Ivory Coast, Africa and the Unanswered Question: What is Democracy that Is Ushered in by Guns, Mortars and Bloodbath?

According to the BBC Radio, 800 civilians were massacred in Duekoue, in just one town this week. Why?

As violence sweeps our world in a whirlwind of wars, angry protests, revenge in Africa and the Middle East, Ivory Coast goes down in smoke, and as if no one is watching, two crazy warring groups massacre innocent civilians as if they were animals. Why? Why are our wars so violent, so senseless, so beyond the real world, and why are African leaders so greedy, so unpatriotic toward their countries, so heartless, and why are our people so easily swayed to violence and wars? Why is ECOWAS or the African Union so incapable of bringing peace to this region for the last almost thirty years? Why is the UN asleep again on this region? Why has the world turned away from the Ivory Coast, pouring all its resources in Libya even while this war in the Ivory Coast needed our attention? Why focus on creating more wars when we already have enough on our hands? Why are Africans so sadly evil to their own people? Why should we always expect the world to help us kill ourselves or save ourselves? Why are Mr. Gbagbo and Mr Ouattara so difficult to understand that it is not democracy if it has to use guns to root itself among the people? With all the sacrificing of innocent Ivorians, how can Gbagbo or Quattara now tell us that either of them is capable of leading such a now fragile nation? Why? Why? Why?

Thousands of Ivorian civilians are now homeless and refugee, crossing over into neighboring countries, looking for a safe place.

I have been silently praying and hoping that Ivory Coast would not descend into wanton bloodbath as we saw in the 1990s to 2003 in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and other parts. I’d hoped that this region would at least be spared the horrific inhumanity of rebel warfare so our people can live life as difficult as it is, without massive bloodshed. But hope is never enough when we have been cursed with leaders who do not understand that statesmanship means giving up what pleases you for the rights and good of your people.

Quattara Supporter Ready for war (left: (Sia Kambou /AFP/Getty Images)


Already, one million had fled the embattled capital city & region by end of February

Since the election last year, these two men, both coming from two different regions of the country, Gbagbo, the incumbent President and Quattara, the supposed winner of the election, have been battling with each other to be seated as the legitimate President of the French speaking West African country of Ivory Coast. Both have refused to give in to any call for peace. Both formed a military that supports their wishes to lead the Ivorian people by killing innocent civilians, killing their way into power, in other words. Gbagbo, who is now said to be in hiding has just been abandoned by his Military General as the fighting engulfs the capital, and Quattara, who has been long supported by the UN feels good despite the untold thousands of dead, the million homeless and displaced, many already in refugee camps, and a mad militia on both sides, who make the already vulnerable region more susceptible to future civil wars. What is democracy, I again ask you the blog reader, if it is ushered in by guns and mortar attack on innocent civilians, destruction of infrastructure and the economy, if it produces so much anger, the region resorts to more civil wars? What is a Presidency if it depends on hooligans who have the ability to carve up the citizenry to usher in the new President?


I am certain that the founders of African democracy, those who shed their blood to free Africa of slavery and Colonialism are turning in their graves today. Liberia, that has just emerged from fourteen years of bloodbath under the Charles Taylor led rebel warfare that introduced to our West African region the most violent of all warfare, is now welcoming the new line of home seekers, the new refugee, who arrived speaking yet still another Colonial language the welcoming temporal homeland cannot understand. The only good news is that Liberia understands the language of homelessness, of displacement and dislocation, of terror in the eyes of innocent children, babies, dying of starvation, of old people who are too lame to walk, understands that war is never to be fought while not understanding not to do it again. Yes, but Liberia also understands to lend its experienced rebels who have not learned to stop fighting to the crazy war now raging in Ivory Coast, so now we hear of Liberian mercenaries being hired to fight the war in Ivory Coast. Why are our leaders made the way they are? Where were our leaders made?


Let me conclude on a poem of mine that I wrote during the last years of the 14 year Liberian civil war. Please indulge me for the mere fact that as a poet, I can only express my deepest emotions through poetry, and I still believe in the power of words to heal the broken. Also, here in America, we believe and celebrate poetry in April as National Poetry Month.

