Monday, July 13, 2009

Barack Obama was well received in his first visit as president of the United States to sub-Saharan Africa. In less than 24 hours, he met with Ghanaian dignitaries and traveled to a Cape Coast Castle, the location from which thousands or maybe millions of slaves were forcibly transported to the Americas. Overall, his speech in Accra, Ghana was poignant and congratulatory of Ghana's democratic successes, using it as an example of the possibilities for other African governments. Obama's speech was very good and reinforced much of the beliefs many Africans have of what is necessary to create a better continent for Africa's people. But, despite the positive message to Africa, Obama omitted much of the reality of America's historical relationship with the African continent.

Early on in his speech, Obama clarified that he believed that Africans must stop blaming others for the continent's malaise. This writer, like many others, has preached a similar message and the attitude of self-help or 'boot strapping' continues to grow amongst many Africans. It is clear that too many of Africa's 'leaders' have failed to live up to their responsibilities and Africans are working to determine the means by which Africans themselves will effect change irregardless of the current status quo. However, as Obama chastised Africa by correctly stating that "it 's easy to point fingers and to pin the blame [for Africa's woes] on others," he himself neglected to acknowledge his nation's part in Africa's problems. Maybe that was because of the criticism he received from some of his fellow Americans for being too apologetic for America's sins when he speaks abroad. Or maybe, this omission was a result of the added pressure of being a Black President speaking on the Black continent. Regardless, the omission was a glaring one.

Some of America's interaction with various African countries has been of benefit to Africans - what with foreign direct investment that has brought jobs to some, educational scholarships that have allowed others to attend some of the world's best institutions of learning and much more. Yet, Obama's speech completely ignored the fact that much of America's conduct on the African continent has bred distrust and discontent. Various American administrations have deliberately interfered in the politics of many an African country and unfortunately, the result has been detrimental to millions. The recent Halliburton/KBR scandal is a reflection of the complicity some Western organizations have in the fracturing of certain African countries as well. Furthermore, the overwhelming criticism former president Bush received for his AFRICOM aspirations only goes to cement the distrust many Africans have of America's ambitions and goals on the continent. Consequently, simply referring to the problematic colonial creation of artificial nations and the unbalanced relationship between the West and Africa, as a source of Africa's problems is a lie by omission on America's role in the creation of the Africa that currently exists and that does a disservice to the history of Africa and those who lost their lives fighting to improve its future. It ignores the incredible complexity of the relationship between Africa's many countries and the United States.

This omission in his speech calls into question Obama's commitment to the vision of Africa and American-African relations he so eloquently spoke of. His choice to neglect to even slightly reference the controversial role America has sometimes played in Africa, raises the question of whether Obama's approach to the continent will equally be full of omissions. Far too often Africa is dictated to and the 'solutions' thrust upon her are not subject to discussion or modification that reflects the voice of the continent. Former President George W. Bush is lauded by many for the millions he committed to the African continent in aid and investment. Nevertheless, that money came with conditions reflective of his political affiliations and conservative attitude to HIV/AIDS, an attitude that practically demonized condom usage for abstinence, a throwback, though important, to conservative American religious values. Bush also backed the entry of Ethiopia into Somalia in 2007, an act that many now consider to have been solely for America's benefit as it has contributed somewhat to the growing instability in Somalia and indeed the Horn of Africa region. There is much illustration of America's contemporary influence on the African continent and some of the questionable results. A repeat of these missteps will only compound the hardships of ordinary Africans worsening their lot at the hands of both ineffective governments and misguided foreign ambitions.

So, how exactly will Obama's administration, which has pledged to support good governance, anti-corruption efforts and responsibility, work with Africa to obtain a better continent? How will this be any different from the promises of his predecessors? Regardless of what choices the Obama administration makes, the reality is that, just as Obama said, "Africa's future is up to Africans." As such, any attempt to work with Africa in effecting positive change must continue to rely on individual Africans, not the government structures that have proven to be ineffective and unwilling to take the necessary steps to create better African countries. Obama spoke of a partnership "grounded in mutual responsibility and mutual respect". But, that will not be possible until America acknowledges, publicly or not, its role in Africa's present, and Africa acknowledges its need to overcome its position in the current global economic and political system. Africa will rise above its forced role as the "dark continent" when the various parties necessary for African development - civil society, average individuals, governments et. al.- work with the people's interest, and not their egos or grand ideals, in mind. Some acknowledgment of the imperfection in America's relationship to Africa would be nice, but it might not be necessary, as long as enough Africans can take the future of their continent into their hands.

