Cameroonians re-think the Euphoria Following Obama Victory

Debates have been raging on some Cameroonian blogs about the euphoria surrounding US President-elect Barack Obama's election among Africans (in this case Cameroonians).

Kamer Stories sets the tone with her My Obama Post in which she says:

“While I may understand Americans and non-Americans (Africans included) living in the US, celebrating to their heart's content, after all they live there and this victory is bound to affect them more profoundly than others, what I don't get is Africans living in Africa or in other parts of the world celebrating in a like manner. I do not think it calls for popping of champagnes, dancing the days away and all what not, when our countries are in a shambles. We have an ongoing war in Congo, I hardly
see Africans saying anything about it, much less doing anything. Hunger and poverty is still a reality in many parts of our continent, and until that is greatly reduced, I do not see why we should be in such a celebratory mood. Let me come closer to home. In my country, we have a president who has been on the ‘throne’ since before I was born (and I am in my twenties) and all attempts till date to make him see the error of his ways have come to naught. How can we be celebrating in such a manner, when all this is happening in out own backyard? In all honesty, I do not get it.

To me, Obama's victory is only a small part of the issue. Since I am that kind of Cameroonian whose every waking and sleeping thought is about my beloved country Cameroon, I wonder how his win will translate into something positive for my home country, how shall we apply this to making things better in Cameroon, make our country a better place to live in. When shall Cameroon have its own Obama? Shall we allow it to happen?”

If the comments to Kamer's view were divergent, the debate on the relevance of celebrating an Obama victory in Africa and Cameroon are nearly cut-throat at Scribbles from the Den.

They are mainly reactions to a post by a US citizen of Cameroonian origin, who recounts his experience on the campaign trail for Obama and his vision of what this Presidency would mean for the world:

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for having worked so hard to bring change to our great country. I am so honored to be have been one of yours; I am blessed to be called one Obama Soldier among Millions like you. Thanks for anyone who supported our strategy at the Real-Time Obama Active Response (ROAR). As I prepare to deploy overseas on another active duty tour in January I would like to share a few words from my blog with you…..

Barack inspired me in a way that only one other person ever had – and that was while I was still a student and journalist in my native country Cameroon, Africa. Even though I was on active duty with the US Army – California National Guard for most of the period of the campaign (and I'm still on active duty at present), I traveled far and wide, on my own time and dime, to work for Barack because I believe in his word. I believe in his promise to change America, thereby changing the world too. I believe in his positive message that transcends hope as a mere feeling, transforming it into a real, palpable, reachable, touchable emotion.”

Not all readers seemed to be impressed as this comment from Penambuco suggests:

“Man, guys like this writer make me cringe. Being inspired by someone is one thing, but after reading something like this gushing piece, I find myself yearning for the worldly cynicsm of a kermit The Frog. I've not got anything against Obama, please don't get me wrong, but I also like to exercise caution in every sphere of life. I wish Obama well (hell, if all Americans had to choose from was between him and McCain, then why not him?) but here are my reservations about him:

1) He's a member of the Council On Foreign Relations.
2) He's a member of the Trilateral Commission
3)He came from nowhere, and suddenly he's got hundreds of millions of dollars behind him in campaign money. Most of which is not from contributions at street level. Where's this money come from? Why did these donors choose him, and what has he promised in return? Are his promises in alignment with the needs and of ordinary Americans?
4) His fawning stance towards Israel.

After seeing what the real powers-that-be in America made the likes of Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell do, I would rather not be embarrassed by another Black person grovelling in front of an elite who don't give a damn about me.

The writer describes himself as someone with “experience in international journalism, public affairs and intelligence”. I just wish he'd have used all this to read between the lines a little bit more, analyse American politics a with a little more emotional detachment, instead of this saccharine piece of tripe.”

And that was not all. The proof is the following comment posted by United states of Africa:

“No God's blessings for Cameroon or Africa?

My problem with this Obama-mania is with these Africans worshiping Obama as if he has won the presidency of the United states of Africa or their individual African countries. I was watching clips on youtube from various African countries and people foolishly kept saying how Africa has been saved now that Obama is president. One woman even went as far as saying that with Obama as president, Africa will be at the forefront of African politics. Naivety has eaten deep into the core of Africa…so deep it sickens me. Typical African fashion; always trying to claim what is not ours.

I give these people one year of the Obama presidency…just one.”

Another reader Louis Mbua seemed to have some answers to the doubts expressed:

« Hello UnitedstatesofAfrica,

Your comparison between Obama and Rice and Powel is inappropriate because Obama is an elected leader of the American people while the latter two were appointed by Bush, an elected leader. Obama has powerful executive powers to help Africa, his own country America, and the world while Rice and Powel didn't have such a luxury.

Addressing your doubts as to who controls Obama; the answer is that no one but the American peoples wishes: especially the Middle Class. Obama never took money from the Military Industrial Complex or big co-corporations such as Rupert Mudoch's empire. He actually paid the Media to make his broadcast on the eve of the American General elections. He is actually genuinely trying to come to the embattled General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.”

But that did not close the matter as another reader codenamed SouthWestener surged in:

“Africans should stop their senseless HOPE. Barack is not gonna be any different from other occupants of the white house. I wonder if he would muster the courage to stand up to BIG fat COWS that are having a field day exploiting poor countries of their natural resources.

I think BUSH gave more help, atleast on paper to Africa than Clinton. Yet he was hated and less popular than the former in the African continent.

Africans must be their own change agents. We are used to this notion of hoping that somehow a MESSIAH will come from somewhere to save our asses based on some corrupt western religious teachings. We wait, fold our arms, give our corrupt leaders a pass and keep waiting, hoping that GOD will take care and all power belongs to GOD or ALLAH etc.

Africans, our mental slavery, our refusal to believe in ourselves and hoping the solutions to our troubles must only come from someone, somewhere out there is the biggest stumbling block to our progress.

I dont give a DAMN about OBAMA. I just wish him luck,no more, no less.”

All these comments actually bewildered the original author of the article – Nfor Julio Barthson who posted this comment:

“Wowie!!! I was totally missing out on this hot debate ongoing here in the Dibussi World. I had totally forgotten that he wanted to cull one of my blog posts, and I'm amazed that a few words of reflection post-campaign have unleashed such a deluge of opinions from the left, the right, the top and, yes… from the bottom. Please, keep them coming. I'll probably return with a word of mine if I think I need to clarify anything,”

Surely this debate will continue…

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