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Congolese bloggers on the American elections

Congolese bloggers Musengeshi Katata and Shaka Bantou have been closely following the American Democratic and Republican conventions at Forum Realisance. Both are staunch supporters of Obama and sharp critics of the Republican Party.  Like many around the world, bloggers in Congo and across Africa have been following this American election with the belief that its outcome is incredibly important not only for America, but for the world.

Bantou writes that the American election is “a good chance to learn certain profound truths.”  He advises everyone, especially Africans, to follow the elections so as to learn how to “decode the intentions and the strategic labyrinths the West uses to arrive at its ends” [Fr].

Katata explains why he thinks the world is watching the American elections:

…parce les 8 ans de George W. Bush l´ont profondément choqué, et parce que, comme un miracle sorti des légendes des mille et une nuit, un brillant et talentueux Obama venait y défendre la commune renomée du fameux rêve americain.

…because the eight years of George W. Bush have been profoundly shocking, and because, like a miracle out of the legends of one thousand and one nights, a brilliant and talented Obama comes to defend the famous American dream.

Katata writes that America, “with her economic power or the influence she likes to impose or transmit around the world to establish her interests,” has created an image of herself around the world of actually being that dream.  It is a dream that has always been plagued by its own history:

Chaque fois qu´on parlait du rêve américain…on ne manquait, hélas pas…de s´interroger sur le contenu réel de ce fameux rêve américain né de la dépossession territoriale des indiens d´Amerique et leurs massacre ou consignation dans des reservoirs reculés. Oui, un rêve qui se servit de l´esclavage des africains pour accumuler, orienter son bien-être social et propager les inégalités ainsi établies des siècles durant comme principe social dominant. Et même si ces inegalités, avec le temps, se résolvent lentement sous la pression et l´évolution des droits et des libertes sociales aujourd´hui, les lésions causées par l´injustice, le racisme ou la discrimination sociales, elles, perdureront encores leurs effets négatifs loin dans les génerations à venir. Ainsi, ce rêve américain, au fait, pourrait-on se demander à juste titre, est-il sincère ou n´est-il rien d´autre qu´une demi vérité qu´on vendait comme l´idéal le plus juste et le plus fier de l´existence humaine pour que ceratins en profitent, sous cette ombre trompeuse, pour exercer toutes leurs bassesses les plus viles comme jadis ?

Each time we speak of the American Dream…we should not fail to question the actual content of this famous American dream, born of the disposession of Native American territory, the massacre of Native American peoples, or their relegation to remote reserves.  Yes, a dream that used the slavery of Africans in order to accumulate, to direct its social well-being and to propagate the inequalities established over centuries as the dominant social principle.  And even if today these inequalities, over time, are slowly being resolved under pressure and with the evolution of rights and social liberties, the negative effect of these lesions caused by this injustice, by racism, or by social discrimination, will be felt by generations to come.  So can't we quite rightly ask whether the American Dream is in fact genuine, or nothing more than a half-truth that is sold, as the most proud and right idea in human existence so that the few who benefit from it can, under this deceptive shadow, exercise do their worst as they always have?

Blogging the Republican convention: Stuck in the past

Of the Republican convention, which wrapped up on Thursday, Katata writes:

Depuis que la Convention Républicaine a ouvert ses portes ce lundi 1er septembre 2008, on apprend, une nouvelle fois, ce qui différencie fondamentalement les républicains des democrates. Tous aiment leur pays, tous sont touchés par la crise économique qui le secoue dans ses structures autant sociales que financières; mais sur les moyens de mieux gérer ou répondre aux exigences que leur imposent à tous l´avenir, les méthodes divergent diamétralement dans leur systématisme. L´Amérique…Un pays à part ou un pays qui a oublié, depuis qu´il est devenu le pays le plus puissant du monde, que les autres pays, les autres peuples avaient, eux aussi, droit à la liberté et au bien-être matériel auxquels tout americain se réclamait si fièrement sans pour autant y être socialement ou intégralement admis comme on le sait…?

Since the Republican Convention opened its doors…we have learned, yet again, the fundamental difference between Republicans and Democrats.  They both love their country [and] are affected by the economic crisis that is rattling social and financial structures; but in terms of the way to better manage or respond to the challenges they all face in the future, their methods are diametrically opposed.  America…a country isolated or a country that has forgotten, since it became the most powerful in the world, that other countries, other peoples also have a right to the liberty and the material well-being all Americans invoke so proudly, without necessarily being socially or fully accepted, as we all know…?

