Finally, Mr. Obama’s much publicized and much debated visit to Ghana has come and to pass and the world can now return to normalcy! Obama LECTURED the Africans, Africans will snap out of their old ways!
All major American television networks reported Obama stop-over for a few hours in Ghana, using words or terms which are usually reserved for truant children. Mr. Obama is reported as being stern, scolding and blunt to people in Africa. Obama is showing Africans tough love? Who need this type of love?
Are these what that all that Africans deserve from a native son? We are not kids! Obama was undiplomatic by choice, he knows how to be delicate with the Russians, he knows how to be measured with the Iranians and he knows not to be his polite best with Israel despite Israel violations of United Nations resolutions regarding Israel’s land-grab in Palestine!
Obama was not blunt, stern or scolding when he genuflected in discussions with Pope Benedict XVI in Rome over issues of stem cell research and abortions, issues in which Obama the Pope are at opposite side of the spectrum!
Obama would have been more successful and impressive across the board and he would have shined and come across smelling like fresh flowers if he had visited Ghana, Kenya, South African commencing such well-thought out African visits accompanied with specifics of policies and programs, sundry initiatives and Nigeria as first prong of course.
Additionally, such African visit ought to be coupled with revamped, reinvigorated and more robust American African policy which does not exist presently within the Obama administration.
Better yet, Obama could have attended an African Union summit and engage all African leaders in brotherly conversation and corralled them on how to press the reset button on democracy, good governance, institutional reforms, prosperity and advancement on the continent, instead, Obama chose the simplistic and voyeuristic public shaming and ridiculing of Africans, as if he was a member of the Klu Klux Klan and that is what some are courageously spinning and labeling tough love? I am dismayed!
Obama surely followed a script, otherwise, he knows or ought to know that he would have been more effective at nudging, imploring and engendering reforms, instead of appearing to backhand whack Africans while force-feeding them with archaic and mundane platitudes to which every person on any African street is keenly familiar!
Obama delivered the script of his masters and his handlers! A script written and orchestrated by African “experts” and Obama delivered the script in the form of scolding in stern blunt words which Obama could not use in talks with the Russians, the Pope and the North Koreans etc Obama was at his most condescending mien best when he was in Ghana! And this was mislabeled tough love and I say, Nonsense!
Some Africans already predicted that Obama would lecture Africans, and expectedly, he did to his heart content. He LECTURED democracy, human rights, corruption etc. Mr. Obama’s is that of appeasement and placation of all others, but, he just has made Africa the exception to his appeasement rule?
Obama did not scold or chastise Russia for her war in Chechnya and Georgia… and Russia for corruption and frequent murders of its journalists… and Russia for organized crime and Mafia way of business deal and Russia for preferring business deals with Iran over election matters and nuclear matters which Obama “so care about”
Obama did not scold or chastise Italy, where Obama was for several days… Italy with Prime Minister Berlusconi whose media empire is synonymous his other tools of corruption… in fact, Mr. Berlusconi has faced repeated charges of corruption and there is the Italian Mafia in there… but Obama went to Italy and he did not lecture Italians
Obama did not scold or chastise Israel, despite all that America does for Israel, Israel’s current Prime Minister adamantly refuses to listen to Obama “gentle prodding and request” that Israel vacate occupied territories of Palestine and desist from expanding Israeli’s land-grabs! Despite United Nations resolutions to this effect and despite the so-called “International Community” urging of Israel to comply
Obama says he will negotiate with Iran and North Korea UNCONDITIONALLY, and these are “supposed” to be the Axis of Evil … American enemies per Mr. Bush….
Nigeria, no enemies of America or anyone, is being visited with diplomatic slaps and whacks in the face by this undiplomatic Obama? Obama is a tool in the hands of someone’s agenda I was waiting for his apology for slavery and colonialism Ghana and Obama did not seize the moment. I am almost ready to write him off as another Mr. double standard leader of a western nation, preaching to Africa, what they do not practice in dealing with other nations. For his lectures and condescending manners towards Africans and peoples of African descent, I am jumping off this Obama bandwagon!
Obama has a knack for making the platitudinous sound poignant and profound!
He repeated this feat again while addressing the parliament of Ghana, he made banal and meaningless embellished statements to come across as if inspired for Africa.
