Yesterday, President Obama made what was touted to be a major policy speech entitled “A Moment of Opportunity” at the State Department. The speech wasn’t great and there was nothing major about it. However, one amusing thing that came about during the speech was reading the comments of Twitter users (using the #MEspeech hashtag) regarding this excerpt below :
For six months, we have witnessed an extraordinary change take place in the Middle East and North Africa. Square by square, town by town, country by country, the people have risen up to demand their basic human rights.
Immediately, people were commenting that Obama almost made a “zenga zenga joke” with that second line. Of course, they’re referring to one of Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi’s fairly recent televised speeches in which he exclaimed:
I will call upon millions from desert to desert. We will march to purge Libya inch by inch, house by house, alley by alley.
Or as the latter part was said in Arabic: “Shiber shiber, dar dar, beit beit, zenga zenga!” This Qaddafi speech quickly became an internet meme. One of my favorite parodies was a clip shown on the late night talk show CONAN. So while Obama’s Middle East speech certainly wasn’t groundbreaking, it at least provided some entertainment thanks to Qaddafi, Obama’s speechwriter and Twitter users.