Mazrui On Barack Obama

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[Global News: On Barack Obama]

Ali Mazrui in a recent interview with Democracy Now's Amy Goodman declared that President Barack Obama is the most powerful Black man that has walked the face of the earth and said his election paves the way for heads of states to emerge in European countries.

Mazrui, 76 years old, the eminent Kenyan-born scholar who is a professor at the State University of New York system, in Binghamton, said there have been past powerful Black men, including Ramses II, Menelik II, and Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah.

He might have added Nelson Mandela as well.

On the other hand, Obama, because of the constructive as well as destructive power of the United States wields, is by far the most powerful Black man who has lived. He said Obama's election has been a "breakthrough in race relations" in the history of the world and that Obama has "broken the taboo."

Obama has "set a precedent" for countries in the Western World with majority White populations to see the emergence of Black leaders. According to Mazrui, Obama's election now paves the way and the possibilities in European countries such as France, the U.K. and Germany.

France has been increasingly appointing Black government ministers, Mazrui noted and even the U.K. could elect a Black prime minister not in his lifetime but certainly in the near future.

Germany would "take a while" Mazrui noted.

Yet Mazrui seemed defensive when asked to respond to critics who contend that Obama simply puts a Black face to U.S. and Western imperialism.

Mazrui’s response was shaky, while noting that Obama has inherited the Iraq and the Afghanistan wars, he observed that the president has been escalating the war in Afghanistan.

Mazrui also said Obama would be "crazy" to start a war with North Korea and said he hoped he would not start a war with Iran. Every American president, since the 1930s have launched military conflict with other countries. Sometimes "people are swallowed up by the office they occupy," Mazrui noted.

He should have also added that the critique is nonsensical. Because the United States is a global empire, does that mean that African Americans should never aspire to become president? Personally I believe it’s one of the most foolish criticisms that have been leveled against the United States.

It’s almost like saying because one opposes capitalism, one should not shop, including for groceries, since the bulk of goods and services in the United States are produced by exploitative corporations.

During the recent interview, Mazrui, who always shares some words of wisdom whenever interviewed also disclosed that he's turned down an invitation to Prince Charles's 60th birthday celebration.

Mazrui also spoke of Nkrumah as the first "post colonial Black president of the world" and President Obama as the "first post colonial Black president of the Western world."

"He was the most ambitious Pan Africanist of the twentieth century," Mazrui added, of Nkrumah.

For the videos of the interviews please see:

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