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Thursday, July 7, 2011
US-AFRICA RELATIONS: Why Ghana doesn't love Obama anymore
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By Jonathan Zimmerman / July 6, 2011 / http://www.csmonitor.com.
Here’s a quick quiz culled from the opinion pages in Ghana, where I’m teaching this summer: Who is the imperialist race traitor waging war on Africa?
Obama told Ghanaians in 2009: “Africa’s future is up to Africans.” So why is the US bombing Libya, they rightly ask. No lasting peace will take root in Libya without strong African support. Ditto for America’s ongoing struggle against terrorists there.
The answer, of course, is Barack Obama. The reason is the bombing of Libya, which is immensely unpopular over here. And so is President Obama, who now stands accused of betraying his own African heritage.
That’s a big change from the last time I taught in Ghana, during Mr. Obama’s state visit in 2009. His smiling face was everywhere, from T-shirts and soccer balls to billboards and murals. Gripped by “Obama Fever,” as Ghanaians called it, massive crowds lined the streets to welcome the first African-American US president to Africa.
You can still see Obama’s likeness around town these days, especially in the tourist areas. But for many Ghanaians, the honeymoon with Obama is over. And it started to go sour when the first warplanes strafed Benghazi and Tripoli, in a NATO effort to protect civilians from strongmanMuammar Qaddafi.
That was the Libya-intervention’s official purpose, anyway. But Ghanaians aren’t buying it. To many observers here, it looks like a grab for Libya’s oil riches; to others, it’s a nefarious Western plot to re-colonize Africa.