Katata was not impressed by Sarah Palin's debut:

Son discours à la convention, par ailleurs, n a rien été d´autre qu´un vide cancan de femme inexperimentée jouant à l´agression bon marché. Ah, quelle difference de style et de contenu intellectuel et politique avec Hillary Clinton ! Le jour et la nuit la plus noire qui soit. Si c´est tout ce qu´elle sait faire…sa nomination n´est pas un compliment pour McCain ou avait-il à ce point besoin d´une chienne de garde plus hurlante que mordante ?

Her speech at the convention was nothing else than the empty quacking of an inexperienced woman playing with cheap aggression.  Ah, next to Hillary Clinton, what a difference in style and intellectual and political content!  The difference was night and day.  If that's the only thing she knows how to do…her nomination does not pay compliment to McCain; was he really that much in need of a guard dog, whose bark is worse than her bite?

Nor was Bantou:

Si sa propre fille ne fait cas de ses conseils éducatifs, comment diable veut-elle s´imposer chez les autres avec lesquels elle n´a aucun lien étroit et familial ? Avec la violence et l´intrigue, peut-être ? Crédibilité, hein!

If her own daughter can't follow her advice, how in the world does she hope to impose it on those with whom she has no direct family relation?  With violence and intrigue perhaps?  Where's her credibility?

Blogging the Democratic Convention: The race for the future in a changing world

Katata and Bantoul also wrote last week about the Democratic convention. Katata was impressed by the Clintons and the Obamas, and especially by Mark Warner, former governor of Virginia who is now running for the U.S. Senate:

Parce que mieux que tous les orateurs précédents, il alla en détail et avec précision au cœur du problème américain contemporain en qualifiant avec justesse que ces élections n´étaient pas, contrairement à ce que les gens le prenaient par trop spontanément, un choix entre démocrates ou républicains, entre ceux du Sud ou du Nord, entre les riches et les pauvres ; mais bien entre le passé et l´avenir ou encore entre un président ancré dans le passé et celui qui aurait une vision ambitieuse et innovatrice pour promouvoir un meilleur avenir aux américains. Il parla de l´indépendance de l´énergie que l´Amérique d´Obama voulait réaliser, et critiqua une gestion bushiste illuminée qui avait dépensé les ressources humaines et financières dans des guerres grotesques et ruineuses, ainsi que dans des structures économiques et industrielles conservatives et dépassées, sinon incapables à préserver l´avenir dans le monde changeant et exigeant de demain. Apparemment les républicains ne semblaient pas saisir que face à la Chine accourant à grands pas à l´excellence mondiale, la course pour l´avenir était ouverte. Et celle-ci ne pouvait se gagner que par l´innovation, la créativité industrielle assidue et l´utilisation optimale des facteurs de production.

Better than any of the other speakers, [Mark Warner] got at the heart of the contemporary American problem in detail and with precision, rightly describing the elections not as a choice between democrat or republican, between South or North, between the rich and the poor; but between the past and the future, between a president stuck in the past and someone with an ambitious and innovative vision to work for a better future for Americans.  He spoke of the energy and the independance that an Obama America hopes to realize, and criticized the Bush administration which has wasted vast human and financial resources on ridiculous and expensive wars, as well as in its conservative and outmoded economic and industrial structures, otherwise incapable of securing a future in the changing and world of tomorrow.  Apparently, the Republicans seem not to have gotten that with the grand strides towards global success China is making, the race for the future has [already] begun.  And this can only be achieved through innovation, industrial creativity and optimal usage of their productive capacities.

Et je dois avouer qu´avec Mark Warner j´ai été autant séduit que réconcilié avec les démocrates. Parce que cela m´a laissé entendre que le discours si souvent incompris d´Obama a été bien perçu par ceux qui s´étaient donnés la peine d´aller au fond du problème qui sous des aspects divers et des variantes contextuelles ou géopolitiques, touchait le monde entier, mêmes les africains ou les islamistes extrémistes qui trompaient leurs monde avec un absolutisme religieux qui, en lieu et place de s´industrialiser, de créer le bien être pour les leurs, croyaient primitivement qu´il ne s´agissait, dans l´existence, que de croire aveuglement à une religion quelconque !

And I must say that with Mark Warner, I was as seduced as I was reconciled with the democrats.  Because [his speech] helped me understand that Obama's discourse, so often misunderstood, has been understood by those who have gone to the trouble of going to the heart of the matter which, with its many aspects and varied contexts or geopolitics, affects the whole world, even Africans or Islamic extremists who, with their religious absolutism, instead of industrializing, instead of increasing the well-being of their own, that in this existence all one need do is believe in whatever religion!