UPDATE: After reading some of the frank and enlightening comments in response to this post, it appears that I must make some clarifications.

This post is not in anyway an attempt to argue for apologies or the sort. It was however, an expression of my observation, that while Obama could freely 'scold' Africa, he neglected to acknowledge the historical role played by American government and even certain businesses in creating some of the problems Africa now faces. More than one reader has asked if it would have made a difference. In respone, I must borrow the very eloquent response of reader and fellow blogger GuerreiraNigeriana who stated, "at the end of the day...perhaps his acknowledgment would indeed change nothing...but there is something powerful about acknowledging wrongs and opening/creating the opportunity for a genuine and honest path forward..." Plus, Obama has previously been 'apologetic' for America's role in distancing its European allies in many a European speech. I cannot help but note that he distinctly chose to 'not go there' when he visited Ghana and in a speech where he spoke of "partnership", "mutual respect" and "mutual responsibility". I have never advocated that Africa wait for an apology from anyone, and most likely never will. I have always argued that Africans must 'wake up' and effect the change it seeks without waiting for any savior be they of divine or Western origin. I hope this clarifies things for those who might misinterpret this article. If it does not, please feel free to express your concerns so we may discuss and learn from one another. Thank you.

Thoughts from others on the Obama speech in Ghana:
- "It wasn't me..." says Obama on behalf of the West (Pyoowata)
- Obama Talks Shallow Simplistic Rubbish, Scolds & Lectured Africans as Expected" (Paul I. Adujie)
- Blowback From Obama In Ghana (Don Thieme)
- Ghana - No Antibodies For This Virus (Akin)
- Obama in Ghana (Beauty)

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Akin said...

Hello SolomonS,

As you might have read from my blog on Obama's Speech, I am not given to the idea of omission in that speech.

The core principle that first speech and second visit to Africa was to address was that of democracy, governance, opportunity and health.

I believe, those were well taken care of to abrade bad leadership and enthuse the youth whilst encouraging Africans to take up their responsibilities.

I do not subscribe to the need for us to sit and wait for apologies, restitution or admissions of guilt and culpability before we get on with the core elements of getting our futures moving in the right direction.

In the end, slave traders needed we Africans ourselves to go in the bushes to get our brethren for that trade, more so, in these days, the corruptible have met the corrupt in the activities that find Africans and Americans culpable.

There is blame for each side of this omission complex - but it does not take Africa forward if we need finger-pointing to assuage our discontent.

In some areas of thought, I suppose, we have to agree to disagree. (+_+)



NneomaMD said...

okay, basically, SSD, you said what I was terrified to admit out in the open. I have gotten into many an argument with friends of mine about what is wrong with Africa. I have been accused of placing blames whole-heartedly on the West when others would like to say that Africa is responsible for Africa. I do, however, believe that solutions for our problems, as Obama said, lies within ourselves.

First Obama could say what he said, because he is black and of African parentage....point blank. No oyinbo leader of a Western nation in his right frame mind would lay blames on the African continent - the "white guilt" is too much.

It's funny how Obama remains a staunch affirmative action supporter in the US, but when it comes to Africa, can hardly acknowledge the role that the West has played in its failure. Then with the choice of Ghana and the bastion of hope and democracy that other Africans should aspire to - he played the same "model minority" myth that Caucasians have used against African Americans for years now. Plan to discuss this further in a future post.

Personally for me, I was looking for concrete change in policies that would demonstrate the mutual respect that Obama seeks between the US and the continent. However, I got more food aid. Even when he mentioned the need to invest in health systems and not single diseases (a personal interest of mine), he, in the next breath, lauded a malaria-focused campaign in Nigeria. Africom was glossed over and his speech did not assuage any of my fears that Africom may become a new cover for neo-colonialism - to an extent, his speech denied the existence of neocolonialism. He briefly mentioned the environment and troubles Africa may face with our continued killing of our planet - but made no mention of the environmental havoc that Western oil interests have killed our people and homes....

I only skimmed the text of the speech, maybe if i watched the video, my criticisms would be tempered by his charm and charisma. But in sum, Obama is an American president with an African face - no more, no less.

Cee said...