The poem, “Broken World,” expressed my anguish at the time with the difficulty of ending the bloodbath in my country. I was very sadly angry, but it was inspired most particularly, by my deep love of the Ivory Coast as one of my favorites of the countries that border Liberia. It was a day in Feb., Super Bowl Sunday in America, and of course, being the mother of boys and girls, my older boy, just a teenager then, probably, in 2001 or 2002, I had to sit there in my livingroom and enjoy the game in my then Kalamazoo, Michigan home. It was only after the game that I realized from news broadcast that a plane had crashed and killed 169 people in Abidjan, a country, that had given sanctuary to tens of thousands of my country people during the still raging civil war then. This was where on my way home in 2000 to and from burying my mother who had just died, I stopped and of course was stranded due to missing  my outbound plane to the US, for days in a beautiful hotel in Abidjan. The people were gentle, loving, patient and kind to me. I loved them despite my horrible French. I wrote the poem, “Broken World,” in tears that all these people had died, but in the poem, you will note that I was writing about other deaths, the wars that were destroying the region, the wars in my country, and the wars in Africa. The poem was published in my third book of poems, The River is Rising, and is copyright by Autumn House Press, 2007.

Broken World 

———-By Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

To every winning team, many more will lose—
Many defenders, goalies, line backers, dribblers, attackers,

ball catchers, and now one lone, winning cup from which
no one will ever drink. To every war, there are no winners.

To every living, many more dead will go unmarked.
So many lives lined up for death; so much of what took

forever to build, goes up in some cloud. So many buried
alive or executed- a stray bullet, accidentally passing.

So many players who never knew the name of the game
they played, yet they played, without even knowing they

were playing until someone found them dead by the road
side. Today, here is St. Louis Rams, walking away from

the Super Bowl, carrying the Super Trophy. Tennessee
watches with a tearful eye. But below the deep Atlantic

in Abidjan, a plane has just gone down. One hundred
and sixty-nine, gone down, and all this time, I was here

watching what Americans call Super Bowl. I do not know
the game; it is not even my game to lose or win, but my

heart pounds hard for the game. Sometimes, I can feel
my skin slowly becoming American. Is life a game you can

win or lose? Will winning warlords ever know the extent
to which they have lost their war? How can anyone count

those who have won and those who have lost our war?
How can anyone travel from town to town, from country

to country, from refugee camp, to refugee camp, counting
our living? How could we dig up each shallow mass grave

for all the tens of thousands who were never counted?
Why should anyone want to count at all? Show me the trophies

of our war, so I will take you to a field, where all
the massacred still gather at night to bind open, bullet

wounds even though they are already dead. When warriors
come home from war, carrying on their hands, trophies

of booty, all the bullets from their weapons, gone, do
we ask them to show us their scars? The after-war-Dorklor,

with all its drumming and dancing was never meant
to be merry- not even in their jubilation at victory.

You have only to watch the dancing warriors’ feet to know.

——————(copyright: The River is Rising, Autumn House Press, 2007)

LINKS OF INTEREST:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12947232

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12929625

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12068131

Photos copyright:

  • Ivory Coast Fire:   Issouf Sanogo / AFP – Getty Images,
  • Ivorians flee city:  InformAfrica
  • Conflict Emergencies in Ivory Coast: © Didier Assal/MSF
  • Pounding on Abidjan: Reuters
  • Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
  • Residents of Abidjan suburb Abobo gather after women demonstrators are slayed:


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President Barack Obama’s Quest for Peace Wins Him the Nobel Prize: What A Great Day For All of Us

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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.

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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
Japan (1917-1953)

Here is the Nobel Committee’s statement quoted directly from nobelprize.org site.

Nobel Prize® medal - registered trademark of the Nobel Foundation

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)

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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.
Things won’t
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,
sofa-springs,
splintered glass,
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.
Someone listens
and nods with unsevered head.
Yet others milling about
already find it dull.

From behind the bush
sometimes someone still unearths
rust-eaten arguments
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.

———————————– RUMI



President Barack Obama’s Short Visit to Ghana, West Africa: When the Lost Son Returns to the Motherland, Can We Count Our Blessings In Our Losses?

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Barack Obama is Truly the Son that Was Lost to Africa, now the most historic, most powerful man in the world. Africa celebrates its Blessings By Counting Its Losses:

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Barack and Michelle Obama will need some tissues for their tears for Africa while they’re in Ghana

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President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama greet Ghana’s President John Atta Mills and his wife Ernestina Naadu Mills (L) upon Obama’s arrival in Accra, Ghana. (Jason Reed/Reuters)
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My group tour of the Elmina and the Cape Coast Slave Forts near Accra, Ghana was one of the saddest experiences of my life.

President Barack Obama’s very brief visit to Africa by way of Accra, Ghana, has the potential of creating all sorts of feelings for Africans, African immigrants, lost Africans scattered around the world, for African Americans who are descendents of Slavery, for Africans on the continent, and for leaders of the continent who are supervisors of all sorts of misery on the continent. The one son that was lost to Africa is now the most powerful man in the world, and of course, this is a good thing. The question now is: What is Mr. Obama, whom we all adore so much going to say to Africa, to African leaders and to the people of Africa who have so much hope in him? And if his speech about “good governance and economic development” is made, will our leaders listen to him?

