‘K. This is an issue that I have to write about.
I am being flooded, bombarded by news about this guy. Barack Hussein Obama. Soon to be president of America.
I was fascinated before, by the fairy tale story of this rise of pauper to prince. It is amusing, fascinating, enthralling. This real life story of a good man.
I am unashamedly African. Mine has not been the heritage of the African American, nor that of the African in the diaspora, in
What does Barack Obama American journey mean to me?
First it was a source of amusement.
My upbringing, my sense of family, my sense of clan can never divorce from my thoughts that Obama is African. Simply because his father was African.
Bear with me. I grew up where the clan and ethnic group defines the person. That is
Obama is Luo. That African ethnic group which straddles the
So, here is this African man that is becoming president of the most powerful nation on earth. A bit unbelievable.
Yet that very fact is touching.
But he is more than that. He is also a white man. WildeY once touched me with his anger at the racial abuse that he suffered from fellow Africans, who thought that he was not African enough because one of his parents is white.
A continent of paradoxes. And the same old prejudices.
If Obama was in
But those racial problems have been a problem in
For the first time in my life, c/o CNN, I have listened to the MLKJr speech- the speech, ‘I have a dream’. Brought tears to my eyes. High flying eloquence, rhetoric, the power, cadence of speech, the point when he seems to put aside the written words and goes on to describe the dream. The marriage of ideals, speaking out against bigotry. All sorts of bigotry. Tackling the central theme of the African american’s discrimination in all spheres of life, but going ahead and tying it with the Jew, and all others who were discriminated against. The ideas and ideals are solid, and moving. The logical and rhetorical basis of the words touching.
I must say they reached out and touched me.
And that is the rub, not because the dream that he was talking about touches me as an African in my world- but as a gay African.
I have never truly identified with African Americans. I can never claim to understand their problem of race and racism. If I was from
I can understand what I have lived, in my small and limited experience, environment. I can understand being considered half a person, on basis of a small part of what I am. It is not a failing, and I understand that when I don’t articulate that dream of I, a gay man, being equal and, that I, a gay man have and should have no fear for my life and happiness just because I am gay, a homosexual, I understand something is going on in my life that links my world to that of the current President elect, and soon to be President of the
This is a global village. I understand the fact that, with the
Bush the 43rd proved again and again in my life, how powerful the president of
Sigh, having said that, I have to take the next logical step for me. Make the dream mine, reach out and live the ideals, less Obama’s or the Americans’ but mine- where I am.
That is the challenge, seeing the ideas beyond the leader, however charismatic he or she is. Being able to forge the dream into my own, instead of the charismatic leader’s- and following it even if he fails it. Making the dream my own.