Dear President Obama,

By the time you will be reading this note, I am sure your belongings will be packed ready for you to go retire and live a lonely life away-from the glare of the media and world attention. You will be excuse from the limelight and busy schedule of a United States president. I am sure you will have a happy retirement after serving your electorates well.

Meanwhile Mr President, this letter may not be what you may have expect from your fan. Truth be told, you could be the most loved US president in recent history. On your rise to power, you shake the world, you shattered records, and you did the unbelievable and become the top story in every news room and political enthusiast. You inspired millions of young people around the world including me. Your campaign slogan of “Yes we Can” and “Change” captivated your rise in popularity and become very appealing to not only the American voter but the spectators around the world. Probably your biggest asset was your communication power. Your speeches can ‘bring back the dead alive’. The power in your voice was enough to justify your qualification for US president. I can still vividly remember how on many times you made me shade tears watching you give speech. Perhaps another trait was your impeccable record in community service and leadership. Your ability to relate to many people and speaking the minds of millions of people. When I watch the replay of your keynote address at the 2004 democratic convention, I couldn’t believe my ears and my eyes failed me yet again and cry like a bereaved.  I thought you came from another world.

I can still remember during the primaries, when your opponent-Hillary Clinton was accusing you of ‘lack of experience’, luckily I lay my hands on the New African Magazine. After reading the detailed report on you and your opponent, I told my friends that you will be the next president of America. Perhaps few people at the time believe that you will win the elections. Even though majority of the inhabitants of the world claimed to have race, religious, ethnic tolerance, when it comes to politics, they usually rear their ugly heads. America proof the world wrong. At least in Obama’s era. There are many stories to be told about you for centuries. I totally agree with the notion ‘leaders are born’. You were born to be a leader. As you affirmed in your victory speech in 2008 that ‘America is a place where all things are possible’ and …’your victory was an answer to those who doubts the power of your democracy’. 

Meanwhile Mr President, I have to inform you that my culture don’t allow me to praise and sing people. I am no griot or praise singer but my religion commend me to say the good admirable character I see in people. First of all you have been forgiven for making millions like me shed tears watching your speeches. You inspired millions, broke records, reached new heights and give hope to the hopeless. And that reminds me, your ‘hope’ slogan has ends with many stories. I will come to that later.

However, despite all the love I have to you, on average your presidency has been a big failure on the global stage. I will applaud you for stopping Iran acquire nuclear weapons and increasing isolation of North Korea even though the regime remains adamant. First of all as a black man, I thought when you become president, race relations will improve in the US but with what is coming from the ‘Free World’ I doubt if there is any improvement. I know governance in the US is much different from my country where one man can hold the whole country into ransom. Over here it’s a one man show, he policed the people, he prosecute and he judge.  In addition believes our destiny is in his hands and will remain to torment us for a billion years before he resigns to join the ancestors to drink some “Bumkayab”. Unfortunately the town council has understand his tricks and I doubt he have a billion seconds on the throne.  Truth be told, your coming has done good to our race. It has wipe out most negative perceptions about black people. Your Wife, Michelle has been the perfect example of a mother and first lady. She is to America  ‘Aisha’ to the Muhammadan religion.

You may be wondering now why a little man from the forgotten parts of the world be bothered about recounting your accomplishments and failures. Can I remind you when it comes to American politics, the whole world have to be involved. Although we are just spectators, every decision taken by the person in that oval office affects the world. Probably it was the reason why Putin helped secured Trump’s win. It was your fault. You made him your enemy and underestimated his tactical prowess. As a man with African blood, I thought your presidency will see a change of US strategy and policy towards Africa. But you have not been better than your predecessors. Besides making a viral video about war lord, Kony you couldn’t help terminate his rebel movement. The South Sudan war started during the ripe age of your presidency. Killings and mayhem continued to this day with no action from you. This was not what I expected from you in 2008. As you are leaving the White House, democracy is still under siege in many parts of our continent. Terrorism is on the rise at the global stage. Probably you’ve been working on the note books of George Bush. I thought you would have use a different strategy to combat terrorism.

As you admitted (probably just for the media) that your biggest regrets was invading Libya. You and I know it was a decision not a mistake. Africa will never forgive you and your friends for attacking Libya. Undoubtedly Gadafi was a brutal dictator but bombs was not the solution. He was doing lot of good things for poor African countries and the African Union in particular that your America will never do. Perhaps what I love about him most was his idea of African Unity. I doubt if the dream will ever come true. The invasion and killing of Gadafi has resulted in the deaths of thousands of Africans. My country alone has lost so many innocent souls trying to reach Europe in the aftermath of your actions. Mali is still dealing with the crops of terrorists from the war. If the Iraq invasion was an American mistake, what was Libya?

Meanwhile I wrote a poem when so many Gambians were reported to have died in Libya trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. With your permission, I want to share it with you excerpts from the poem sir.

You said you were protecting civilians

Then you killed Ghadafi

Libya became a battlefield

Paradise for a smuggler

A gateway to the Mediterrean Cemetery

Mothers are crying

When you were taking office, the Muslim world felt that you will be from Bush. You even mention in your inaugural speech, 2009 ‘to the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward’. Sadly your regime has been bloodier than your predecessor. As according to an Aljazeera report, US is currently bombing seven Muslim countries and an average of three bombs every hour. This is serious. I know that there are dangerous terrorists and criminals but bombing can’t never solve the issue instead it’s just increase hatred towards your country. I didn’t expected you doing this. Using a drone to kill a suspected terrorist and ending up killing many innocent lives is the true example of some lives matter more than others. Perhaps you can advise Trump to have a different way of dealing with the bad dudes.  

On your watch the world witness the biggest evil on earth-ISIL/Daesh. It surprises me why you can’t ‘finished’ them for so long when you could crumbled Libya and Iraq in days. Another thug Assad, the ‘rebels’ and other blood tasty factions continued to be armed at the expense of vulnerable groups-women, children, old, the weak. Perhaps Trump will deal put them in order before March 2017. The Syria war has really put our generation in shame and as the IGP of the world, you have the lion share of the blame.

You have made many record breaking moments. Your restoration of US-Cuba ties is highly applauded and it have confirm your good leadership qualities. Meanwhile besides being accommodating to immigration, you also witness the highest number of deportations in recent US president’s history. You are such a wise politician.

However I have to commend you for your administration initiative of the ‘Mandela Washington Fellowship for young African. This I believe will be your lasting legacy in Africa. I am sure many African future leaders will come from this fellowship. Thank you for giving young Africans this unique opportunity. Now that you’re retiring, I wish to thank you for inspiring me. Don’t go and remain silent, the world needs you like more than before.


Edrissa Baldeh

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