On July 11, around 12:40pm GMT, I was rounding off a night of partying in Las Vegas. To me, life was good. What was I missing? Barack Obama's address to the Ghanaian Parliament in Accra. Obama is building a legacy of great speeches and this was also bound to be a historic one. Hussein did not disappoint. He was speaking the capacity as the 'leader of the free world' and president of the great US of A. As I read the speech more carefully today, I felt America's first Black president seemed to be speaking for Africans and Africa, even more than for America. He did show a lot of tough love to Africa in there but his tone was one of - this is what Africa needs and desires, this is the way 'we can do it', and this is the way the rest of the world (America, etc) should help. Obama has some Africa in him and for those of us Africans who wondered how much help he'll be to us, I believe we should sleep well at night because he does mean business.
This past weekend marked the visit of Barack Obama to Ghana. A lot has been said about the significance of this visit, this being the first trip to a sub-Saharan African nation by the first Black American president. I missed most of the speeches and festivities since I had 'gotten away' for the weekend and have been reading up on some blogs written by various Ghanaians on the Obama trip. I will like to share some thoughts from these awesome people.
GhanaConscious' own Omanba critiqued Barack's speech. She broke it down into four major parts - democracy, health care, conflict resolution and doing it yourself. I personally think too much mention is made of democracy but Omanba spells it out nicely - "An era of tyranny, gagging, misuse of power and governing with impunity sprinkled with a dash of Elections every so often, does not constitute democracy. Africa must take note!" She stresses the fight against HIV-AIDS and Malaria and also mentions drug counterfeiting which leads to a shameless plug about the fantastic work of Mpedigree.
I haven't followed Barack Obama much since he became the US president but ever since news broke of his impending visit to Ghana July 10-11, I've become a little more attentive. I hear he will be giving a speech at the Independence Square for which Ghanaians from all walks of lie could go see him speak. Obama is noted for great speeches and I believe we have another one coming up, after his stirring speech at the American University of Cairo earlier this year.
Recently, he sat down with journalists from AllAfrica.com to talk about his visit to Ghana. Ghana is seen as one of the shining stars on the continent and it's easy to see why it would be chosen. It is also a leader in the Pan-African movement, with events like Panafest. President Kuffour also built great ties with Bush's America and the ties will continue with Obama-Mills. Barack Obama is believed to be visiting the Central Region during his short stay in Ghana, probably touring the slave castles there and learning about some more Black history.
Mr Obama did a great job explaining America's ills and pointing to a pragmatic way to move beyond it (see speech here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=zrp-v2tHaDo . Read transcript here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/18/us/politics/18text-obama.html). I've been in a few 'black' churches in the US and have been shocked by some of the controversial statements made from pulpits. But then again I've also witnessed some downright disrespectful behavior towards American 'blacks' which makes those statements understandable.