Saturday, July 11, 2009
I thought I'd include a quick note on the absolute Obama hysteria over here. I'm not joking, it's absolutely insane. Obama is visiting Ghana for the next 24 hours and from the moment of my arrival two weeks ago, there's been Obama signs everywhere. There are pictures of Barack and Michelle everywhere saying 'Welcome Home'. Also, there are pictures of President Mills with another of Obama photoshopped in saying 'Partnership for Change'. I'm pretty sure Barack Obama had no idea that he had signed any partnership for change with President Mills.
Today, there is 24/7 coverage of Obama in town. It's pretty sad as there isn't too much to report. So there's been specials on the Obama's car and Air Force One. Also, the coverage is just a bit ridiculous. Lots of people are lined up outside of Cape Coast castle in order to get a glimpse of Obama. Anyhow, some Americans studying abroad have joined in the mill and have been interviewed. The news spent quite a bit of time discussing how these Americans weren't able to see Obama in person in their own country but now can in Ghana - as I said, ridiculous! Do they really think all Americans can just rock up to the White House and have a chat with the president???
Last night there was also a story about a teenage boy who bears a remarkable resemblance to Obama and how his looks affect his life. There are a number of Obama songs as well. It's a bit scary all the hysteria and hero worship. For the Ghanaians, Obama's visit is a great coup as Ghana is the first country in Southern Africa that Obama is visiting. I think the Kenyan gov't is pretty pissed off that they weren't the first. However, it's a bit crazy how much the Ghanaian gov't is expecting from this short visit. I think they expect the trajectory of Ghana to change over night because of this one visit. There have been a number of news chat shows discussing how this visit will impact the country. They're expecting preferential trade with the US, more money from the international financial institutions, etc etc. It's all a bit much.
I'm not going to lie, if I had the opportunity, I'd love to meet Obama; I've even decided to wear my Obama T-shirt today. But I wish that Ghana didn't feel the need to prostrate itself at the feet of Barack Obama. It's all a bit to obsequious and undignified.