As sent to us from Julius Awafong. Listen to Chuck read this on the show on April 28th or listen to Awafong read it in the player below.
A Letter to President Barrack Hussein Obama – 44th President of the USA
Dear Mr President;
November 4th 2008: most Africans, especially blacks, woke up from bed in excitement and tension. Why? They were anxious to see a black man becoming the boss of the White House in the USA for the first time in history. In beer parlours, street corners, market squares, taxis, buses, schools and offices, everyone had one name on their lips – Barack Hussein Obama.
I downloaded most of your campaign speeches and the one that really carried most of us away was the November 3rd Campaign Trail speech in Virginia. After listening to the speech, my friend, a veteran journalist, referring to you, said: “This guy’s voice sounds like that of an angel! People like him appear only once in 50 years. It will take us half a century to get someone like him again, someone that can move the world with hope!” Many people who learned that I had your biography and campaign speeches on video came begging, one after the other, to know more about you.
On the 4th-5th night of November 2008, most of us in my neighborhood didn’t sleep, since we decided to meditate and call on God to do us good by pushing all Americans to cast their votes for you – Mr President. I stood up the whole night watching the TV, and 30 minutes before the results were declared, I fell into a nap because of fatigue; I woke up due to a great shouting, as if Cameroon had won the football World Cup. I jumped up and turned my eyes to the TV, and discovered you had won the Presidential elections in the USA. That was about 4 a.m., a risky time to stroll at night, but even the “men of the underworld” forgot about their illicit jobs and were in jubilation for your victory. Peter Essoka, a veteran journalist in Cameroon, said in one of his radio reflections: “It has actually not dawned on me yet, that a Black man, or ‘what-cha-call-it’– African American, coloured, etc.–is going to take residence at the White House. You must be joking, right? You know, it is like drama, what Shakespeare described as ‘A Comedy of Errors’ and the best shocking joke of the 21st century.” Mr. President, black men were proud to be black.
Mr President, Africans, in their majority, thought Africa would be saved from the exploitation and manipulation of their former colonial masters, who had a longstanding tradition of dictating and imposing their own leaders in most African nations. The name Obama is first and foremost an African name, a family name in Cameroon, but it was immediately transformed into what we call a Christian or given name; it was given to many children who were born that night. The name Obama was made equal to Christian names like Joseph, Peter, Paul, and others from the Bible, just because of you, Mr President. All this excitement was because we thought Africa would be saved by its own son, the son of a father who abandoned his family in the blessed land–the USA—to come back and help build Africa.
Mr President, in the year 2000, most people who were against George W. Bush and the Republicans agreed that he lost his election against Al Gore, but that did not stop the USA from accepting the ruling of the Supreme Court; no president of any country of the world, no leader, uttered a word, because they respected the USA and its institutions. Yet today, in the Ivory Coast, most people who are against President Laurent Gbagbo have refused to recognise his victory over his opponent Alassane Dramane Ouattara, and you, Mr. President, openly took sides. You spit in the face of a whole nation, you spit on a constitution put in place by hard-working, intelligent and vibrant citizens.
Mr Obama, you once said you are opposed to wars that are ideologically driven and based on power and politics instead of reason and you regretted the fact that the USA is mired in a tragic and costly war that should have never been waged because you certainly value the lives of your soldiers. American parents just like African parents have the same love for their children and none of them want a war in their territory or senseless wars out of their territory that will take away the lives of their children, which they suffered to raise. You didn’t think about this, Mr Obama, because it was not a war fought on the American soil. It’s easier to provoke war on some people’s land but difficult to do same on your own land because you value you children and close ones.
Mr President, the consequence of your ‘lack of foresight’ is that innocent children — just like your girls, pregnant women, parents,—have lost their lives; they are still dying today. The list of orphans has drastically increased and many people, through their inhuman acts, have bestowed curses upon themselves just because you want somebody – Ouattara, to earn the title “President of the Republic”. When this same disputed elections happened in the USA in 2000, nobody died, and we did not hear your voice calling on Democrats to take guns and remove President Bush from the White House so that Al Gore would earn the title “President of the USA”. On the contrary, in your speech during the “Take Back America Conference” on June 14 2006, you qualified President Bush as “a good man who loves his country” and said that his administration was “full of smart folks.” Your reaction on the Ivorian crisis makes us understand that President Gbagbo and his administration is completely the reverse of what you think of the Bush’s – what an insult on Africans.
Mr President, I do not understand where you get the guts, without an iota of respect, to ask an elected president of a sovereign nation, older in age than you, who holds a Ph.D. like you, to step down from power. You claim you are trying to promote democracy, but do you really think democracy, which basically means the wellbeing of the majority of people, is achieved through a change of presidents?
Please do not get me wrong. I am not putting the entire blame on you. I simply blame the short-sighted Africans who rely on your words—words that bring disunity and hatred—to destroy their nations and kill their brothers and sisters. Today, you and your cohorts (the so-called international community) have connived to destroy a country, a country that poor and miserable Africans have taken decades to build. I blame Africans who do not want to see that you were voted in by Americans and not by Africans. I blame Africans who think that Barack Obama is acting in the best interests of Africa.
Before I end my appeal, I want to let you know that some Africans have started wondering if the Barack Obama of today is the same Barack Obama they were anxious to see as the boss of the White House in 2008. In reference to the attack on Libya and the violence in Ivory Coast, one of my journalist Facebook friends made this statement that I translate literally from French: “I have withdrawn my support for Barack Obama, who is working hand in glove with a nation like France that has always been working to destroy and destabilise Africa.”
Some comments made on this Facebook posting by some Africans are:
“It’s been long I earlier saw this individual of Obama as a danger to Africa”. “Obama, if you want, win all elections, but that will never remove the shame and disgrace you’ve bestowed on us”. “I travelled from Cameroon to Washington just to take part in his inauguration. I bitterly regret what I did”, “Obama is an incarnation of deception and shame…”.
Nevertheless, fighting for better governments is not a bad idea. It becomes bad when we use unconstitutional and unconventional means to fight for good governments, like encouraging a rebellion—a heavily armed rebellion–to take over a government.
So, please, Mr President: Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Libya, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, and many others are blessed with intellectuals, hard-working citizens and children who do not want to die because of a war driven by greed and, who have the same love for their countries that Americans have for the USA. We have our own cultures, customs, and traditions that do not need missiles and bullets to solve our misunderstandings. Please listen to the clarion call of Africans around the world, and respect our institutions just like we respect yours.
In God, we Africans too trust.
Awafong Julius Teneng
Vote Sizing Institute