A Test of Character for Obama
When Barack Obama came to power he made over-arching promises about what his presidency will achieve, not only for America but the rest of the world. Domestically he has had a few snags as he managed to pull off some of his promises regardless – but even with the best intentions it was always going to be difficult to turn a budget deficit into a surplus.
However some Africans feel that Obama has fallen short by not extending his grace to his grandmother’s continent. The visit by Michelle Obama is insignificant when judged against the impact that a full continental visit by the president would have achieved, not in instiling better governance but to boost the confidence of young African politicians confronted by old demagogue leaders who will forever have each other’s back – at the detriment of continental development.
There however are two things that Obama can do to cement his place in history and the hearts of all freedom, justice and peace-loving people. Obama must, before he steps from the plate use his presidential pardon to expunge the convictions of Black Panthers Mumia Abu Jamal and Assanta Shakur.
That Shakur has been exiled in Cuba for over thirty years while successive so-called Democratic Negro-friendly administrations come and go is justice’s worst travesty. When asked what freedom is, Shakur said “I know a whole lot more about what freedom isn’t, than what it is, ‘cause I’ve never been free”. It’s an indictment on the American brag of being ‘a land of the free’ when one of its daughters knows not its definition.
Abu Jamal’s case has been frustrated by countless rightwing judges not to be brought to a review. And for the once promising radio journalist to languish in prison for allegedly trumped-up charges while Obama tries to convince the world that he is leading the beacon of freedom will not work for his legacy – him being a lawyer.