If Americans have been complicit in Africa's underdevelopment, it is because Africans have allowed them to. And I am not sure that that I agree with the Halliburton example is a valid one because to my mind, Halliburton is not America.

Also think about it from this perspective, even if Obama had admitted America's controversial stand on African issues (and that's what it is, because they don't force our governments to follow bad decisions), would it have changed a thing? No!

If (like some are saying, not you SSD) Obama scolded us like children, maybe we should grow up and act like adults, no bi so? Na so.

My only problem here is, I am pretty certain the goverment are not listening. How do we solve our problem remains the question.


Tried contacting you via your contact page. No luck.

Anonymous said...

Again Nneoma, you must be in my head. The coverage of the visit brought the 'model minority' issue to mind for me. It used to be Kenya until their spectacular election crisis, i guess Ghana is now in the spotlight.

With regards to Obama's speech, yes he said things that other Western leaders wouldn't be able to (and rightly so) but it is nothing that many Africans haven't pointed out themselves. This blog is a great example. Also, Obama's speech is basically summarised in Chxta's introduction to his blog. Perhaps if people were engaging ordinary Africans as equals, they would have be aware of this.

I'm tired of the idea that Africans are these helpless people who are just waiting for others to solve their problems. It's just not true.

Overall, it was a very symbolic visit but a real partnership will only come when other countries stop ignoring Africans because they know what's best for us.

Dee said...

The complexity of the relationship between African countries and America cannot be analyzed in one speech. I don’t think America acknowledging anything would change the ‘status quo’ in Africa.

The omission really doesn’t change the current plight of Africans. The root of our problems lie within ourselves and not really what the West has (or has NOT) done for us.

Obama’s trip highlighted one thing for sure: the onus of changing the African status quo lies within Africans; those countries that have realized this fact have risen to the occasion and moved along
We have the capacity to do so, we really need to look within ourselves and stop looking for answers from the WEST.

caretaker said...

Africans can't be stuck in a perpetual state of "being the victim". There were colonists and American incursions all over the world, not only in Africa.

For me, I think this is the speech we have all being waiting for. The cousin has come home to talk sense to his brethren...and I hope the message sank in well. Sub-Saharan Africa is on it's own until it knows how to clean-up its mess!

Spesh said...

Really u guys hav said it all......
2 much expectatn 4 d Obama visit and it has come and gone already,leaving us with much to talk about.

guerreiranigeriana said...

...*thinking about hiring nneoma as her spokesperson*...well said ssd...i really don't know how i feel about obama sometimes...i just find solace in the fact that he is a politician and an american one, at the end of th day...perhaps his acknowledgment would indeed change nothing...but there is something powerful about acknowledging wrongs and opening/creating the opportunity for a genuine and honest path forward...

Ryan said...

The US relationship with many African countries is strained but I think the increased investment that Obama has pledged (over the Bush administration) will go a long ways in promoting more positive relationships between the US and many African Countries. I'd like to have your opinion on a map I created on US-African relationships!

US-African Relationships


@ Akin: this post was not in any way to request, demand or seek an apology. I have always been clear to state the only need for Nigerians (and by implication, Africans) to focus on what they need to do to make things better for themselves irregardless of what role anyone else has played in creating the present situation. That is a position I will not budge on and as such have use the 'boot strap' term more than once at this blog.

This post, however, was about what I saw as a glaring ommission in Obama's speech. He purposely referred to colonial era mistakes, Western failures (which I did not interpret to refer to America) and in that I saw a glaring omission that i chose to discuss. Will take another look at my post to see how it gave you the impression that an apology of any sort was expected. And, I always agree to disagree, but wonder if my post gave the wrong idea or if it was read wrong. I guess I will find out by reading and addressing any other comments that follow.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read the post and share your thoughts. Your opinion is appreciated.


@ nneoma: okay, someone didn't interpret my post as seeking an apology. Phew. After reading your comment, I have to say that I agree with many of your takes on his speech and the ideas expressed by Obama.

It just sounded like the same thing I have heard by other Presidents from the US and other countries. The usual platitudes, the usual references to good governance, the usual mentions of corruption. Lots of key trigger words but like you noted what exactly do they mean with regard to this administration? Obviously, time will tell and a closer examination of future decisions by this administration could shed some light.

