Obama and His Grandmother Lucy

On very rare occasions are we able to cast a blind eye toward some of Obama’s stances. But if I manage to set aside his position toward Arab cases, especially the Palestinian one, then I can say that I am an avid fan of him, and until this very moment, I wasn’t able to harbor any feelings of oppression and hatred toward the man — feelings that always formed toward any other U.S. president who ruled the house before him.

I can’t look at this black man who is from an oppressed race in isolation of the history or histories of his ethnic strife and in isolation of his ancestors Martin Luther King, William Dubois, Nelson Mandela and the strife of Africans in the peak of the 1950’s and ‘60s of the last century, on the sidelines of which appeared a hill of accumulated corpses of colored people who died just because they weren’t lucky enough to be born with a fair complexion.

Those feelings, which I grew wary of announcing, emerged two weeks ago as I saw the black young man going back to his hometown Kogelo and having dinner with his grandmother, siblings and family members in Kenya, promising them, “Next time … I probably won’t be wearing a suit.” He told the journalists that when he becomes a regular citizen, then he will have more freedom to reconnect.

While you read the blood-tinged pages of that history, traces of pity and empathy don’t suffice toward a whole population that paid the price of its color and that was weakened and enslaved by the race of fair complexion; the issue is more grave than a mere frequent dispute between two young men of different colors over a platform in a neighborhood for blacks — and in the vast majority of cases, the black young man is the one who is killed! The issue is about collective and individual cultures, heritage and histories, which had been buried under the skyscrapers; perhaps, some are buried under the White House itself!

The son of minorities, hence, deserves admiration, as he achieved a brilliant and glorious history as he ascended the throne of the mightiest, biggest country in the world that is also the fiercest in terms of its anti-black mindset. Minorities are not necessarily those who are outweighed by numbers, but those who are plagued by oppression and injustice, which makes them exit the act and the influence spectrum. One of U.S. President Barack Obama’s goals during his latest visit to Africa was to communicate with the continent of his ancestors.

Over there, he met with unfamiliar species of ancestors, as he encountered “Lucy,” a collection of bones belonging to parts of a human skeleton dating back to 3.2 million years found in Ethiopia. He was asked to touch one of the skeleton’s bones, an act which is usually only permitted if you are a scientist; but in this case, it epitomized a handshake between grandmother and grandson, between two dynasties, one which endured extinction under the heavy burden of slavery and torment, and the other triumphing over racism and the tormentor himself. Obama addressed the attendees during the official dinner saying: “Indeed I met Lucy … our oldest ancestor.” Amid the applause of the attendees, he added: “When you see our ancestor … we are reminded that Ethiopians, Americans, all the people of the world are part of the same human family, the same chain.”

During his visit to his original hometown, the black president of one of the largest countries in the world couldn’t hide the sparkle in his eyes as he shook hands with his sister and grandmother; he was a boy meeting his family; he was friendly, warm and loyal as he talked about his roots.

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