I woke up this morning to the sad reminder that just a day before, my father-in-law, Gba Saide Kwia Wesley had just died at the wonderful age of 94 in Monrovia, Liberia, a country that for fourteen years was denied peace in one of the bloodiest civil wars ever. In my tear stained memory of the day before, I went to my laptop just to see what was happening in the world. To my surprise and utter joy, President Barack Obama, the great President of the great United States of America, the son of a Kenyan man, the visionary that has already inspired many young black and white youths was now the latest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. I was elated.
Barack Obama may be the laughing stock of his enemies, but he continues to be the light and inspiration of many of us African immigrants, patriotic Americans, international people everywhere, and millions around the world. I was proud, and have not had a moment of regret for this win. I believe he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize, and I am so grateful that he has accepted the prize. America is again on the radar of the world. This is a great day not only for America, but also for the rest of the world. This is a good day for many of us who believe in vision and hard work, those of us who still believe that hope overcomes all evil, that words are greater than bullets, and that no matter who you are, you can be anything you want to be if only you can hang in there long enough to reach the end. Barack Obama and his beautiful wife deserve to bring this honor to their people, the American people.
Give Back Peace
Give back father, give back mother,
Give back grandpa, give back grandma,
Give back boys, give back girls.
Give me back myself, give me back men
Linked to me.
As long as men live as men,
Give back peace,
Peace that never crumbles.
by Sankichi Toge
Here is the Nobel Committee’s statement quoted directly from nobelprize.org site.
The Nobel Peace Prize for 2009
“The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.
Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama’s initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.” nobelprize.org (Oslo, Oct. 9, 2009)
Despite all of the great things that President Obama has already achieved to deserve this selection, he was humbled and generous when he told the world that he did not deserve to occupy the same place as many deserving past recipients of the prize. Of course, this is a good thing to say to everyone, especially, to those who think that President Obama is not what he says he is.
Many of us who support the president believe however, that he deserved this sort of honor, and the world is better because he was awarded the prize. President Obama has given many of us the sense of pride in this great nation. I know that many immigrants have become citizens just in his short time in office simply because they now have a sense of belonging to a country they love. Many of us who travel abroad every now and then know the new feeling of reception that Obama’s leadership has fostered for Americans abroad. Many around the world are excited that there is a very simple, down to earth, caring individual in the White House, and are proud to be identified with the people of this nation. With time, President Obama will achieve his dream of fostering peace to the world.
Those of us from war-torn nations long for that dream to be fulfilled. It is important to us that anyone given the Nobel Prize for fostering world peace must be one that loves diplomacy and peace, one who is willing to be misunderstood in order to bring the world to a better place. President Obama does that for us.
Many of us long to see the nations around the world enjoy peace, and we know that Barack Obama’s Nobel Prize for Peace will be another inspiration in helping him foster peace in the world.
As I pondered the surprising news this morning, I could not help connecting Obama’s selection for the Nobel Prize for Peace to Liberia and to my sad news of the death of my wonderful father-in-law, a man who lived the last two decades of his long life in a troubled country.
I could not help, but connect the world’s greatest President whose direct links go back to Africa, the great continent where majority of our people still live without peace, without the realization that there could be peace and how the Nobel Prize for Peace could be another ray of hope for us Africans. Unlike his critics and many admirers of the US President, I was not surprised about President Obama’s nomination; I was surprised that others were surprised at this gesture to a well-deserving man. I could not help, however, but remember the lack of peace in Liberia during the 14 year civil war, and now, Obama again was breaking newer ground as the third US sitting President ever to receive the Nobel Prize for Peace while in office.
Barack Obama’s win today is indeed an affirmation that black people are not only capable of violence as the stereotype suggests. No matter who wishes to argue otherwise, it is clear that the US President has touched the hearts of many around the world, and the Nobel Prize is one way through which the world is affirming him and the American people.
I am proud to live in these times. Congratulations, President Obama!
The End and the Beginning
…………………….by Wislawa Szmborska
After every war
someone has to clean up.
straighten themselves up, after all.
Someone has to push the rubble
to the sides of the road,
so the corpse-laden wagons can pass.
Someone has to get mired
in scum and ashes,
and bloody rags.
Someone must drag in a girder
to prop up a wall.
Someone must glaze a window,
rehang a door.
Photogenic it’s not,
and takes years.
All the cameras have left
for another war.
Again we’ll need bridges
and new railway stations.
Sleeves will go ragged
from rolling them up.
Someone, broom in hand,
still recalls how it was.
and nods with unsevered head.
Yet others milling about
already find it dull.
From behind the bush
sometimes someone still unearths
and carries them to the garbage pile.
Those who knew
what was going on here
must give way to
those who know little.
And less than little.
And finally as little as nothing.
In the grass which has overgrown
causes and effects,
someone must be stretched out,
blade of grass in his mouth,
gazing at the clouds.
Wislawa Szmborska was a Polish poet. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1996.
Come, come, whoever you are.
Wonderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.
It doesn’t matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow
a thousand times
Come, yet again, come, come.