Imagine when Obama state the obvious, the pedestrian and the rather mundane, such as, “Africa’s future is up to Africans” I would hope so! And in retort, I thought it a fitting response to Mr. Obama’s trite public proclamation in Ghana, I would hope that the future of America is in the hands of Americans, and not in the hands of China, the Chinese who have of course been and still are currently shoring up America’s economy by spending trillions and trillions of dollars for the upkeep of the economy of the United States
Obama came to Ghana empty handed! He arrived Ghana without a program or policy tailored in its specificities toward Africa and Africans. But instead, he made empty speeches, which were replete and loaded with innuendoes which seem reserved for when Obama addresses Africans and African Americans and peoples of African descent.
Obama, during his inauguration speech used the Bill Cosby code-word of “take-responsibility” “taking responsibility” is the same he used while addressing Ghanaians, and even by Obama’s own admissions, he was in effect, exponentially addressing all 900 million Africans, as he ordered American diplomatic outposts to broadcast live and facilitate the spread of his inanities while in Ghana.
During Obama’s inaugural speech as president, I expected him to focus and harp on America’s checkered past and then, state the fact that he stood on the broad shoulders of those who fought his wars, his battles and that he is now stepping into their big shoes comfortably, after those courageous heroes have leveled the playing field through hard work and endless sacrifices, but, all that he pronounced was why some of us should take responsibility. Those who fought liberation battles from slavery to colonialism to Jim Crow on the continent of Africa and in the United States made Obama presidency even thinkable. Obama should not benefit and be repaying them with insulting platitudes.
Clearly, Obama certainly knows who to insult and who to be rude to and when to be cavalier to and I think he has been rude to Africans and peoples of African descent too frequently, in particular, with his pedantic pedagogical preachment of taking responsibility.
Apart from diagnosing African problems and challenges, Obama in Ghana was pure bland blah for a few hours! He came to Ghana to insult Africa, to criticize and to be purposely undiplomatic.
Africa has about 900 million people and Israel has less than 6 million people… what is the amount/quantum of American aid on yearly basis to Africa with a population of 900 million versus Israel of less than 6 million people… So, before some of you here …. suffer burst arteries and cardiac arrest over your perceived amount of aid to Africa do some f
act checks… do some reality checks… contact US State Department and US Department of Defense and enquire and compare American aid to Israel compared with Africa during the last fifty years and self for yourselves!
All is agreed, arguably, that the need is greater in Africa, BUT, Africa is not where the greatest amount of foreign aid from America and Europe goes! These are verifiable!
Again, it must be stated that everyone in America and Europe are already familiar with very mundane method to which Obama resorted. It is the case that quite often, anyone and everyone, individuals, institutions and governments are quick to loudly and ostentatiously diagnose African challenges and then, they promptly proceed on their merry way to do nothing about the human conditions in Africa!
What is the point of relevance in loud diagnosis when you have no plan for relief in sight? What is the value of public criticism when you have no specific policy or program which addresses your “eloquent” diagnosis?
How about mutual responsibility? Parts of Europe and parts of Asia received Marshall Plan to enable reconstruction and rehabilitation of parts of Asia and Europe, after the self-inflicted World Wars, Africans and African Americans have not been so lucky, because after slavery, after colonialism, and yes, after the World Wars in which Africans fought as conscripted soldiers on behalf of America and Europe, Africans received no Marshall Plans or any such thing to put us in good stead, we were left to sink or swim, to fend for ourselves. And Obama glosses over, waves all these profound impact away with his left hand? Please!
On the important matter of slave trade history, of horrors and brutalities, Obama only made tepid terse and tired statements full of generalities about human capacity to do good and evil, evil that still exist in the world – blah, blah, blah.
And Obama acclaimed the extraordinary progress between Blacks and Whites; and such efforts which led to the abolition of slavery to his election I suppose. He used the statements again to take swipe at the locals as he spoke about oppression and cruelty wherever it appears. Lectures for primary school pupils?
In all this, Obama came across as suddenly lacking patented and trademarked oratorical skills, he suddenly pretended to lack all his usual fervid luster and manner of speaking, except when he referred to the irony of slave traders having a church erected right atop slave dungeon, the White slave traders exhibited outward manifestations of piety, even as they dealt in death, murder, maiming and shackling of their human cargoes of Africans as slaves. Slave traders with human cargoes treated worse than farm animals, exported out off of their entire familiar.