As to neo-colonialism, I must say he touched on it but very briefly in reference to the West's view of Africa as not being an equal partner and all that. But, in essence I definitely share your concerns. I actually have a post I am yet to publish discussing whether or not AFRICOM is still possible now that there is an American President with "African blood" in his veins. We shall see...

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and for offering your frank opinion.

@ Cee: "If Americans have been complicit in Africa's underdevelopment, it is because Africans have allowed them to"

Yes, can't argue with that. Ultimately, America, like any other country must do what it needs to do to better its interests. If Africa allows itself to be walked all over in the process, then Africans are suckers and as commenter Dee said in response to an earlier post "Africa's leaders are stupid."

However, once again, this post is not about any apologies or expectations. I have never been one to go down that line. The reality is that in his speech, Obama was very comfortable pointing his fingers without an acknowledgement of the imperfection in the Africa-America historical relationship. That is the issue I am trying to raise here. Whether or not that will ever happen does not change the fact that we, Africans, have to get our act together.

As to Halliburton, it is an American company created in the midwest of America. They started out in the oil business, actually. Yes, it is now an international conglomerate but Halliburton is a good-old example of US of A's global dominance in enterprise. I used it as an example of American business and its role, sometimes, in causing many of the problems we talk about here and hope to find solutions of some kind for. Of course not all big businesses are complicit in the deterioration that happens in Africa, many do their best but are forced to exist in corrupt systems and have a hard time competing with others, like the Chinese, who do not face the same legal constraints.

You could be right, him admitting America's historical complicity might not have changed anything, but I would have considered him less hypocritical. But in all honesty, I love hypocrites. Ask anyone who knows me. They keep the world turning and give us all much to talk about.

I don't know if Obama scolded anybody. All I heard was the same old talk. That does not diminish its import nonetheless. I hope that since Obama is unequivocally a big draw on the continent, much of the good parts of his speech will filter down to those who need to take back their countries from those who continue to do very little to improve the greater good. That being said, nobody can help Africa get to that point if we, and as Chxta so eloquently noted with regard to Nigerians recently, choose to be "complacent.

Re: contacting me, I have a serious backlog of messages and will check my inbox for your message. I assume it came in under "Cee". Will check for it and get back to you soonest. Thank you for taking the time to contact me and of course, thank you for swinging by today!


@ culturesoup aka Baraal: Exactly. POTUS didn't say anything new. After all, we ordinary bloggers are hashing over these things daily. However, he does have a larger platform from which to make these points and that is part of the reason why I once noted at this blog, and again at Beauty's blog today, that it would have been nice to have him give this speech (with a little more pepper though) before Nigeria's National Assembly. Yes, the ones that don't show up to work (Senate) and don't do enough work (House of Representatives). Oh the hilarity that would have ensued. It would have made the recent "Obama destabilizing Yar'Adua" accusations by the PDP look like lunch meat.

As to model minority issues, I acknowledge the argument. Yet, I do not want to be accused of challenging Ghana as a suitable location for the man's first visit to sub-saharan Africa.

"I'm tired of the idea that Africans are these helpless people who are just waiting for others to solve their problems. It's just not true."

You and many of us, quite frankly. But, since nobody truly engages those of us 'small fish' that are thinking desperately and working together as best we can, we shall continue to talk about the issues and seize the opportunities as they present themselves.

So good to see you around these parts. thanks for joining the conversation.


@ Dee: you might be right. Him making an admission would not change anything. But as I noted above, I couldn't ignore the hypocrisy. If we are all to be "partners" then we must all admit our sins, no? I mean, the US Senate just 'apologized' for slavery. I'm not even suggesting that Obama go that far. Do you realize that he has managed in his speeches in Europe to be 'apologetic' for America's failures to European allies. I noted this much in my post. So, I ask you, are we not deserving of similar acknowledgment from an American President who freely and quickly proclaims his African heritage when convenient? Its not as if he hasn't done it before.

I can't lie, I was waiting for someone to note this issue, but since it hasn't happened yet, I am happy to stir the hornet's nest.

As you know, there is no question that Africa's problems require African solutions. Yet, I am also realistic, that those who try to advance these solutions will be attacked from within and without. So until we, as a people, understand that it is time to stop getting played by our governments, by huge organizations (even those of the NGO kind) and of course all the foreign countries that have interests in what belongs to Africa, our grandchildren will be having these very conversations. Our grandparents had them you know. A shame the cycle is yet to be broken.

