We have our own general elections coming up this December but I doubt that anyone would stay up until 3 in the morning to listen to Akuffo-Addo, Nduom or Atta-Mills make a speech (“ZzzzzZZzzZZZzzZZz…”: sorry, but it’s true) the way a few of us have stayed up listening to Barack Obama on BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera (the three news channels whose transmissions take over from Ghana’s at night).
An Al Jazeera poll recently ranked Obama the US presidential candidate most popular outside America, and Ghana (where someone has even made a reggae song about the man) is no different. One might ask why anyone here should care. Besides an inherent fascination in the notion of (not just an African-American but) the direct son of an African in the White House, the simple fact is that American presidents make decisions that affect everyone’s lives. Frankly speaking, the rest of the world should be allowed a bloc vote in every US Election.
When Obama suggested he was open to direct negotiations with Iran, I was full of hope that such open-mindedness was not just sensible but that it could spill over into other US foreign policies, especially where Africa was concerned.
‘Change we can believe in’ started to sound – well – believable.
To say I was disappointed when Obama ‘s first major post-victory speech veered back in the direction of ‘same old, same old’ would be to describe Rawlings as having been irritated when Atta-Mills decided not to contest the results of Ghana’s 2004 elections (rumour has it that he was livid).
Don’t get me wrong: I understand that Obama needs to arm himself against a Republican campaign machine that has torn to shreds the reputations of men whose middle names are far less hysteria-inducing than ‘Hussein’.
What I have never understood though is how America can position itself as a peace broker on the matter of Israel and Palestine but proclaim such open and unashamed bias towards one side.
Obama’s speech seemed to go further than a McCain speech might have. I guess that, having said what he had said earlier about Iran, he had something to prove. I just hope he has nothing to prove to those people expecting him to effect change in black/African issues.
Given that he now probably won’t be the one to bring about peace in the Middle East, the speech should at least silence not only those who think he will be soft on terrorists but also those who think Obama might be the Antichrist… which will probably get him more of the Poor-Fearful-White-American-Male vote, right?