It not everyday, you find four things you love all in the same place. A photo I found on Yahoo.com by a reuters photographer, Jason Reed, did just that for me. He captured four things I love in one shot. The photo shows President Barack Obama and African Union Commission Chairwomen Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma shaking hands in the backdrop of the flag of United States and African Union. So let me explain the four things I love.
United States: I always loved the United States. Even when I was an Ethiopian citizen, I was impressed by the democratic templet and the wise minds of the founding fathers. The idea of shining city on the hill was very attractive for the young African who was denied his democratic rights by the military government. After I moved here and become the citizen of this great country, America lived up to its promises and more. America is not perfect by any means but it doesn’t have to be. The fact that this great country give a place to an immigrant like me and millions others and still be a beacon of hope for millions is not something I take for granted. I am aware of the struggle and the work done by millions before me. America’s strength is not its military might or its wealth. It is simply the idea of democratic process that keeps on improving itself. this ever changing struggle between its citizens with respect to human right and do process is what makes America great. The fact that we dealt with the overturning of voters right act and DOMA both in the same weeks is simply a best example.
African Union: As an African native, I always like and supported the African Union even when it was Organization of African Unity (OAU). For Africa to develop and realize its potential, Africans need to play an important role. For years and years, Africa’s fate was decided by non Africans and the result is as clear as a day light. Today, African Union plays an important role in the world. There is a lot that needs to be done by African Union to impact the continent but the job is already started. One of the progress that we see in the past ten years include the election of African Union Commission Chairwomen Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. The first female Chairwomen of the Union. A perfect segway to my third love.
Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma (born 27 January 1949) is a South African politician and former anti-apartheid activist. She was South Africa’s Minister of Health from 1994 to 1999, under President Nelson Mandela, then Minister of Foreign Affairs from 17 June 1999 to 10 May 2009, under Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Molanthe. She was moved to the position of Minister of Home Affairs in the Cabinet of President Jacob Zuma, her ex-husband, on 10 May 2009 a capacity in which she served until her resignation on 2 October 2012.
On 15 July 2012, Dlamini-Zuma was elected by the African Union Commission as its chairperson, making her the first woman to lead the organisation (including its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity). She took office on 15 October 2012. Her election was such a powerful message to African women. I once heard a wise women commenting, “when you change one women’s life, You change a community” I am sure her election changed more than a community. It changed a continent.
Barack Obama: I can say without any hesitation there is no one that inspired me more than Barack Obama. I remember watching a usual Democratic convention when John Kerry was running for president of the United States, I was with friend watching while playing pool and here comes a skinny guy with a funny name. His speech send a shock through me. There is something inside of me that told me he is going to be a President of United States. I shared it with friends and family. Most gave me that look “yeah right” but I honestly knew and believed in America, that if a person do is part, the support will follow. Just like that I stood in the lawn of Washington to hear his first inauguration speech.