DAA News Network

Comment: Inauguration of Barak Hussein Obama.

Posted 21/1-09 at 12.45

On 20th January 2009, the man who had became the 44th President of the USA proclaimed an ‘end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recrimination and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics’.


He said that the time had come to carry forward the ‘promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness’.


He said that ‘greatness was never given’, that ‘it is not a path for the faint-hearted’ but it has been the ‘risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – who have carried us up the long, rugged path toward prosperity and freedom’.


For fifteen minutes he waged his individual battle against political expediency and fought for peace, freedom and equality. We have not heard words like this for a very long time. His speech did not contain the one sound-bite beloved of the media - every word mattered. He did not favour one excluded group or make lists of the powerless.


As Jesse Jackson said – ‘he was bigger than our race’.


And that, for me, was the most important aspect of Barak Obama’s inaugural speech.


It did not matter that he did not mention disabled people, or indigenous people or sexual orientation. He made it quite clear that it was his profound belief that the gift of freedom is for every single person.


Fighting for freedom must be for everyone and the responsibility of everyone. You cannot get freedom for one country or person or tribe or creed at the expense of another. You cannot free yourself without freeing others.


Obama sent a message to the world. It will now be up the world to make the most of it and not ruin its chance for peace and freedom through jealousy, small-mindedness, pride or arrogance.


Alice Walker, the black feminist writer, said it all: ‘ the baton must be passed to those who have the radiance to carry it’.


Rachel Hurst, Director DAA

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