On the whole, Obama failed miserably, to seize the moment. Obama manifested a complete lack of interest, he suddenly appeared tongue-tied and inarticulate, as if in a loss for words. Obama’s comments at the slave dungeon, were surprisingly very short, he sounded tired, distracted, and he sounded as if needing coffee or as if overdue for an expresso-strength coffee-break!
Obama, whether when he addressed the parliament of Ghana or at his one minute statement at the slave dungeons, failed, refused or neglected to outline or layout his policy for Africa, and yet, every buffon-African is supposed to have been appeased Obama’s fly-over stop-over for a few hours, with the ensuing lectures and pronouncements?
Some are hoping, that Ghana can somehow maximize “benefits” from Obama’s quick-stop in Ghana, but what exactly are those benefits?
I guess some feel as if Obama’s stop-over in Ghana is to endorse Ghana as “a country with democratic spirit” is therefore seen as certification of Ghana as a nation fit as destination for investments, trade and tourism by America and Europe. And I am hoping that Ghana gets so good soon, after Obama’s prattling and tattling tales, so good in fact, that the 8 million people who are currently out of work or unemployed in America due to financial meltdown, will mill or troop to Ghana and I for one will gladly follow them to Ghana! As I am happy for Kwame Nkrumah and Jerry Rawlings’ Ghana. This is good for Ghana; our West African neighbor.
Obama’s display of his lack of diplomatic finesse is selective, so this talk about Obama showing tough love through his condescending lecture and diplomatic slap to Kenya, South Africa and notably for me, Nigeria; Obama’s brief foray into Ghana and the preachments afterthoughts wrapped in spin doctoring of Obama’s inept and undiplomatic approach to Africa.
It must be remembered and borne in mind that Obama has a track record of making impassioned and vociferous speeches with rhetorical flourishes, as he did at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, and in Philadelphia during his speech on race in America and Rev. Wright, then Obama’s speech in Berlin, Cairo, Buchenwald, Normandy, etc, it begs the question as to what changed in him in Ghana?
America through Obama has an ulterior and unhidden motive in Ghana even amidst Ghana’s modest gains. Ghana is said to be open to hosting the American military armada as headquarters for Pentagon’s so-called African Command or AfriCom and Ghana is suddenly now and exporter of petroleum and Ghana is seen as amenable and pliable by the Americans.
Obama knows where not to offend his hosts. And Obama knows those who could put his reelection in jeopardy or at risk, Obama also knows where to be a glib talker who speaks obliquely about injustices of the past, present, while sermonizing about responsibility, good governance and corruption redundantly avec sanctimoniously! What Obama parroted in Ghana, are things the average African already knew, and have dissected and digested for more than fifty years. I can only add that Obama is a smart man, who knows all these things.
A commentator in The New York Times wrote: he, (Obama) failed to acknowledge the role the United States played in getting Africa to where it is today. Ms. Susan Rice, the United Nation Ambassador, an undersecretary of state for African Affairs during the Clinton administration should have primed the President a lot better on the United States’ role in undermining democracy and promoting violence in Africa.
For the record, the trajectory of modern African history was shaped by the actions of United States, Belgium and France in today’s Democratic Republic of Congo in 1960, which was then known as the Belgian Congo. Who killed Patrice Lumumba and why?
The overthrow and murder of Patrice Lumumba by Belgium mercenaries radicalized Nkrumah, the leader of Ghana, pushing Ghana closer to the USSR. If an elected African leader could be overthrown and murdered by mercenaries from a country allied with the United Sates who was safe? Nkrumah followed that by funding armed liberation movements to challenge the white settler governments in southern Africa. This introduced an element of violence, unlike Ghana’s transition from British rule. The path taken by Nkrumah had a negative influence on his contemporaries.
Whereas in the affairs of Europeans the United Sates’ role was that of a guardian, nurturing democracy in Eastern Europe, the reader must be reminded that in Africa the U.S. favored any government, so long as it claimed to be pro-Western. Here is a partial list of U.S allies in Africa (and their fates in brackets) between 1960 and 1990: Liberia (civil war), Nigeria (civil war), Zaire (civil war), Sudan (need I say more), Kenya, and yes Somalia! How does anyone explain U.S funding of UNITA in the Angola Civil war? When the military overthrew Nkrumah’s government, the United Sates rewarded the junta by sending food aid and other consumer goods.
