Friday, November 21, 2008

Dark Continent’s Colourful Fantasies After Obama
By Bashir Goth
Obama’s election as the 44th President of the United States has resounded throughout the African continent as it did in many other parts of the world.

It was a definitive moment in history, an incredible dream come true for millions of African Americans, a shattering of a psychological Bastille for white Americans and indeed a triumph for all humanity. It was also a day of recognition for tens of thousands of American biracial people like my son, an offspring of an African father and a white American mother.

Young people and families in different time zones around the world stayed awake all night as the election results started trickling from state to state. As my wife and I went to bed, we left our son glued to CNN and devotedly following up the results on his laptop, adorned with Obama’s campaign wear. Briefing me on the results when I woke up Wednesday morning in Abu Dhabi, still Tuesday night in America, I could see how fired up he was. This is when I realised that this was something the world had never seen the like of it in living memory.

In Africa this was equal to the 1960s when the wind of change for freedom was blowing over the continent and Africans were breaking the chains of colonialism. Obama’s victory was embraced throughout the world as a victory of character over colour as was dreamt by Martin Luther King, a victory of human equality over bigotry and a success story that could only be written in America.

After arriving at work, I received a call from my son telling me that Obama had won. Thinking about it I had to call him back immediately after I put down the phone in order to share the moment with him in the way it deserved and listen to his voice as he narrated the numbers and developments to me in heightened enthusiasm. Soon after I ended his call, I kept receiving messages from friends all over the world. An African Ambassador and a friend in Abu Dhabi couldn’t hold back his emotions and pride. “Africa is at the top of the world,” he told me.

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