December 10 - It was not a cold evening by Norwegian winter standards, six degrees. A majority of the crowd of thousands was chanting praises for the yet unseen guy who, at this point in time, might have sensed the burden of global adoration in the face of his dimensional challenges in sharp collision with meeting expectations. Hours elapsed before he made it to the balcony of Grand Hotel, an elevation from where Nobel Prize winners greet congratulating spectators. My first experience of the occasion, I cannot compare it to previous scenes although I presume that this is perhaps the biggest gathering from all walks of life standing so long as to express support and hope for change under his leadership of the United States, a nation whose decisions and doings exert a growing bearing on other nations in the ‘globalizing’ world. A significant others represented voices of concern lamenting the way he is dealing with the plights of warfare and global climate change.
Circumstances indeed govern our sense of time that I felt I waited longer when I stood to see president Obama appear in the balcony than I sat in the library all day to finalize my assignment. The excitement finally had to come to a funny end when Obama and Michelle showed up behind a transparent door leaving most of us almost with no chance of proper view from that distance as it were. The chanting crowd still cheered with a slight sight of Obama’s waving hand or a small glimpse of Michelle’s. It was a three-minute show attended by young enthusiasts who put trust in Obama’s eloquence, senior citizens who seemed to make an historical presence in such a momentous occasion, and in fact children rising higher than us on the shoulders of their parents. Dwarfed by a mass of taller figures in front of me, I wished I had been a child on my dad’s shoulder for that moment.
It may be silly to be desperate about seeing one of the most televised faces of our time, but as an awesomely inspiring as he has been, I would say it was worth an attempt to have a gawk of Obama’s look with no colorful TV backgrounds and camera edits.
Slight collection of part of his motioning body notwithstanding, he was generally an unseen figure for me and for a lot others. Neither have his initiatives for peace and harmonious global environment been concrete as he collects the world’s greatest prize for his ideal embracement of these immense causes. His ideals were appealing enough to ignite global motivation to commit for change and they convinced the Nobel Peace Committee to sign in to the approval of his ways of meeting challenges to create a better world in the possible participation of what were vocally dubbed ‘evil’ by his predecessor.
In practice, however, president Obama’s commitments to peace and prosperity are hardly seen in the realm of practical politics with two wars one of which he is clearly intensifying and his national policies not necessarily impressing for many at least at the moment. While too early to expect him to fix the huge messes he inherited from the past, his pronounced confidence to address the problems and certainty to bring about change that he has shown during his presidential campaign should transcend the field of rhetoric sooner than later. He needs to maximize the mobilization of unparalleled public support he enjoyed at least in recent history for the change he aspires. His seeming indifference to tyranny in the poor nations, his language of ‘just’ wars with inclinations towards going down a similar path to resolve conflicts, and the sluggish process of dialogue he appears to have failed to redesign in the Middle East for a better way forward, and the resistance he is meeting along political lines for his national policies all deter the fulfillment of his promises people have trusted him for.
To be fair to him though, I do not think the world should also expect way too much from him given his humanly limitations and the bulk of problems he is not responsible for causing them but determined to work towards their resolution in the context of global cooperation and understanding. I see no more angelic pop up in politics than candid human devotion about him for us to claim a swift rescue to our terribly troubled world.
My blog primarily concerned with Ethiopian affairs (although this is also relevant in a way), I think I made too much noise on global politics as if I had an audience at that level. May be it is because I, like many others, also attach hope to Obama’s promises of change and am afraid that in the absence of its materialization, we may suffer frustrations and the world may see us more monstrous.
I throw a toss to his future achievements that I hope will prevail against potentialities of distructive weds in the harvest.