The Power of Change – By Mikael Deribe

November 11th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

On the night of November 4th, 2008, so many grown men and women were shedding tears of joy when Senator Barack Obama was elected president of the United States. (more…)

On the night of November 4th, 2008, so many grown men and women were shedding tears of joy when Senator Barack Obama was elected president of the United States. America was joyful for the message of humility, hope and optimism, and the breaking of new ground in the social and political history of the American nation.

The election of Senator Barrack Obama as US’ 44th president signifies two dimensions of the astonishing success of the United States. The first is that the American society is one that is capable of progressing to meet the demands of time and the other is that Mr. Obama exemplifies the characters of great leaders who led the people of this nation to build today’s greatest land of opportunity.

In his victory speech, president-elect Barrack Obama used the life of the 106-year-old lady from Atlanta named Ann Nixon Couper to describe this nation’s journey from what this lady had seen in her long lifetime living in America, to where the nation stands now.

America has gone from the ages of slavery to the September 22, 1863 executive order of President Abraham Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation to abolish slavery. The nation traversed from The Civil Rights Act of 1875 (Separate but equal), which allowed racial segregation in the South, to Brown v. Board of Education and Boiling v. Sharpe decisions 0f 1954 abolishing segregation of American schools along racial lines. America moved further from the police brutality against peaceful African American protesters led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 signed by President Lindon B. Johnson, which promised equal treatment of minority citizens by United States government putting an end to the awful Jim-crow laws of segregation.

Finally America changed the “no you can’t” response to Mayor Tom Bradley’s campaign for California governor’s race of 1982 to the “yes we can” election of Senator Barrack Obama’s presidential bid of 2008.

These are momentous changes and changes momentous.

Despite its history of human rights violations and other moral evils of its past, America was able to transcend the ugly side of its history and is rewarded for its undying hope of its people and resilience of its union. July 4th, 1776 is the birth date of America. Therefore, the greatest nation of the world is only 232 years old. The American nation’s experience and its gradual but fast transformation to the era of an African-American president is an extraordinary journey from which Ethiopian and other African leaders in general must learn in order to move us beyond the gridlock of tyranny, poverty, and hunger.

Mr. Obama has joined one of many inspiring and optimistic world leaders whose messages have touched the inner-soul of mankind all over the world. America is a product of great leaders who preached love when hate was in the air to breath, who preached peace when war was popular, who preached non-violence as a defense of violence itself, who fought for unity instead of division and cessation, who fought for racial integration and equality instead of segregation and supremacy of one race; and above all, whether they were in the government or in the opposition, who looked forward with hope and optimism even in the darkest hours and who never cited history to spread hate and division amongst their own people but only to avoid it in the future. As Obama did in his campaign, great American leaders never put their race or ethnicity before their humanity and believed in the American motto of ‘E pluribus Unum’ – out of many, that we are, ONE!

Yes, out of many, we are one! This is my take-home message for our Ethiopian leaders, for those who are fighting to liberate my Oromiffa-speaking side only, for those who claim to be protectors of the Tigre half of my sister in law from the “chauvinist” Amhara side of her husband. It is time to realize, in President-elect Obama’s words, that “our stories are singular but our destiny is shared,” it is time to understand that no one is free until we all are free – it is time to join the Solidarity Movement for New Ethiopia to bring real change to our own nation!

”…And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright, tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth but from the enduring power of our ideals – democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope! That’s the true genius of America! That America can change! Our union can be perfected!” – President-elect Barrack Obama, Nov 4th, 2008

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