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The Elmina Slave Fort (otherwise called the Elmina Castle) where slaves were kept under torture as they awaited the slave ships. Obama and Michelle are scheduled to visit these horrific historical relics of inhumanity to Africans.

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Barack Obama is wise to begin his engagement with Africa from the peaceful ocean city of Accra. Many in Kenya, including the leadership of Obama’s fatherland are said to be very dismayed by the decision. They believe that the US President is the son of a Kenyan, and therefore owes his first loyalty to Kenya, and not to Ghana. But Barack Obama, being the wise son that many of us admire, has chosen Ghana, and maybe this is a good thing for all of Africa.

Why did he not choose Liberia or Nigeria or another country if he could not choose his fatherland of Kenya, many would ask. According to the news reporting, he may have chosen Ghana because of its progress democratically as well as economically. But does this mean that Obama and the US only care about African countries that resemble their picture of good governance or is it something else that made Obama to pick Ghana? Or is it because Ghana is historically the most appropriate place to engage Africa from?

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Elmina Slave Fort’s Sign of the “door of return.”

A year ago, I was in Accra, Ghana for two weeks, and was impressed with the serious progress the country was making . Many will believe that Ghana is the best example of democracy and economic progress, but let us not be so proud so quickly. Ghana, like most other African countries has a long way to go to be called a truly democratic or economically progressive country. The country is doing a great job, but this is because of low expectations we have towards African countries, so let us not forget this.

I believe that there are two historical reasons why Barack Obama’s first visit to Sub-Sahara Africa is to Ghana. The first of the two reasons is because Ghana is the home of African Independence, the leader of Africa’s fight against Colonial rule. The second is because  of Ghana’s connection to African American history by its connection to Slavery and Slave Trade. Ghana was the strongest stronghold of the Slave transportation and hoarding industry during the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The country was used by the Slave empire to transport Africans from across the continent, its two port forts, the Elmina and the Cape Coast Slave Forts, still being kept for history in that country. If anyone will examine Africa’s present progress and needs, that individual must wrestle with the ugly history of Colonialism and Slavery, must confront its ugliness in that historic visit that President Obama will be making to the Forts, and must deal with all of the ugly pain before one can move on.
I know that Africa is home wherever an African goes, and if Ghana is Obama’s first step, this is such an honorable thing to do at this time. So, why would the Kenyan leadership feel “snubbed” as the news media claims?

Now That Obama Is In Africa:
Having argued my points, let me return to my original argument that Africa celebrates its blessings by counting its losses. When the sons of Africa return home, what do they return to? Do they return to successful governments and economic strongholds? And before bringing up this point, let me ask, why must Africa’s sons “return” home? Why can’t they remain home? Why are the best of Africa away from home?  President Obama’s speech in Ghana will touch on the question of “good governance and economic power in Africa.”

Good for him.


One of the saddest problems that plagues Africa is not lack of resources, but a lack of good governance and leadership. Africa does not need aid. Africa needs leaders that care about their people, leaders who will seek the good of their people instead of the good only of their families and close friends. Today, everyone is celebrating Barack Obama in Africa while at the same time there are millions of African fathers who have neglected their children, their responsibility as role models for their children and to their countries.

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Is President Obama going to be a role model for these African men and leaders? Maybe he will. And if he is to be a good example to look up to, it is therefore a good thing for him to begin his connection to the continent in Accra, where there is a peaceful government, but a place that is historically very significant to the history of our continent.
But Will Obama return to Africa Many More Times?
I think he should and must.

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Weapons used by Slave Fort (Castle) guards to ward of any ships


Africa is the world’s second largest continent. There are about sixty countries in Africa. The countries are as diverse as the continent, with many more issues to deal with than anywhere on the globe. President Obama’s connection to Africa is not a symbolic one. His connection is not a long and historical one as that of descendents of Slavery. His connection is fresh and young. He is the son of a Kenyan, one who has relatives, including siblings still in Kenya. In Africa, a son is never lost to his people even though it may seem that we had lost Obama. Africa is not a stranger land to him. He must return over and over to Africa. Maybe, his relationship to our leaders will affect them. Maybe his connection will enforce policies that prevent countries that refuse to support human rights from getting the aid they want. Maybe something good will happen for our continent just because one of their lost sons is watching what they do to our people.

