Obama And Source Of The Nile
Tom Mboya was a gentleman of the old school. As so often has happened in my long life span in Africa, I was to attend his funeral on that flat island called Rusinga close to the location where Barack Obama visited members of his fatherâ€™s family. Mboya, in the prime of his life, was shot down in a planned assassinationâ€¦.
Barack Obama's plan is music to many frustrated people in the world where for several decades now we have gradually come to accept, without effective protest, that our leading world politicians are programmed to lie.
Obama, and from his body language he means it, shouts “Change!” Obama knows, and his followers know, that the only remedy for the sharp decline in the good reputation of the once mighty America is for a change, not only within the domestic body politic but outwards in foreign policy with a more rational assessment of the internal pressures within the countries whose foreign policy is relevant to its own security and an appropriate diplomatic approach rather than knee jerk threats of sanctions and the bombastic blowing of war trumpets.
African Americans pride themselves on the use of language to bring unity. In the dark period when, after slave sales, their ancestors had to live together with others of different languages and widely varying customs the voice was the only tool they had.
They had no weapons, they had no power except the mastery of the vocal chords in song and clever rhetoric to pit against the whip, the torture and the bullying of slave masters.
This eventually brought them freedom despite the resources ranged against them and the wisdom gained in turn influenced the tactics of later politicians in Africa, the birth of Liberia and the strength behind Kwame Nkrumah the freedom fighter of Ghana.
Already we are seeing this skill and fervor in the speeches of Obama who has roots in the soil of Africa and comes from the great agriculturists and fishermen families who produced one of the finest leaders of the old colonial days who fought and established trade unionism in defiance of the then British administration in East Africa.
This man was the legendary Tom Mboya, a genius and leader I knew well as a friend. He was a member of the Luo ethnicity and a personal associate of Barack’s Kisumu family.
Mboya was known to us all as a defiant spokesman for the Luo at a time when they were heavily dominated by the Kikuyu. Yet Mboya did more than others at the time, organizing demonstrations against the British administrators of Kenya who were holding secret trials of the Kikuyu, placing tens of thousands in the Tsavo and other concentration camps.
Mboya was a gentleman of the old school. As so often has happened in my long life span in Africa, I was to attend his funeral on that flat island called Rusinga close to the location where Barack Obama visited members of his father’s family.
Mboya, in the prime of his life, was shot down in a planned assassination, sadly by a Kikuyu, something the Luo are never going to forget and is one of those memories adding to the present divisions within Kenya.
Obama is endeavoring at this time to focus on the ugly aspects of recent government not only in his own country, the United States, but elsewhere around the world and demanding, genuinely in my view, that this must change, including actions in Iraq and its suffering peoples.
Obama has told America and the world that he is prepared for a face-to-face talk with the leaders of Iran. He realizes that there will be no peace until there is an understanding between his great country and this country that developed one of the first great civilizations and was once the centre of the then known world’s commerce.
If Obama is sincere with this promise he has my moral vote. Even within Iraq, and so many are not aware of its existence, is one of those islands of civilization that recalls the film “Lost Horizon” that some of us saw in our youth with its city of Shangri-La, a serene escape from the corrupt and turbulent injustices of the outside world.
I can hear you saying “impossible!” but there it is just some 60 miles from Baghdad, a true Shangri-La for thousands of dignified Moslems of many professions boasting orchestras, swimming pools, debating societies and the home of Islamic poets.
Courage must be their motto for they are devoted to the cause of defending human rights. This is the city of Ashraf built on an oasis today inhabited by a proud, dignified, professional people mostly refugees from Iran and especially from the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Mullahs.
We are told, and learnt from their literature, that these Iranians who live under the flag of Iraq also include men and women originally from Iran but who today are nationals of Canada, America, United Kingdom; in fact from almost every democratic country but who are making the greatest of sacrifices by risking their own safety only so that their homeland next door to Iraq can someday also enjoy freedom, democracy, and a respect for individual and group human rights.
Their future today is very grim. Ashraf has gone unnoticed. It has been peaceful under the present American administration but as Obama has reminded us all, the present American foreign policy has lost its way and seemingly the great peoples of Ashraf are to be handed over to Iran in some ugly maneuvers similar to those at the end of World War II when tens of thousands of Russians who had fought against communism were handed over to Stalin for immediate mass execution.
Talking to Ashraf leaders, as I have, they see Barack Obama as a world leader whose words will give hope. Here is a man of America---A Black man, who is prepared to listen.
The Bush group, having cleverly described their foreign policy as a “war on terror” and thus justified aggressive acts anywhere they choose in the world as legitimate national defensive measures, feel free to declare sanctions against already suffering peoples and support notoriously undemocratic regimes whom they favor or who control necessary raw materials.
Barack Obama recognizes that natural honest democrats exist in all corners of the planet and a much better response to problems is to speak to all the leaders and work towards solutions that are self supporting and capable of developing democratically with grassroots support.
The good people of Ashraf see that the self imposed policing of the planet by the present U.S. government could have been so much more successful and truly praiseworthy if less selfishly business driven and more characteristic of the widespread generous instincts of the majority of the American people.
It needs a Barack Obama if it is to bring around us an envelope of peace and a sharing of the world’s life giving minerals. Over and over again Bush has reminded us that Africa is the future of the planet, but he has shown how sticky fingers take what they can and give nothing but war in return.
Obama stands for the best in both Africa and America and even as I write, his hand extends to that wonderful lady of wisdom, Sarah, his grandmother, who comes from the Kenyan village of Nyangoma nestling there in the bush close to Lake Victoria from which the might of the Nile flows.
She is the same age as myself, 85, and Africa blesses us as elders of wisdom. So be it. Heed the elders of the world, from North korea to Alaska, and choose Barack Obama as the best present choice for sanity and a hopeful future for the young and the still unborn.
Astles who lived for many years in Africa was once an advisor to Ugandan dictator Idi Amin Dada. The movie “The Last King of Scotland,” is widely believed to have been based on his life.
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