History’s irony: Obama nullifies legacy of King, Mandela
South Africa is lucky. Despite apartheid, a person in the mold of Nelson Mandela emerged as a leader and managed to become its elected president. His personal struggle for racial equality and social justice is legendary and will surely be recorded in world history books.
A similar valiant struggle took place in the United States. This was started by black leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. The two paved the way for the election of the country’s first minority black president, Barack Obama. Unfortunately, King became a victim of the violent, vicious nature of American society and politics.
The height of the American civil rights movement was just a couple of generations ago. But its lessons have been forgotten, if they had been learned at all. Racial discrimination in America persists against new immigrant minorities, in particular against Hispanics and Asians, including Filipinos.
American law enforcement agencies and the US military have been abusive and have “overextended” their covert activities. They have recently increased the number of drone attacks on civilian populations in Pakistan. They have no respect for the sovereignty of other nations. They have no respect for individual rights and they intrude into personal privacy. While some of these barbaric practices originated with President George W. Bush, President Obama is tolerating them and has even authorized them. The evidence that the US government is into this state of things is overwhelming. Recently the massive spying activities of America’s National Security Agency was exposed. The operation involved intercepting millions of e-mails and telephone conversations in different countries. Even heads of state were bugged during summit meetings.
President Obama’s response to these illegal activities was shocking. He said: “It is time to have a debate on these matters.”
Ironically, it took a black US president to negate the social contributions and legacy of Mandela, King and Parks to humanity.
—BERNARDO D. MORANTTE JR., MD,
Filinvest I, Quezon City
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