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Beautiful Ghana, Beautiful Africa

Barack and Michelle should be celebrated. They have a very difficult position to be in: to balance their love for Africa without compromising their position as Americans. This is a great day for Africa and a great day for African leaders to reexamine their role in the development of their individual countries.
Please, someone should find some tissues for our President and our First Lady when they visit the Slave Forts and when they meet the peaceful and happy people of Ghana. There will be some tears even in the laughter on a continent where the African people know both how to laugh and how to cry.

The Blessings of Being A Mother: I Could Not Help Being Tickled As My 15 Year Old Daughter Critically Examined Some of President Obama’s Policies from the Perspective of a 15 Year Old

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President Barack Obama continues to inspire me with everything he’s doing and planning for this country. So when he is scheduled to speak, I am all ears. Tonight, March 24th is no different. I  spent most of my day working on my memoir, editing some poems, editing students’ poems, planning for classes, and finding time to eat. Of course, I surprised my daughter and took her to her favorite grocery store where she purchased food to fix any meal she wants. She is only fifteen, but like me, she loves to cook. Since we’re only three at home these days, I can decide not to cook, fix up some left overs, and let Ade-Juah cook something for herself. She is the only American-meal eating creature in our home. But this very personal story, unlike all my other blog posts is not about Ade cooking herself dinner. The story is about something that is very close to her heart: the Television.

And “Mom, your President, the one President that you adore, Barack Obama, will eliminate American Idol again tonight,” she told me as soon as she arrived from school. “He’s making one of his speeches again tonight, and I cannot understand why he has to make a speech every night, especially, when we have to watch American Idol. This is not fair.” Ade said.
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Ade photographing herself through the mirror:

The President Gets Everyone’s Attention When He Speaks—

Ade-Juah is our youngest among the four. She is the baby, the one who all the children claim did not have the luxury of enjoying the hard time of being destitute after our family fled the civil war.

Today, Ade was complaining that the President’s timing of his speech would not allow her to watch American Idol; in fact, American Idol would have to be postponed again because there was this big speech that everyone had to listen to. She could not see why it was more important to give a speech than to watch one of her favorite shows. But Mommy didn’t understand, she said, since Mommy’s favorite show was the news anyway.

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I did not pay much attention to her until she began to discuss what she called, “a major problem policy” that the President had passed.

I stopped whatever I was doing at the kitchen sink to listen to my daughter. After all, she’d had a long day at school, got home and had to run over to the grocery store with me, and now that she was fixing up something for herself, it was important to listen to her complaints about “our” President. This was not just another “teenage” roller-coaster talk, so I wanted to hear what it was this lovely child of mine had to say.
I stood in the middle of the kitchen, facing her. She’s almost my height already at fifteen, and she is so proud of that. “Do you know what President Barack Obama says?” Ade said, her brown eyes, wide?

How many times does a fifteen year old girl who was now so sure of her image, that she spends a half of her day at the mirror, comes home with a question about the President’s policy on her mind? How many times does this happen?  She is at that stage in life when girls begin to take care of themselves, when everyone compliments them about their looks. She’sd taken dozens of digital images of herself, twisting and turning  at one of the bathroom mirrors. No one has the ability of photographing her as much as she wants, so she’d already learned how to position my camera to take her the way she wants to look. She’d face the camera at the mirror and from her mirror reflection, take a good shot, whether at home or on vacation. She has her favorite TV shows, her favorite stars, has the best of grades, and of course, a few good friends in our small town. But to listen to the policies of a President, common, this was too interesting to be true.

“He has put an end to dropping out of school, Mom,” my daughter said with disapproval. “Does he know how important it is for some kids to drop out of school, and he says no one is allowed to drop out of school now?” Ade said, frowning.

First, I chuckled, and of course, she didn’t like that. So I had to be serious. This President’s policy about young people she could know was too important to ignore, and of course, all of this unhappy undertone was coming to light for me just when the President was scheduled to speak to the American people. It was bad enough that American Idol was cancelled tonight, but all the policies of preventing dropout was now annoying to her.
“Did you by any chance have future plans to drop out of school?” I asked, and of course, she laughed.
“Why would I want to do that?” Ade again frowned.

It was one of those “duh” moments, so I quickly put on my educated face so she wouldn’t think I was stupid.

