22 January, 2009

At This Moment

I Barack Hussein Obama.... Those words - so surreal, so incredible - will continue to resonate in millions of people's minds, for a long time to come. One could have imagined a Black man becoming the president of the most powerful country in the world, but, for any one - before - to have imagined that any one with a name like that and with such a background, could take oath, using such a name and take over the most powerful office on this planet, that person would have been considered a big joke, or totally insane.

And: it's only in America, could such an extremely incredible event be. Be and happen in such a swift and dramatic manner. Only: in that awesome land of opportunity could that happen. Be and happen; and very hopefully set and be a precedent to be emulated in other places. In the Middle East: allow democracy and the ballot, and not nepotism and favoritism, to decide who holds high office; in Africa and in most other developing countries: allow and let democracy work smoothly without causing bloodshed and destruction during and after elections; in Australia: allow indigenous Aborigines, too, to hold high office; in Europe and most of the other so called developed countries: give capable minorities the opportunity to achieve and reach as high. And, in the US - yes, the US: very hopefully, a moment will come when an indigenous, native American will take, too, that oath for that highest office.

For me, Obama's journey, and my total support and admiration for him through the years, has been rather a very personal matter. But, now, for millions around our Planet - he is the symbol of/for hope, peace and change. Will he and can he deliver? Below are excerpts of his inaugural address and how I interpret them:

And so, to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more.

'...the grandest capitals' could mean any of the many world cities - but, it's Moscow, Tehran and Pyongyang that most likely Obama meant; and 'the small village where my father was born' meaning Kogelo, Kenya - and the many other small villages across Africa - where Obama is most admired. Africa, which is hoping and expecting for Obama to perform miracles and lift Africans out of poverty and hopelessness; expectations that the new American president does not have much power to fulfill.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.

Intended for all Muslims, friends and foes alike; after the Bush years of estrangement between Muslims and the White House - a kind of olive branch. Only time will tell, if Mr. Obama can heal the deep wounds created by Bush, between Muslims and the American administration. The biggest test and the most serious stumbling block would be how to resolve the dispute between Arabs and Israel. Can and will Obama be an honest, unbiased broker; an unbiased broker who does not allow Israel to act and slaughter with impunity and immunity? Very hard to see that happening. And then, there is Afghanistan; how Obama handles it, would most likely determine most - how Muslims, overall, respond to him. Can he and will he be able to handle Afghanistan in such a way that would win the hearts and minds of most Muslims or will he only create more animosity? Afghanistan has broken many, and if the new president isn't careful - it will be his greatest foreign policy blunder and undoing.

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

Most likely directed to Mugabe and the many like him in Africa and probably in the Middle East. Can and will, now, Mr. Mugabe - unclench his fist and allow his people to move forward decently?

And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders, nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

Of all that Mr. Obama said, this is what I look forward for and to, most. If America and the world's richest nations can spread their wealth and lift from poverty and hunger, the lives of millions of starving people around the world, in an honest, no-strings attached way; if America and the wealthiest countries, can use the world's resources in a wise, unselfish, sustainable and constructive way; with our environment, climate and all other living creatures in mind - the world and humanity, would indeed have been very well served.

......And why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

Very hopefully, many more Obama's; many more people who have been prejudiced upon and marginalized - would, in time, be allowed to fulfill their ambitions and dreams and be able to say the same about their situation and achievement.

Image: NECN