness and success.
Much love –