Dee, thanks for taking the time to stop by. I always appreciate your opinion.

@ caretaker: it seems a couple people are misreading this post. This is not about playing the victim. This is about a party in an issue acknowledging their role as they point fingers. To me, I didn't hear that in Obama's speech. It does not change the wonderful nuggets he shared, it was just an observation that I chose to discuss instead of repeating the same things that so many others chose to focus on.

So sorry to give the wrong impression, and as I promised Akin, I will take another look at the post and make any necessary edits to limit confusion and for the sake of posterity.

"Sub-Saharan Africa is on it's own until it knows how to clean-up its mess!"

Well said. Now, if certain parties would step aside and let the well meaning people of Africa and their allies get down to business. But since we don't live in a fairytale, we just have to figure out how to circumvent all those who would rather benefit from the people's malaise than truly work to cure it (i.e. many African governments).

Thanks for sharing your opinion.

@ my world: Hey you! Well, it seems Obama and his family had a nice visit and Ghana enjoyed considerable, and well deserved attention. As to whether that, or even the countless analysis such as this, will make a difference, only time will tell, shebi?

@ Gnaija: Can I just say, that i have missed your view on things. No lie. Especially as you summed up much better than I ever could have a main point that I did not execute as eloquently as you did (considering much of the confusion I am gleaning from some comments),

"at the end of the day...perhaps his acknowledgment would indeed change nothing...but there is something powerful about acknowledging wrongs and opening/creating the opportunity for a genuine and honest path forward...",

Thank you, I will add this to the post to help offer more clarification of my objectives with this post.

Anonymous said...

My country - Who is fooling who now?

When I think of my beloved country all sorts of emotions come over me. Some of joy and bountiful happiness, and some of disbelief which turns into sorrow and sadness.
All I can write about is the same as countless before me:– What a shame that it takes only a few to cause so much hardship and pain to millions of others.
I am one of the more privileged. So was the home I was brought up in. However, I was raised to respect all regardless of social or wealth status. Today, I still live a life of privilege by my standards. I live in a country that has accepted me but is not one to call my own. Will it be the home I can call my home? I will need to learn to accept this as my home since I don't have the one that I grew up to love so much. It is also a beautiful place that many others have grown up to cherish and call their home. Simply put – I am one of the lucky and privileged ones like many that have left “home”.
I hear the argument many times – “Maybe you should go back to help.”. The honest truth is – I am afraid! Life has become cheap in an environment where one is trying desperately to survive. This is not saying that many of my people are murderers – this is simply saying that some, and I mean a few, will not be deterred by death to simply survive. But let us look at this a little deeper – there a many armed robbers that have caused great harm to a great number of people. The death of one person is of great importance to their families and therefore cannot be overlooked as simply a number but for comparison I will, for a moment, view it as a number.
The unscrupulous politicians have a far higher head count of victims – the countless billions they have stolen has, in “high probability”, created mass poverty, starvation and also caused those very armed robbers to be who they are today – this is not giving the armed robbers an excuse for their actions , they still deserve punishment. The actions of those thieving politician’s deserves far harsher punishment than that deserved by the armed robbers. The foreign banks will, for obvious reasons, always try to stop the withdrawals of all those monies talk less of the returning the monies yet these men with this knowledge, some of them who are considered as founding fathers, will not stop their thievery. What can be the reason for such greed? If they can never spend this money the perceived achievement must lay elsewhere – maybe one where they can show off bank statements or quote amounts that the other cannot – whatever the reasons might be is simply beyond comprehension, mine at least. Or maybe a personal visit by the US Head of State would be that additional notch – it appears his decision to visit Ghana, instead of Nigeria has left the Nigerian ‘elite’ the feeling of being slapped in the face. I can only guess at Obama’s reasoning but applaud it. Ghana was once considered by Nigerians as second class. Who is fooling who now?
Given the opportunity I would ask one more favor from Obama and other world leaders – can sanctions be imposed on those countries with rogue leaders and foreign accounts of those leaders frozen – saving the money so that someday the children could at least try to build a more self sufficient and better tomorrow once things have turned around? Leaving these thieving politicians to pursue their happiness only creates further gloom for countless others – Always in hope.

At new home

Beauty said...

