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Friday, February 13, 2009

Castro's fixation with Obama's chief

"What a strange surname!" he writes. "It appears Spanish, easy to pronounce, but it's not. Never in my life have I heard or read about any student or compatriot with that name, among tens of thousands." Published in Granma, the official mouthpiece of Cuba's communist party, the article suggests, somewhat bizarrely, that President Obama's sharp-elbowed "fixer" owes his name to the German philosopher Immanuel Kant.

"Where does it come from? I wondered. Over and over, the name came to mind of the brilliant German thinker, Immanuel Kant, who together with Aristotle and Plato, formed a trio of philosophers that have most influenced human thinking. Doubtless he was not very far, as I discovered later, from the philosophy of the man closest to the current president of the United States."

The news will come as a surprise to Mr Emanuel, whose surname is fairly common in Jewish circles. Most scholars believe it derives from the Hebrew word, meaning "God is with us", which features in the popular Christmas carol "O come, O come, Emanuel"


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