Friday, January 23, 2009

A Witness to History

"Congratulations on your new President!"

Annet said to me on Tuesday afternoon accompanied by a big smile and a hug. She went around telling everyone this. She's German and recently moved to the States to live with her American husband who is a classmate of mine. He later explained, that for the first time in a very long time, she wasn't embarrassed to say that her husband was American.

When I was in Ghana three years ago, I remember my home stay mother always watching the news in the evening and telling me about "my President" and what he does to the rest of the world. "Your President! Your President!" She just couldn't understand, or didn't care to understand, that I didn't vote for him and felt no allegiance to him whatsoever.

When we were in Brazil, Dona ConceiƧaƵ was overjoyed when a classmate gave her a photo taken with Obama when he visited Iowa last year. She carefully placed it in her money belt, kept it close to her, and showed anyone who would look at it with the widest smile she could have.

I declared a personal national holiday on Tuesday and watched the inauguration in my living room. I had to witness it. I had to see it to believe it. Yet, even though I saw it, and even though I believe it, it still feels like a dream. The only problem is, if I'm dreaming, so is the rest of the world. And maybe that's a good thing...

If a dark-skinned person can become the leader of the world's most powerful nation, what is to stop children everywhere from aiming for the stars? - Desmond Tutu

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