“I was just asking since you’re so annoyed the President has declared support to keep kids in school. Do you think that’s a bad policy? Is it wrong to say to kids, ‘you can’t just drop out and become useless’ to society?” I added.
“Well, Mom, in case you didn’t know,” Ade said in argument. “There are kids who HAVE to drop out of school. They have to. They can’t help it, so there must be a provision in the President’s policy that allows kids to drop out when they need to.”
“Really?” I wanted to laugh out loud, but you cannot laugh when a teenager is serious about something like that. You can get into a big fight just by making fun of a situation that should be serious according to them. I had come a long way with three other past teenagers not to be an expert, so I just listened.

“There are kids out there who have to drop out to work to support their parents. Some have to because they’re pregnant, and cannot continue. They need a break. The President cannot prevent kids from dropping out. And by the way, he can’t just take up our TV time all the time. Someone has to tell him. American Idol is important too.”

When one can have a conversation like that at the end of the day, this is a blessing. But to know that Barack Obama has reached my teenage daughter, the only one of my children any President has ever reached at that age the many years I have lived in this country, is wonderful.

I praised her for being opinionated, for being able to argue her points well the way she felt, but mostly, because she was listening even if it meant listening when she’d rather watch American Idol. Yes, American Idol is important just as it is important for kids to drop out. But the most important of all is that the President of the United States has got the ears of his people who are listening.

Barack Obama’s Inauguration:What A Worldwide Celebration for America, for Us Black People, and for Evryone- God Bless America

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WHAT A DAY, WHAT A MOMENT, WHAT A HISTORICAL MOMENT TO CELEBRATE

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Millions gather in Washington D.C. and around TVs all over the world to watch how the world can be changed for once. My father in Liberia and my brothers and sisters and hundreds of thousands of Liberians gather with the world around their TVs and public TVs to celebrate the birth of a new day for the world. Barack Obama is now President of the United States of America.

President Barack Hussein Obama of the United States, the son of an African father, the first time a black man is in the White House- Isn’t that wonderful?

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Our young and beautiful First Lady, Michelle ObamaShe looks like us, and isn’t that good?

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Barack Hussein Obama is Our President now. Because of his dedication and hard work, because of his election, my sons and my daughters can have a face where they could not, in America. Whether you believe it or not, it is difficult to be a black person in America.

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Today has opened up the door a bit wider. Thank God for Barack. Thank God for all the good Americans who disregarded race and fought to make this day possible. Thank God for a better tomorrow for us immigrants of African descent.

I have written my own poem to celebrate President Obama’s African heritage and connection to us African immigrants who also worked day and night to help him get elected because we love him and we love America. This poem was written the night of his election as the 44th US President.

The People Walking In Darkness: A Song for Barack Obama
by Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.
Now, put the music on, I say, put the music on, and let

drums sound in the hill country and in the dessert country,
on the dry road and the muddy road. Let the dancing girls

come out tapping their feet lightly to Wayee and to Sumu,
and let the young men, beating their drums sing no longer

with mournful cries. Let the young men in the village
square hold on to their young girls as the town crier rings

out the Klan-Klan-teh with the pounding of drums.
Obama has prevailed over his foes. The lion has sprinted

ahead of his pursuers, so let trumpeters and the men,
blowing their horns come sweating with music, oh Africa—

Let the earth keep silent, I say, and may our elders take up
the freedom only tears can bring. The day has broken

over the fields, my people, the day has broken over the fields,
and all our children, wandering in the forest have found

their footing once more. On the road, a farmer stands no longer
in mid-road. Come, and let us hold up the fire so the lightning

can pass, so our children can pass, so lovers can come out
of hiding, so daylight can come out upon the hills, so our dead

mothers and our dead fathers who lost their footing at the hands
of slavery shake lose grave dirt in their unmarked graves.

Obama, the son of woman, the one son we were going to bring
forth has become ours. Bring out the kola nuts and the spiced

pepper. Let the libation grace these parched surfaces where
the earth has bled. Let young women let loose their hair.

Let the earth be still- the souls of our ancestors are passing.
Let the earth be still- the souls of our ancestors are passing.

The child that was left behind has cleared the path so our
feet can find new footing, so our wailing can end.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.

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The election and now the inauguration of Barack Obama, a son of an African father and a white American mother, the realization of the dream of millions of African Americans who have fought for this dream to come true- this is a moment in history. For me, this is a solemn day of both a celebration of how far we, black people have come, how far people of color all over the world have come, and how far America as a home of immigrants, a home for freedom and peace and equality has come. This has been a moment to live to cherish. I have not ceased to tear up just to be alive here. To know that my grandsons some day will no longer be likened only to Michael Jordon or Magic Johnson, that when someone looks at a black boy, he will no longer be examined through the eyes of low expecations, expecting all little black boys to end up in prison, and that such an individual will have to think before they speak about how much a black boy can accomplish.