Nigeria oil rebels say mulling Obama truce appeal
Rebels who have stepped up attacks on Nigeria's oil industry in the last month said on Sunday they were considering a ceasefire appeal by U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has launched five attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta since it resumed a campaign of violence in April, forcing Royal Dutch Shell to shut more than 164,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd).
"The MEND command is seriously considering a temporary ceasefire appeal by Senator Barack Obama. Obama is someone we respect and hold in high esteem," the militant group said in an e-mailed statement.
MEND did not say when or where Obama, the leading candidate for the Democratic ticket for November's U.S. presidential election, made the appeal. It said it hoped the government would use any ceasefire to improve conditions for its detained leader, Henry Okah.
Here's an interesting bit of conjecture (and I'm presuming much in this post.) Never the less:
What foreign policy trails could Senator Obama blaze in Africa by simply being the first President of African descent?
Americans are generally prone to shy away from the merits (or shortcomings) of race in most spheres of discussion. In most cases it's the concept of race rather than the reality of such that's discussed. Concepts are fungible, vague, easily slung forth via insinuation and then later denied. Reality is narrow, a one way street to accountability.
No wonder why the potential of a black president utilizing his ethnicity for American foreign policy inroads in otherwise traditionally near impossible realms (like Sub-Saharan Africa) has, to my knowledge, never been discussed in the mainstream. Nor, of course, has the Obama campaign put forth such a simplistic, politically suicidal (yet not altogether unfathomable) claim of a realistic race based edge in such a case.
We are brow-beaten to consider the aspect of race in only the most vertical essence of thought; a short well beaten path with very clear historical markers to guide us. To even dare a jump sideways off the path, no matter how objective or critical our thoughts, lands us in the fire. And there are plenty standing around it with arms full of kindling and minds full of preconceptions.
And so I'll conform and not even begin to suggest that Barrack Obama, whatever his domestic policies entail, could lend America an otherwise unknown edge in it's African policy by simply being of the ethnic descent that he is. I won't even begin to suggest that MEND's rather serious consideration of Senator Obama's alleged appeal and it's stated respect has something to do with his being a man of African heritage on the precipice of power. Instead I'll borrow the Kos' dutifully antiseptic reasoning of unity and hope...
Respect is a strong word. Especially from militants. Those who are out shooting people every day do not do so lightly, but generally out of true desperation. The United States needs to recognize Barack Obama for who he is: a true unifier, who can command respect and esteem toward furthering peace in warring countries.
...and I'll divest myself of such socially impure thoughts.