For Obama, the visit is a welcome break from overseeing the militarization of Africa from Washington. Empire building, planning no-fly zones/wars, dispatching WMDs to rebels and generally sowing chaos, death and destruction is exhausting. Obama needs a break and some positive press.
Americans may see U.S. press coverage of Middle East carnage: suicide bombs, wars, chaos and even cannibalism, but Africa does not get as much coverage. Africa is a "cauldron of terror thanks to the U.S. government."
Obama's trip to Africa coincides with the critical decline of Nelson Mandela's health.
"In his 1995 memoir, "Dreams From My Father," Obama lists Mandela as one of the male role models who shaped his view of his own absent father, who was born in Kenya.
"It was into my father's image, the black man, son of Africa, that I'd packed all the attributes I sought in myself, the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, DuBois and Mandela," he wrote.
What's happened to that Barack Obama? Did he ever exist? Obama's been running away from his African heritage as fast has his "mom jeans" can carry him. The Obama we know, bows to Japanese royalty, but lectures black graduates, audiences and on his last trip to Africa, sternly urged Africans not to "Blame the West" for their problems.
Under Obama, the Supreme Court just dealt a death blow to the Voting Rights Act and affirmative action is in jeopardy. The U.S. hegemonic, militaristic, surveillance state bears no resemblance to MLK's dream and the Souls of Black Folk are in some of the worst shape and times of their lives.
The only man who Barack Obama even remotely resembles in his current role now as Imperialist Pawn is the man who played a very similar role in South Africa's continuing suppression of its majority Black population, Nelson Mandela. South Africa’s economy "remains focused on the historical arena of industrial white capital" with a "relative lack of economic opportunity particularly within business for many black South Africans."
In an article on the current state of South Africa since the tenure of the ANC, we learn some harsh truths about the legacy of Nelson Mandela:
"South Africa was very unfortunate [emphasis added] to have Mandela as its first president. In 1992 and 1993 he entered into agreements with the IMF and the World Bank. Under Mandela the ANC approved liberalism. The false compromises that Mandela made on land, on property ownership, on the economy, on what the state can do and cannot do could not be challenged because of who he was."In reading the McClatchy story about the historic meeting of Barack Obama, Junior Senator from Illinois, and legendary revolutionary and icon Nelson Mandela, it may be inferred that pre-planned theatrics as a way of dramatizing issues that Obama feels no commitment to and doesn't plan to actively support (Obama has caved in to the Lobbyists, corporatists and other moneyed interests on many popular issues), began at Occidental College. Obama's role playing of a radical activist who could stir up the crowd prepared him for the headier egomaniacal role of Manchurian candidate of "change" and "Bush Lite" POTUS:
— "100 Years of the ANC... " by Adèle Kirsten and Tshepo Madling
It had started as something of a lark, I suppose, part of the radical pose my friends and I sought to maintain, a subconscious end run around issues closer to home," Obama wrote of his involvement with an anti-apartheid campaign at Occidental College in Los Angeles.Barack Obama was and is not a Martin, Malcolm, DuBois or Mandela. The historical black figure he most resembles is racial accommodationist Booker T. Washington:
He gave his first speech at a campus rally protesting the college's investments in companies doing business in South Africa. Obama described the intoxicating experience of commanding a crowd - "I knew that I had them" - and the disappointment of being pulled off stage in a preplanned bit of theater. But despite the rush, he left the experience disenchanted. "I don't believe what happens to a kid in Soweto makes much difference to the people we were talking to," Obama told a friend afterward. "Pretty words don't make it so." Read more.
W.E.B. Du Bois vs Booker T. Washington - Then and Now /therealnews
MONTEIRO: I think among sections of the black middle class and petty bourgeoisie there are strong resonances of Booker Washington. I argue that the race policies, if you want to call them that, of the Obama administration have more in common with Booker T. Washington's conceptualization of things than they do with either Du Bois or Martin Luther King or the civil rights movement of the '60s.
JAY: What's an example of that?
MONTEIRO: You take his State of the Union speech, where he talks about opportunity if you work hard, you take the example which parallels this of counseling black folk that what you need to do is clean up your cultural act, clean up your behavior, and then you will have greater opportunity for fitting into the middle class and the opportunities that are afforded to it.
BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: We'll work to strengthen families by removing the financial deterrents to marriage for low-income couples, and do more to encourage fatherhood 'cause what makes you a man isn't the ability to conceive a child; it's having the courage to raise one.
This is neo-Booker T. Washingtonism, and what it does is the opposite of what Du Bois was doing in the Niagara movement, which was to question the color line and to point to the color line and racial disparity and racial inequality as the source of the problems that black people face. The Washingtonites and the Obama-ites argue that the problems are not generated externally but are rooted in the black community itself.
JAY: Yeah, you saw that within that back-and-forth with Reverend Wright. Then-candidate Obama, I guess it was, more or less talked about being in a post-racial society, that somehow Reverend Wright was stuck in the past. MONTEIRO: That's right. That's right. And that's the great Philadelphia speech that he gives in 2008 on race, which a lot of liberals and even progressives celebrated. But what it was was a Booker T. Washington type of speech.
The Obamas Do Africa
How Complacency, Complicity of Black Misleadership Class Led to Supreme Court Evisceration of the Voting Rights Act by Bruce Dixon / Black Agenda Report
Muslim Lawyers Association calls for Obama’s arrest during trip to S. Africa
By Jessica Chasmar-The Washington Times
Why I Am Opposed to the War in VietnamSpeech by Martin Luther King, Jr. against the "triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism."
Text of entire speech
I'm Sorry Sir You
"Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher of consensus but he is a molder of consensus. And on some positions coward asks the question is it safe?
Don't Know Me
Expediency asks the question is it politic. Vanity asks the question is it popular. But conscience asks the question, is it right?
And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right."
Original audio @ Pacifica Radio Archives
Malcolm X: Who Taught You to hate Yourself?"Who taught you to hate the color of your skin? Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the shape of your nose and the shape of your lips?
[..] No... Before you come asking Mr. Muhammad does he teach hate, you should ask yourself who taught you to hate being what God made you."
Malcolm X - the last speechI'm not in a society that practices brotherhood. I'm in a society that might preach it on Sunday, but they don't practice it on no day -- on any day.
Text of entire speech