[Stuff, New Zealand]



Handelsblatt, Germany

Kenyans Appreciate Barack Obama's 'Slap in the Face'


"Worried that the country might be drifting toward civil war, many Kenyans appreciate seeing their deeply-divided 'unity' government reprimanded by the one man who, by virtue of his ancestry, already commands an unprecedented level of respect."


By Wolfgang Drechsler



Translated By Jonathan Lobsien


July 11, 2009


Handelsblatt - Germany - Original Article (German)

America's first family visits one of Ghana's infamous slave forts on its Gold Coast, July 11.


BBC NEWS VIDEO: Obamas Visit Slave Fort; Door of 'No Return', June 11, 00:03:07WindowsVideo

Six months after his inauguration, U.S. President Barack Obama is making a fleeting visit to the continent of his own father, who was Kenyan. The visit to Ghana is primarily of symbolic importance - little is expected to come from it politically. Not least because Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, was very popular on the Black continent.


CAPE TOWN: Upon his return from the G8 Summit, Barack Obama is spending two days in the West African nation of Ghana - the country that in 1957 was the first in sub-Saharan Africa to become independent, and which is among the few anchors of stability on the continent.


In Cape Coast - on the Gold Coast - Barack and Michelle Obama are to tour one of the slave forts in which thousands experienced their last moments on African soil before being shipped to America by slave traders. Already, African bloggers are debating whether the first Black U.S. President will shed tears for the victims of slavery, and whether he'll comment on the related reparation lawsuits against the United States.


The choice of Ghana is understood as an award to one of Africa’s most stabile democracies - with peaceful transfers of power and without the “Big Man Syndrome,” under which so many states on the continent suffer under long-term presidents who by any means, seek to prevent getting voted out of office. In a statement by the White House, Ghana was praised as “one of the most trustworthy partners” of the United States in sub-Saharan Africa.


Indeed, Ghana has a vibrant opposition and an attentive civil society. The elections Ghana held last year were also the only truly free ones on the continent. Still, it surprises many observers that the world’s second largest cocoa producer remains a model for African states. Because when measured against world standards, Ghana, with a per-capita income of just under $300, is still bitterly poor. Moreover, donor countries still finance up to 40 percent of its national budget.   



President Barack Obama addresses Ghana's Parliament in

Accra, Ghana, July 11.



For Obama, the visit is primarily of symbolic importance - politically, little is expected to come of it. According to South African analyst Barney Mthombothi, one can hardly expect that America’s policy toward Africa to be fundamentally altered under the first Black President. This is true not least because his predecessor, George W. Bush, was markedly popular in vast parts of Africa, because he starkly increased development aid for the Black continent.


In Obama's government, however, there are many advocates of a hard line against unjust African regimes like Sudan. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has in the past repeatedly called for military action against Sudan's Bashir regime, in the event that the promised end to murder in the western province of Darfur doesn't cease. Even Susan Rice, the new U.N.-ambassador, has argued for the possible application of force.



Ghanaian Web, Ghana: Mr. Obama: It's Time for America to Give Back to Africa
La Stampa, Italy: 'Historic Handshake' for Ghaddafi and 'Obama the African'
My Joy, Ghana: In Ghana, Obama 'Will Cry' for Africa
The Ghanaian Chronicle, Ghana: Ghana Should 'Cash In' on Obama's Visit
The Ghanaian Times: 'Why Obama Snubbed Nigeria'
The Daily Sun, Nigeria: The 'Stoning' of President Barack Hussein Obama
This Day, Nigeria: Obama's Choice to Visit Ghana and Not Nigeria Should Be a Lesson to Us

Boobab, Nigeria: If Obama Comes to Nigeria, 'I Will Stone Him'


An important sign of Obama's policy toward Africa has already been sent, in that his first trip there led him not to Kenyan home of his father - but to Ghana. Among the Kenyan population, this diplomatic slap in the face has been met with great gratification. In the country’s media, Obama has been emphatically congratulated for the move. Worried that the country might be drifting toward civil war, many Kenyans appreciate seeing their deeply-divided "unity" government reprimanded by the one man who in Africa, by virtue of his ancestry, already commands an unprecedented level of respect.



Economically, Obama’s trip to Africa comes at a bad time: the hope that the continent would be spared the financial crisis has proved a capital fallacy. A report by the group Southern African Resource Watch shows in detail the devastating impact of the crisis on Africa’s important mining sector. As a result, in this industry alone, two thirds of all jobs in the Congo have disappeared this year.














































[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US July 13, 05:58pm]