So the reader must note the irony that crestfallen Black-Star, Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana, the final resting place of WEB Dubois, the NAACP pioneer, is still the best example
of Africans managing their own affairs and the hope of the race in Africa.”
Above links where Mr. Clement Ikpatt wondered about Obama’s redundantly mundane speech in Ghana
Above links where Mr. John Iteshi wondered if Obama is fraud on the Black race
Obama knows where not to mince words. Or defer to diplomatic politesse and labored, tortured deliberate over-calibrated message, in which Obama seek to avoid unproductive confrontations and unnecessary loggerheads, his only exception so far, is Africa!
Obama certainly knows when to be a superb diplomat and an expert at delicately balance or even obfuscate through parsing of words, when the feelings of others are involved; It seems as if, in Obama’s view, he has some sorts of poetic license to be rude and undiplomatic especially when world issues relate to Africans, because, some percentage of the blood which runs through his veins is of Africa? Obama used this pedestrian but emotive line, to cloud and shroud his condescension with which he lectured Africans
As we kept hearing during Obama’s brief stop in Ghana, that Ghana is being REWARDED! Rewarded with Obama’s quick stop, but Ghana is being rewarded with what exactly? You would think Ghana is Israel which receives billions of dollars in American aid every year, and does not care what the US think! Israel has a population of less than 6 million and Ghana, America’s new best friend, has a population of 24 million people and what was America’s aid to Ghana last year compared with Israel? Ghana rewarded with what?
Obama announced in Ghana, that he will support nations which make democratic commitment, and shun other nations who do not, fine! So, what ever happened to unconditional talks with nations previously designated, rightly or wrongly, as enemies of America? Is this where candidate Obama meets President Obama in reality check? There is tyranny in Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and for some unstated reasons, other than known facts, Obama is not shunning these nations?
Obama seem to conflict, contradict and confuse his own policies! He visited Russia to ask for a reboot, reset of relations between America and Russia. He failed to criticize Russia’s corruption, Russian Mafia way of doing business through organized crime. Obama failed to criticize Prime Minister Vladmir Puttin’s self-succession, from president to prime minister while handpicking President Medvedev akin to former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo favoring President YarAdua to succeed him, but, at least in the case of Nigeria, Mr. Obasanjo has no official post or role in current Nigerian government!
It is okay to acknowledge the fact that Obama did put his undiplomatic foot in his mouth when flippant Obama tactlessly accused PM Puttin of have a foot in the past! But on the whole, while in Russia, Obama conducted himself in a very measured manner, nonetheless. Just as he faked neutrality in the post election protests in Iran. Obama seem to know when to wring his hands shyly, as when he gingerly begged Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu on Israel’s land-grab settlements in Palestine and Israel’s usurpation of political and economic oxygen in Palestine.
Let us repeat for emphasis here again, Obama did not visit Kenya, his ancestral homeland, nor visit South Africa and more importantly, Obama overlooked visiting Nigeria. He shunned these nations with commitment to democracy!
What commitment to democracy does Egypt and Saudi Arabia reminds anyone reading this of? These are the same nations which Obama visited during the preceding 30 days before his trip to Ghana! Egypt for instance, has a president for life, endorsed by every American president since Ronald Reagan, Hosni Mubarak has been president of Egypt since 1981. Under President Mubarak, Egypt has violently cracked down on political opposition and in particular, the Islamic Muslim Brotherhood. Mubarak has been extreme in his violent repressive measures, including detention without trial, and I guess this fit perfectly with America’s phobia for Islam? Detentions without trial in Guantanamo is really not different from detention without trial in Egypt or is it?
Anyone can say, arguably, that democracy is not perfect in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria and indeed, the rest of the world! I make bold to say that the imperfect democracy in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria, is better day compared with the non existence democracy night in say, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. When was the last election in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait? And when is the next election in both nations? Is Obama shunning these nations? Why isn’t he? Looking at Obama, I can now say that the beautiful ones are not yet born!