Wednesday, November 12, 2008


The Dangers of the Obama Presidency – II

I stayed up to watch the first Obama press conference (shown on Al Jazeera, and with lots of commentary before and after). And we can say, the man has style. Big time style. One of the Al Jazeera commentators (a Brit) just kept going on about how Presidential he had seemed, and such a great demeanor, and what a relief it was to not be cringing and embarrassed, as he used to be when Bush gave his very few press conferences.

I’m a bit concerned that he came into the press conference with a list of the reporters that he was going to call on (no, that did not include Al Jazeera). I knew that his candidacy was marked by a very close control over the media portrayal of him. I was hoping that would not continue….

And what’s up with these super close ties to the Israeli state? And he’s been enthusiastic about biofuels from ethanol (read: let’s support corn farmers without paying attention to actual carbon impact of this fuel).

Okay, I admit, I am giddy at the prospect of getting to be critical about the Obama administration. This is so much better than being hopelessly depressed over the Bush administration!


The Dangers of the Obama Presidency - I

I mocked some Canadians. I believe I said something like:

HA! We have Obama and you have ….HARPER! HA!

This was unkind. The Canadians in question were from Quebec, and therefore did not really care. Still, though, that does not really justify it. In my defense, I was drunk on the giddy feeling of no longer feeling morally and culturally inferior to my northern neighbors.

(In retrospect, my ‘northern neighbors’ now are Ethiopia, and it’s kind of funny, because I totally feel like Ethiopia is totally culturally superior to any of my backgrounds. On the other hand, Ethiopia doesn’t exactly hold a moral card over anyone right now – they are like the Guantanamo Bay of Africa, holding political prisoners from all over in extremely obscure and likely bad conditions.)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008



dude, we hardly ever get fireworks in Nairobi! well, with the exception of Diwali, and that's only in certain parts of town. I'm still at work on a conference call, but either there was just a massive gun battle with cannons or fireworks are going off!!!!



Kenya is ecstatic

Kenya is ecstatic. Completely. Dancing on the streets, dancing pretty much everywhere. I have done several victory laps through my office, flying my Obama 2008 kanga. I have hugged everyone in the office, and burst into tears several times during the day.

Yes, it is true, President Kibaki has named November 6 a national holiday. People are So Proud. It is the only thing on the news, everyone on the street talking about. On my walk to work, I had so many neighbors and people greet me with congratulations and shared expressions of joy. It is a great feeling.

It’s true I missed out on being bombarded by the full Campaign Effect – no commercials, infomercials, or signs in yards. But I certainly did not miss out on the Obama excitement. Someone, I don’t know who, paid for Obama billboards around Nairobi, including pictoral shots on the new Jumbo-tron type electronic billboard that is on the Hallie Sellassie /Uhuru Highway roundabout. The news has covered the elections quite thoroughly (perhaps too thoroughly - see earlier post). In Western Kenya, church leaders held an ecumenical prayer service, in which they prayed for the hearts of Republicans to be changed. People in rural Kenya know about the electoral voting system in the States. There are Swahili and Jaluo songs about Obama, there are Obama shirts and buttons and cloth, there are a million Obama matatus (mini-buses).

So today is the culmination of a whole lot of momentum and excitement. I would love to be back in the States, but I can count myself lucky to be here in Kenya.

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