On Final Day In Kenya, Obama Describes Himself Proudly As A “Kenyan American”
Via LA Times
Describing himself proudly as a “Kenyan American,” President Obama on Sunday reached deep into his personal history to urge this East African nation to reject the “dark corners” of its past and chart a “path to progress” befitting the 21st century.
Throughout his much-anticipated, three-day trip here, Obama delighted his father’s native country with humorous references to his family connections and by speaking short phrases in Swahili.
At the same time, Obama gently reminded Kenyans that his relationship with their nation today must be as U.S. president, not native son.
But as he departed for Ethiopia, Obama stepped fully into his unique role and spoke frankly to Kenyans as only a member of the family can.
In an address reflecting on his family’s past and their country’s future, Obama declared Kenya to be “at a crossroads” where it can either move forward, or bind itself to harmful African traditions.
Tribalism, corruption, oppression of women and genital mutilation of girls all serve, the president said, as an “anchor that holds you down.”
“Every country has traditions that are unique,” he told an enthusiastic crowd of university students and other young people. “Just because something is a part of your past doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t mean that it defines your future.”
Obama recalled the experiences of his father and grandfather, and his own journey in coming to terms with their struggles.