Obama Unwelcome in South Africa


Barack Obama, Michelle ObamaWhile President Zuma and the ANC welcomed United States President Barrack Obama to South Africa, protestors made it very clear he was unwelcome.

South African police fired stun grenades at hundreds of protesters on Saturday who were demonstrating against US President Barack Obama’s visit to South Africa, according to AFP.  Three loud bangs were heard as police tried to move the angry protesters away from the area.

Obama’s visit to the country has caused some controversy among a coalition of trade union groups and left-wing political organizations which planned a “national day of action” to coincide with his visit. The groups have indicated that they are cynical about American foreign and trade policies, and that they feel Obama has done nothing to the advantage of South Africa, but merely continued American foreign policies, to which they had hoped for an end.

The protestors carried signs calling Obama’s administration ‘satanic;’  ‘war on Iraq a lie that cost American economy 13 trillion;’ and ‘American democracy stinks of hypocrisy.’

The protest was held on the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus where Obama was addressing students and received an honorary law degree.  And on Sunday, June 30 at the University of Cape Town, another rally is planned.

There was a banner denouncing Obama as being ‘The World’s Top Assassin’ during a rally in South African capital, Pretoria. The South African Protesters were wearing t-shits, which read: “No, You Can’t Obama.” The slogan is inspired by the “Yes We Can” campaign motto, used during Obama’s run for his first presidential term in 2008.  Days earlier, in Pretoria, they burned the US national flag as they protested against the upcoming visit of US President Barrack Obama to South Africa.

One young South African told the press that he had celebrated Mr. Obama’s first election victory but “now we have seen that he is no different to other US presidents”.

Police fired warning shots during a protest outside the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus where President Obama was visiting

“The US still imposes itself on other nations,” he said, pointing to the US involvement in the toppling of South African ally Col. Muammar Gaddafi in Libya.

In a joint news conference with the U.S. leader, President Zuma compared Mr Obama to Nelson Mandela, the “father of the nation,” whose ill health is dominating the thoughts of all South Africans at the moment.

Mr Zuma noted that both were the first black presidents of their respective countries, and so carried “the dreams of millions of people in Africa and the diaspora, who had previously been oppressed”.

The similarities end with both of them being the first black leaders of a country.  Although Mandela’s history includes some flaws, his leadership lifted the majority of South Africa’s population from despair.

President Obama has continued the failed and unchanging policies of his predecessors.  He promised change, but the change was not positive for working America.

Having no faith in either party, or the leaders of the Republicans and Democrats, places the people of the United States between ‘hell and a hard rock.’  We literally have no one to vote for that will keep even 50 percent of their campaign promises.

It is easy to see why some in South Africa found Obama’s visit unwelcome.

James Turnage

The Guardian Express


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