Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Election 2008 Congratulations from Ghana. Time for Change by Rod McLaren, Development Chief of Edubiase

Rod McLaren, a native Canadian whose formal title in Ghana is Nana Akwasi Amoako Agyeman, Edubiase Nkosuohene. Which means he is a Development Chief of Edubiase. He owns the African Rainbow Resort in Busua Beach where I'll be staying 2 weeks when I visit Ghana for the month of December. I connected to him through Alan Brody, a mutual old pal.

Below is the fusion of two emails Nana wrote his North American friends since Obama's election. I liked the world view it presented, and am pleased to be able to share it with you here. –JGR

If you compare the two countries, I have often told my American friends that Ghanaians are much more aware of world issues and much more involved in politics. Ghanaians, whether they be literate or not, will be at the polling stations on the day of our upcoming election in December.

Ghanaians, whether they be literate or not, can discuss world issues, and have informed opinions about events, and know more about what is going on in the world than the majority of Americans. Perhaps this latest election in the USA will be a turning point for that country. Perhaps, thanks to the heavy-handed interference of George Bush in countries like Iraq, maybe, just maybe, Americans will begin once again to take responsibility for ensuring that they receive "good governance" in the same way that they expect other countries to conduct themselves.

Of course, we live in a time of change. Barack Obama is half black, half white. Just like my children. His connection to Africa is much closer to this continent than it is for most black Americans. The world is becoming much more fluid, and so are the skin colors of people around the world. It is an interesting time in history to be living in this big world, and I am grateful each day for the opportunity to experience it from this location
Congratulations, America. And now the real work begins. It is a time for change. We have to hope so.
There was a celebration in our apartment this morning. Our daughter, Afua Sewaa brought out a bottle of bubbly for a champagne breakfast and we drank a toast to the successful election of Barack Obama as the President of the United States of America.
The toast was to honor many hopes. The world joins Americans in hoping for a return to sanity after two terms of corruption and mayhem which caused tremendous economic and social destruction and caused the loss of untold lives of people in those parts of the world in which the Bush regime sought to intrude.
There is a hope that the American people will end their uninvited interference in the internal affairs of foreign countries and turn inward to correct some of the shortcomings of their own society. There is a hope that Americans will recognize the negative impact of their protectionist trade practises on many struggling economies throughout the world and particularly here in Africa. There is a hope that America will follow the lead of so many other countries, including many here in Africa, by adopting social policies including medical care which will enable their own citizens to live a dignified life.

There is another reason for celebration---one which has special significance for families such as our own. The United States has followed the lead of this African country, Ghana, by electing a President who is half and half. Afua Sewaa correctly pointed to a past when people of color were on the bottom of the social ladder in North America, when people of color had no hope of rising to the same level in society as their fellow white citizens. Today there is new reason for hope that that situation can change. It is possible for a man of color to hold the most important office in one of the strongest countries in the world. If that can happen, then many other hopes are also possible.

We join our American friends, here in Africa, and back in the United States. We raise our glasses in a toast to a future world of all possibilities. Cheers!

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  1. Thank you for posting this message of hope and good will from Ghana. As an American, I am humbled by the reminder of the narrowness of our view of the world. Technology allows us easy connection and the possibility for greater understanding of societies around the globe. Yet many of us remain willfully self-satisfied in the assumption that we live in the greatest country in the world and somehow deserve greater privilege than others. Too many of us look down our noses at other cultures if we look at them at all. \r\n\r\nAfter 9/11, I was shocked by the egotism and greed that allowed our country to attack and invade a sovereign nation that had nothing to do with the attack. As the fallacies on which our invasion was justified were proved false, our invasion and the war continued, purportedly to install our "superior" ideals and to protect the Iraqi people. Whereas I used to be content to live in my own little world, oblivious to "foreign affairs," horror at my country\'s action expanded my world view and concern for my fellow human beings everywhere. My hope is that our president elect can begin to heal the damage created in the last 8 years by a president whose policies were divisive. We hope that Obama\'s influence will be unifying here at home and around the world. Perhaps the biggest challenge to unity is right here in our own extremely polarized country. \r\n\r\nBarack Obama has a difficult road ahead and the grave challenge of fulfilling the hopes from around the world. My prayers are with him.

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