WELCOME BACK TO AFRICA, MR DRONIDENT
By CAMERON DUODU
WHO now remembers the excitement with which most black people in the world watched the steady progress with which Barack Obama raced into the American presidency?
I’d never heard of him until a posting on the Internet heaped fulsome praise on the ‘keynote speech’ Obama had made at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004.
“Dare we dream?” the posting gushed. “Are we going to see a Black US President in our life-time”?
A Black President of the United States our lifetime? Alice In Wonderland stuff, surely?
However, I began to take an interest in Obama and followed his contest against Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic candidacy in 2007.
The Clinton camp threw all the resources of a former presidency against Obama. Nevertheless, Obama’s simple, optimistic campaign slogan: “Yes, we can!”, captured the imagination of optimistic-minded Americans.
He defeated Mrs Clinton at the Democratic Party primaries in 2008. He was now the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate. But was he electable nationally in an America with such a history of racism?
He roundly defeated the Republican candidate, John McCain, in the 2008 presidential election, and was inaugurated as President on January 20, 2009.
The Nobel Prize Committee, as astounded as we all were, hardly waited for him to embark on any earth-shattering policies in the direction of world peace before naming him the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009.
But Obama must have disappointed the Nobel Peace Prize Committee profoundly. His acceptance speech was, to say the least, churlish. It could just as well have been penned by the [G W] Bush – [Tony] Blair speech-writing cabal.
This is what I wrote of the speech at the time:
QUOTE: “At first, I felt pity for President Barack Obama as he stood at the podium in Oslo, Norway, on 9 December 2009, to speak to the world, after being handed the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009. For he must have been aware that during his election campaign, he had aroused hopes — world-wide — that if he won, the world would see a new United States.
But there he stood, having just dispatched 30,000 American troops to Afghanistan! A new America?
“Obama’s words did not convey a sense of ‘Please don’t laugh at me. I didn’t start the war! I inherited it!’
“On the contrary, he must have astounded — if not shamed– the Nobel Peace Prize Committee by defiantly lecturing them on “just wars”. He stated bluntly: ‘As a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone [he was referring here to Gandhi and Martin Luther King]. I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people.’
I said to myself: Hey, “George Bush, Dick Cheney — come back! All is forgiven! This is Obama? The Obama who said at a civil forum with John McCain at the Saddleback Church, in Lake Forest, California in 2008, that ‘a lot of evil has been perpetrated based on the claim that we were trying to confront evil’?
“Holy Moses! This is orthodox American Imperialism addressing the vassals it saved from Hitler! This is history in which the CIA’s destruction of progressive regimes around the world does not exist; in which killing a democratically-elected Salvador Allende in Chile was justified because he was a Marxist; in which parachuting armed men to the Bay of Pigs to overthrow Fidel Castro and bring back Batista to keep oppressing the people of Cuba, and imposing a trade embargo on the island when the invasion failed, and forcing other countries to observe the embargo too – are all airbrushed from history.
“Oliver North stands absolved in Obama’s version of US history….
“‘So yes,’ Obama added, ‘the instruments of war do have a role to play in preserving the peace’.” UNQUOTE
Did John McCain hear Obama say that?
As he addresses the African continent in Addis Ababa during his July 2015 visit to Kenya and Ethiopia, I have only one question to ask him: “Do you think, President Obama, that if the British had killed Jomo Kenyatta with a drone during the ”Mau Mau” insurrection in Kenya in the 1950s, they would have done the world a favour? Remember please, that Jomo Kenyatta was trained in Moscow; that he was the associate of ‘Cold War undesirables’ like George Padmore, and as far as Britain was concerned, a deadly enemy. The British in fact imprisoned him as the leader of a ”terrorist” organisation!
Indeed, a British Governor of Kenya, Sir Patrick Renison, put the British policy into emotive words when he described Kenyatta as “a leader unto darkness and death!”
Yet it was this very Kenyatta who, released from prison by the British, succeeded in uniting Kenya’s ethnic groups into a coalition government and founded the peaceful nation whose existence gave your father the opportunity to go to the United States to pursue further studies, and to meet and marry your mother, and – father you!
Kenyatta co-operated with the British so well that some Kenyans even began to suspect that he had become a British stooge, especially when he allowed British farmers to keep some of their land holdings in the so-called “White Highlands”.
You should possess a unique insight into history, through an examination of your own personal history. Yet you ignore it and employ drones, flown thousands of miles from their targets, to kill “enemies” classified as such by your intelligence agencies.
Don’t these agencies ever make mistakes in their perceptions of foreign politicians? Aren’t some of these “enemies” — even if they are murderers — killed by drones at spots where innocent men, women and children, who are not political themselves but only happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, are also slaughtered?
Mr President, this policy of assassination-by-drones is dangerous. You are said to agonise over target lists before you authorise drone strikes.
But just imagine what, say, a less scrupulous and more rough-and-ready “President Barry Goldwater” (who, it was reported, favoured a ”first strike” with nuclear weapons against the Soviet Union) of the future, could do with drones! The whole political system of the world would become hostage to the United States, wouldn’t it?
But wouldn’t he say, if he was attacked by the liberal media in the US: “Why attack me, when I’m only following in the footsteps of your darling Barack Obama?”
That, surely, should be a nightmare scenario for the author of The Audacity of Hope?