Croyait-on que le progrès se ferait à coup de sourates aussi passionnées soit-elles ; ou s´achèterait chez ceux qui se seraient donnés la peine d´inventer et de produire ? Mais alors il faudrait avoir les moyens financiers d´acheter…indéfiniment. Est-ce possible sans produire soi-même et développer l´intelligence et la créativité des siens ? Faut pas rêver…Les démocrates, en tout cas, ne se font aucune illusion : il s´agit de protéger et de garantir l´avenir de chacun de leurs enfants dans un monde où la concurrence, prochainement, deviendra accrue et sélective au plus haut niveau.

Do they believe, passionate as they are, that progress will come from some chapter of the Koran; or will they keep buying from those who have gone to the trouble to invent and produce?  But that would mean having the financial means to buy…indefinitely.  Is that possible without themselves producing and developing their own intelligence and creativity?  They're dreaming…the democrats, at any rate, are under no illusion: it's about protecting and safeguarding the future of their children in a world where, in the very near future, competition will only increase.

Bantou also has high praise for Obama but wonders if the American electorate will make the right choice this time:

En fin de compte, et après 8 ans de visible gestion cabalistique de la part de George W. Bush, le peuple américain sera-t-il capable, est-il capable de juger adéquatement et objectivement ? Rappelons-nous, c´est ce même peuple qui, contre l´avis certain candidat Kerry et même de beaucoup d´analystes politiques avisés, vota, contre tout bon sens, George Bush à la tête de ses institutions ! Comment réagira-t-il le 4 novembre prochain ; qui le sait ? Peut-être que les douleurs, les blessures ou l´amère pilule républicaine que subissait la société américaine actuellement n´étaient pas encore assez cruelles… ? Ou ce peuple dira-t-il, comme Obama : 8 ans, ça suffit, nous en avons assez!

At the end of the day, and after 8 years of the patently of George W. Bush, will the American people be capable, are they capable of making an adequate and objective assessment?  Remember that these are the same people who, against the advice of and many informed political analysts, voted, against all good sense, George Bush to the head of its institutions!  How will they act on next November 4th; who knows?  Maybe the pain, the wounds or the bitter Republican pill American society is being subjected to have not been cruel enough…?  Or will this people, as Obama, say: 8 years, that's enough, we have had enough!

The stakes are high:

Mais nous souhaiterions aussi, et cela est un vœu pieux de haute espérance éthique et morale humaines, que ce pays ne ferme pas toujours les yeux sur les droits et les libertés des autres peuples. Même dans l´intérêt d´un quelconque rêve américain d´hégémonie et de domination sur le monde. Ces temps-là sont révolus, et devant la Chine, il est temps de défendre des valeurs qui soient valables pour tous. Sinon la Chine pourrait invoquer ces écarts et ces interprétations restrictives pour faire la même chose…

But we also hope, and this is a a solemn vow of the highest ethical and moral aspiration, that this country will no longer close its eyes to the rights and liberties of other people.  Even in the interest of a mundane American Dream of hegemony and world domination.  Those days are over, and in the face of China, it is time to defend the values that are good for everyone.  Otherwise China can invoke these gaps [between rhetoric and reality], these limited interpretations, to do the same thing…

3 comments

  • […] Brea of Global Voices posted an interesting article today taking a look at what the Congolese blogoshpere has to say about the upcoming United States elections… Congolese bloggers Musengeshi Katata […]

  • PALIN Stares down PUTIN

    Palin speaks of possible war with Russia
    in her first rare interview

    PALIN-tology – 100 Real issues in 1 weekend – Ideology over Experience (w/poll)
    by BoBo2020
    Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 10:03:48 AM PDT

    Here is the revised and update list of problems facing McCain’s VP candidate.

    We have almost reached 100 solid issues in 1 weekend.

    In past comments, several of you have asked why bother collecting all of this info on a VP choice. I believe that this choice (McCain’s first and most important exeutive decision in his run for the white house) clearly illustrates so many things that are wrong with his candidacy.

    It is becoming increasingly clear that this candidate was not vetted at all.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/9/1/113810/3053/686/582073#c11

  • soren

    Neither blogger has a clear idea of what the American Dream is. I have no criticism for their Obama preference. It simply seems to me that the bloggers are naive as to what the American Dream means- they simply create a weak vision of it, simply to knock it down.

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