Participating in Positive Change

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President Obama as seen by the world

January 22, 2009

A messiah, philanthropist, politician, courageous and a play boy

The 44th and first African-American President of the United States of America is seen by many from different angles, to represent different things. It could as well be the good, the bad, the ugly and why not, the best.

Ordinary Africans: They see Obama as someone who is expected to use his position to pressure African leaders to stop clinking to power. They also hope he will prevent US and US firms and other western companies and banks from serving as safe-havens for embezzled funds from the continent.

Pan Africanists: They believe Africa needs a rebirth and another wind of change to blow across the continent. They hope Obama not only being an African-American, but, supposedly, passionate about Africa, would use his position as the most powerful man on earth, to destroy neo-colonial ties and help Africa to be able to stand up to its own feet. The colonial cup web is really complicated and very difficult. It will take a strong man and a strong nation like America with the will and ability to destroy it certainly to the disgruntlement of several other “developed” nations.

This is however, daunting and life threatening because; he has to serve the interest of the US first. Many Pan Africanists believe Africa is in shackles today because of the relics of neo-colonial systems which have continued to kill any nationalistic instincts and hunt various countries’ development. Most leaders are still products of the neo-colonial administration and are serving neo colonial interests.

Just as Obama cautioned those who prolong their stay in power through corruption and deceit, many expect him to caution developed countries who use their military and economic prowess to stifle political and economic development in developing countries and institutionalise state corruption through shady contracts and other business deals. People see in him, a man courageous enough and capable to change the tides. It’s just a matter of will.

Moderate Arabs. Obama’s policy of pursuing dialogue before action is likened to thinking before acting. This is well received by many who see in him, a kind of solution to the disturbing Israeli Palestine conflict.

Obama must be bold enough to tell Israel that they have to make major pre 1967 concessions just as well as remind Palestinians/Arabs that they must recognise Israel’s right to exist. Anything short of this, will mal any “sustainable” Middle East peace deal.

Fundamentalists: They say Obama is just a rubber stamp who will not be able to make any change or difference. Some of them see his choice of Rham Emmanuel (Chief of Staff) and Hilary Clinton (Secretary of State) diehard supporters of Israel as a clear indication that US policy towards resolving the Middle East crisis will not change.

Europeans. They consider Obama as a president whose mandate will be more subtle than that of his predecessor.

Some believe Obama is a messiah with a panacea to all national and international problems. Never in world history has a leader of a country been greeted with such euphoria as was the case with OBAMA in various continents

Many see Obama as a philanthropist because as they say, he seems to have the good will and intentions. They see him as someone who will "re-distribute" the wealth not only within US but also out of the US. That is while some equally say he is more socialist, liberalist inclined than the traditionally capitalist America.

Others see him just as any other politician. Politics is a game of interests and politicians hardly respect their words. They constantly use sweet words to cajole people.

A lot more see in him a “player” and a “lover boy”, a handsome guy who can be the target of any woman. They already fear another “Monica Lewinsky” affair in the White House.

Many see him as an incarnation of hope and the dawn of a new era. Swedish newspapers among which, DN asserted this. Others equally see him as just trying to gain attention for his first days in office and will soon change course.

People also see Obama as Mr Realistic, Understanding and Pragmatic. He started manifesting these from day one in office by suspending Quantanamo trials and cutting the huge salaries for White House senior aides. People also want to him to understand that democracy which is America’s biggest product should not be forced on people in the name of freedom. It should be well marketed and left for buyers to decide whether they will go in for it or not. This school of thought argue that some of America’s strongest allies like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco are themselves very anti democracy countries.

Some see him as a star/celebrity and will want be with him all the time, reason why his inauguration attendance was record breaking in US history. Over 2 million people attended.

Whatever be the case, a builder can only be judged on how and what he builds. Time will tell.

Go Back

I am Bela Primus Bebang an MSc Governance student in the Netherlands.I think Obama is indeed a mix figure in current world Politucs.He is Black/White has a normal/Islamic name,His father from Kenya and mother from Kansas infact only history will judge his Presidency,popularity,figure and mix identity.I wish him the best.



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