Image of the year: That Obama Selfie

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In November, 2013 the Oxford Dictionary announced the word ‘selfie’ as the word of the year and included it in the dictionary. This December, President Obama, Prime Minister Cameron and Ms Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark, have conspired to make their selfie, taken at the Memorial for Nelson Mandela, image of the year.

Acting like excited teenagers on a day out these world leaders got caught up in the moment and couldn’t resist taking a self-portrait of themselves. Journalists have reported that everybody else was taking pictures too, especially of the dignitaries sitting in the VIP section. Everybody, that is, except Michelle Obama whose stern look betrayed her disapproval.

In diplomatic circles, planning is essential. Itineraries are scrutinized and synchronized and the uncommon and potentially ambiguous eliminated. But sometimes ‘unplanned’ moments like President Obama shaking the hands of Raul Castro, the leader of Cuba, occur, amidst discomfort and gritted teeth. While the White House has dismissed any thawing of relations because of the handshake, Havana is gleefully playing it up as a sign of positive development. So the question for the diplomats would be was the presidential selfie with the European Prime-Ministers on the schedule?

When the initial images of the selfie surfaced, commentators described the Lady Prime Minister as unidentified until she was properly recognized as the Danish Statsminister. Helle Thorning-Schmidt of the Social Democratic party is the first female Prime Minister of Denmark and has been Prime Minister since 2005, and while she is a good looking woman she is also a handful and politically savvy, as in a single stroke of diplomatic finesse she enraptured the two leaders of the ‘free world,’ the leadership of the Anglo-American axis that arguably rule the world. Not even Thor with his divine hammer can knock up such a favorable coalition for the Danes.

But Madam Prime Minister couldn’t charm Michele who with a cold look, reminiscent of Loki, froze the ‘summit’ and broke up the coalition. The consequences of her actions could be dire. I fear that the price of Danish Cookies may soon hit the roof.

 

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Thank You, Thank You, Thank you…….America

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The Americans have proved once more that they are the leading nation in the world. The civil, smooth and smartly concluded US presidential elections has proved that inspite of the concerted efforts of some peoples, this is not a planet of the apes. The American elections has always given the rest of the world a glimpse of ‘utopia’ and that is why the world watches the proceedings with rapt attention every four years.

Democracy has its shortcomings, but watching it being played out on the biggest stage by sincere actors, it is obvious that this is the best form of governance known to Mankind right now. Thus the lesson of the US elections is that if a people agree to work together with mutual respect and a magnanimous spirit, it is possible that the society can achieve peace and harmony. And this statement is relevant to Nigeria more today than ever at any other time.

The 2012 US elections has gone down in history as the Twitter election, evocative of how Obama leveraged Facebook in 2008 and Goodluck Jonathan last year. Social media has opened the flood gates to political discourse and most importantly energized young men and women (18-35years) to participate in politics and wield their voting power and become agents of change. This is the beauty of the social media experience.

@sirwebs

I ENDORSE BARACK OBAMA

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I ENDORSE BARACK OBAMA

Individuals, the mass media, organizations, associations and even religious groups traditionally endorse a preferred candidate during American elections. For this year’s Presidential campaign, I join the New York Times, the Washington Post, 50 Cent, Ellen DeGeneres and many others to endorse for another four years, the first black President of the United States of America, Barack Obama.

I would not go into details explaining his performance in the past four years. That is not my purpose here and sources for such information are ubiquitous, but I support for another four years the candidacy of the man who against all odds became the first President of colour to live in the White House, who stabilized the US economy after the ‘hurricane’ of the sub-prime induced economic downturn and who made the call in the middle of the night for Osama bin Laden to be taken out. I endorse Obama for he is a beacon of hope; a smart fellow whose emergence and success in politics on the biggest stage of all has helped reshape stereotypes of the black race; I endorse Obama whose ‘journey’ has concretized the notion that with a good education, one cannot only shatter glass ceilings but reach above the skies.

The various polls show Barack Obama in a neck and neck race with his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney: however I don’t foresee a Bush – Gore (2000) type of outcome, more like a Bush-Kerry situation. I foresee Obama, come Tuesday, 6th November winning by anything from five to nine percentage points. I don’t work for Pew research (yet) but that’s my hunch.

Now that is that.

@sirwebs