Simply put, I am one of the lucky and privileged ones like many that have left home. I hear the argument many times. Maybe you should go back to help. The honest truth is, I am afraid! Life has become cheap in an environment where one is trying desperately to survive - @Anonymous

Yes S, that pink elephant people chose to ignore but the plural omissions will be nearer the mark. Dear all, Don't Let Barack Obama Break Your Heart is good advice for President Obama´s rhetoric was necessary. Backing it up will be the challenge. How will the US help stop those that benefit from extreme poverty in Africa? Another concern on the interview was about the zero mention of China and others riding shot gun in Africa. So you see, both the arguements of the past and the future are interelated in every way. But action today? S, you are simply stating your view to our community, a joy as always.

Cee said...

SSD, I stand corrected abi is it clarified. I understand your post better and I guess what you saw was my raw perspective (this naija thing can wear one's soul). You know when it comes to Nigeria, I think we have gone too far wrong to squander time on frivolities. For me, as powerful as acknowledgements may be, in the scheme of the current climate in NGR, it's a frivolity and to be honest, I just want us to cut to the chase and get down to the business of repairing. A cursory glance at 234NEXT almost induces tears. I am trying to completely avoid Saharareporters because I dont want a heart attack.

I enjoyed this bit too:
You and many of us, quite frankly. But, since nobody truly engages those of us 'small fish' that are thinking desperately and working together as best we can, we shall continue to talk about the issues and seize the opportunities as they present themselves.

Well done for provoking thought as usual. Look forward to hearing from you.

Chris Ogunlowo said...

I like this write-up.

The title though is suggestive of the “deliberate” blame most of us would like to put on Obama.

We have to understand that notwithstanding his “blackness”, he is first the president of the United States. And so will put his country’s interest first.

That he “glaringly omitted” to acknowledge his country’s misadventures (or inactions) towards helping the African continent, is asking for the impossible. In fact, if he did “apologise,” I don’t know the extent which such gesture will help reduce mosquito bites on the continent. If he did, then, we should expect the same gestures on his visit to Vietnam. It’s like giving reparations to the Jews. Yes, it goes a long way to making the “injured” one feel good. But then, how then does it help in terms of improving lives. For all I care, the only significant benefit from such “glaring inclusions” or what-have-you is that political columnists will have their creativity fuelled for more mindless rantings. Oh, I love those folks at Huffington.

We must understand that his visit to Africa is somewhat more business-political-oriented than a goodwill visit (I may be wrong). That is because he dropped by only after he had a summit in Europe. And don’t we all know how members of the G8 use Africa’s plight to score political points?

There’s just one thing for us to learn from his speech. And that is that, only Africa can solve Africa’s problem. Chikena!

Don Thieme said...

I am not surprised to read some expressions of disatisfaction on the part of African intellectuals over the content of Barack Obama's speech to Parliament in Ghana. My own perception of the speech was that it was not that well crafted and suggests a lack of deep scholarship and preparation uncharacteristic of Mr. Obama. I also thought that he looked a bit nervous at points in the delivery, particularly when he defended AFRICOM. As Barack Obama has himself observed to progressive forces here in the United States, it is our responsibility to push back and challenge him when he compromises with the forces of oppression.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for pointing out the omissions in Obama's speech [just writing the PZ roundup and this post is included] Without going into detail because I am a bit lazy this morning but I felt the speech was more like a lecture to naughty children and highly patronising.

Anonymous said...

PS thats not to say there were not some home truths but the tone makes me cringe! Anyway many of our leaders behave like kids in a playground so maybe he has a point - hmmmm no no no

Anonymous said...

Hi SSD, I thought I’d add a clarification of my own on the model minority point.

I definitely did not mean to challenge the choice of Ghana or insinuate that its progress is because they are trying to impress external forces which are conclusions that some might reach because I used that term. That’s why I cited the example of Kenya because that’s what this reminds me most of, setting up one African country as if they are infallible only to jabo them so fast when something goes wrong. I remember the type of comments I was seeing about Kenya during that crisis. People were disappointed that they were no different (meaning better than) from other Africans. The truth is most African countries struggle with the same issues that are common to developing countries. Some will get it right and others will get it wrong. At some point, most countries will experience both so I don’t think this type of attitude is helpful.

Anonymous said...

Maybe its time people stopped expecting Obama to be any different that other Democratic Presidents. So much hype and we should all remember the line from is it Public Enemy? "Dont Believe The Hype"

The bottom line is he is an American first and foremost - his African ancestry is probably the least important aspect of his identity.

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