I'm tired.

How about a quick post before I go out for the evening? Angel is away at our cousin's bachelorette party, and I'm soon headed to a benefit for Nickelsville after spending the last two days schmoozing at Diocesan Convention. I should probably just rest, but alas.

Some highlights from Desmond Tutu's aforementioned article:


1) We owe our glorious victory over the awfulness of apartheid in South Africa in large part to the support we received from the international community, including the United States, and we will always be deeply grateful. But for those of us who have looked to America for inspiration as we struggled for democracy and human rights, these past seven years have been lean ones.


2)Against all this, the election of Barack Obama has turned America's image on its head. My wife was crying with incredulity and joy as we watched a broadcast of the celebrations in Chicago. A newspaper here ran a picture of Obama from an earlier trip to one of our townships, where he was mobbed by youngsters. It was tacitly saying that we are proud he once visited us.

Today Africans walk taller than they did a week ago -- just as they did when Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994. Not only Africans, but people everywhere who have been the victims of discrimination at the hands of white Westerners, have a new pride in who they are. If a dark-skinned person can become the leader of the world's most powerful nation, what is to stop children everywhere from aiming for the stars? The fact that Obama's Kenyan grandfather was a convert to Islam may -- shamefully -- have been controversial in parts of the United States, but elsewhere in the world, Obama's multi-faith heritage is an inspiration.


3)On humanitarian issues, he will be hard-pressed in the ongoing global financial crisis to match the current administration's generally admirable record. President Bush has succeeded in working with Congress to devote unprecedented amounts of money to fighting malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. But if the United States is to show that it places as much value on a human life in Africa as on one in the United States, Obama actually has to improve on Bush's achievements.


4) The renowned African scholar Ali Mazrui has pointed out that Obama could never have gotten as far as he has without an exceptional level of trust on the part of white Americans. In this, his achievement is similar to what Nelson Mandela had achieved by the end of his presidency; Mandela's party may never have drawn a majority of white votes, but he has come to be revered by white as well as black South Africans as the founding father of our democracy.


5) Obama is the son of a Kenyan man and a Kansan woman. He spoke movingly about his background during his long campaign. Now he's the president-elect. His triumph can help the world reach the point where we realize that we are all caught up in a delicate network of interdependence, unable to celebrate fully our own heritage and place in the world, unable to realize our full potential as human beings, unless everyone else, everywhere else, can do the same.


There are lots of reasons that Desmond is everyone's favorite Anglican. For now, mine is found in point number 3 above, where he insinuates that the challenge to America is to demonstrate that it values life in Africa as much as it values life in America. Whatever political persuasion you hold, trying realistically applying that principle and see where you come out. Tough stuff.

Comments

wes said…
"But if the United States is to show that it places as much value on a human life in Africa as on one in the United States, Obama actually has to improve on Bush's achievements."

i.e. Cough up more guilt-laden cash.

Tim, dig up some figure comparing NZ's foreign aid with the U.S.
I'm sure you could determine some way to show how NZ gives like 400% more of their GNP to PNG than does the U.S. to all of it's receiving countries. Anyhow, you probably got all this memorized in that noggin' of yours, so just go on and make it plain for all us simple folk.
Tim Mathis said…
" * USA’s aid, in terms of percentage of their GNP has almost always been lower than any other industrialized nation in the world, though paradoxically since 2000, their dollar amount has been the highest. (Only since 2004 have they move up from last place, by just one or two places.)

* Since 1992, Japan had been the largest donor of aid, in terms of raw dollars. That was until 2001 when the United States reclaimed that position, a year that also saw Japan’s amount of aid drop by nearly 4 billion dollars (as tables and charts below will also show).

Not quite 400% only 200% (and actually NZ gives less by some measures). The Scandanavian Utopias though, they give exponentially more than either relative to GDP.

Foreign Aid is the one area in which I don't ignorantly, automatically and prejudicially assume that the US is the worst in the world.
wes said…
that'a boy!
Tim Mathis said…
anything for your approval.

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