Posts Tagged ‘photos

24
Jul
15

Saturday in Kenya

@PeteSouza: President Obama arrives in Kenya

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All times Eastern

3:25 AM: The President delivers remarks at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, Nairobi, United Nations Compound (10:25 AM local time)

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4:20 AM: Visits the Power Africa Innovation Fair, United Nations Compound (11:20 AM local time)

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5:05 AM: Meets with Embassy personnel and families, U.S. Embassy, Nairobi (12:05 PM local time)

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6:55 AM: Participates in a wreath laying ceremony, Memorial Park, Nairobi (1:55 PM local time)

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7:20 AM: Participates in ceremonial welcome with President Kenyatta, State House, Nairobi (2:20 PM local time)

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7:50 AM: Participates in a bilateral meeting with President Kenyatta, State House (2:50 PM local time)

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9:30 AM: The President and President Kenyatta participate in a joint press conference, State House (4:30 PM local time)

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1:15 PM: The President attends the State Dinner, State House (8:15 PM local time)

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24
Jul
15

Embrace

President Obama and his half sister Auma embrace on his arrival in Kenya

24
Jul
15

Kenya Awaits

1:10 PM EDT: The President is scheduled to arrive in Nairobi, Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

Lots more live Kenyan streaming links here

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‘Welcome Obama’

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A really nice piece on Auma Obama and President Obama’s ancestral village:

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From then Senator Obama’s trip to Kenya in 2006

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This is the Kenya I knew when I spent two years there, from 1992 to 1994, working with the Jesuit Refugee Service. Of course it’s wrong to generalize about a people or a country, and Kenya encompasses men, women and children from a stunning variety of ethnic backgrounds speaking dozens of indigenous languages (most also speak Swahili and English), but perhaps positive generalizations are okay. Nearly to a person, the Kenyan men and women I knew were warm, welcoming, friendly, upbeat, clever, playful, helpful, and, most of all, hopeful. I adored living there, loved working and living among them, and enjoyed learning Swahili (and even a little Maasai)…For Kenyans the visit of President Obama, a man with deep Kenyan roots, is of enormous significance and a cause for celebration.

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Family is of inestimable significance for Kenyans, and nearly everyone knows what tribe you’re from, and the location of your family’s shamba (loosely translated as “farm” but a larger word meaning homeland). It’s especially easy for Kenyans to figure out what ethnic group Barack Obama hails from. He is obviously a Luo, as evidenced by the “O” that begins his last name. Luo names are ones like Odhiambo, Omondi, Okello, Onyango, Otieno. When I living in Kenya, the Jesuit vocation director for East Africa was a florid-faced, white-haired, Irishman named Sean O’Connor who, like me, loved his adopted country. Sean loved to joke with the East Africans when they asked where he was from, that of course he was a Luo. “Can’t you tell from my name?” he would say. “It’s Oconnor, after all.” During the president’s trip to Kenya, I hope that the media covers the following: the way that Kenyans often make do with so little; the way that they are able to live among a welter of cultures and languages; the stunning beauty of their land; their deep pride in their heritage; their great love of country. So with my friends (marafiki) in Kenya, I say to the President, “Karibu Kenya, Rais Obama!”

Continue reading ‘Kenya Awaits’

26
Jun
15

The Eulogy

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President Obama’s Eulogy at the Funeral of Rev Clementa Pinckney

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Giving all praise and honor to God.

(APPLAUSE)

The Bible calls us to hope, to persevere and have faith in things not seen. They were still living by faith when they died, the scripture tells us.

(APPLAUSE)

They did not receive the things promised. They only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.

We are here today to remember a man of God who lived by faith, a man who believed in things not seen, a man who believed there were better days ahead off in the distance, a man of service, who persevered knowing full-well he would not receive all those things he was promised, because he believed his efforts would deliver a better life for those who followed, to Jennifer, his beloved wife, Eliana and Malana, his beautiful, wonderful daughters, to the Mother Emanuel family and the people of Charleston, the people of South Carolina.

I cannot claim to have had the good fortune to know Reverend Pinckney well, but I did have the pleasure of knowing him and meeting him here in South Carolina back when we were both a little bit younger…

(LAUGHTER)

… back when I didn’t have visible gray hair.

(LAUGHTER)

The first thing I noticed was his graciousness, his smile, his reassuring baritone, his deceptive sense of humor, all qualities that helped him wear so effortlessly a heavy burden of expectation.

Friends of his remarked this week that when Clementa Pinckney entered a room, it was like the future arrived, that even from a young age, folks knew he was special, anointed. He was the progeny of a long line of the faithful, a family of preachers who spread God’s words, a family of protesters who so changed to expand voting rights and desegregate the South.

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Clem heard their instruction, and he did not forsake their teaching. He was in the pulpit by 13, pastor by 18, public servant by 23. He did not exhibit any of the cockiness of youth nor youth’s insecurities. Instead, he set an example worthy of his position, wise beyond his years in his speech, in his conduct, in his love, faith and purity.

As a senator, he represented a sprawling swathe of low country, a place that has long been one of the most neglected in America, a place still racked by poverty and inadequate schools, a place where children can still go hungry and the sick can go without treatment — a place that needed somebody like Clem.

(APPLAUSE)

His position in the minority party meant the odds of winning more resources for his constituents were often long. His calls for greater equity were too-often unheeded. The votes he cast were sometimes lonely.

But he never gave up. He stayed true to his convictions. He would not grow discouraged. After a full day at the Capitol, he’d climb into his car and head to the church to draw sustenance from his family, from his ministry, from the community that loved and needed him. There, he would fortify his faith and imagine what might be.

Reverend Pinckney embodied a politics that was neither mean nor small. He conducted himself quietly and kindly and diligently. He encouraged progress not by pushing his ideas alone but by seeking out your ideas, partnering with you to make things happen. He was full of empathy and fellow feeling, able to walk in somebody else’s shoes and see through their eyes.

No wonder one of his Senate colleagues remembered Senator Pinckney as “the most gentle of the 46 of us, the best of the 46 of us.”

Clem was often asked why he chose to be a pastor and a public servant. But the person who asked probably didn’t know the history of AME Church.

(APPLAUSE)

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(Malana Pinckney, daughter of Rev Clementa Pinckney, looks over at the President during the funeral for her father)

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As our brothers and sisters in the AME Church, we don’t make those distinctions. “Our calling,” Clem once said, “is not just within the walls of the congregation but the life and community in which our congregation resides.”

(APPLAUSE)

He embodied the idea that our Christian faith demands deeds and not just words, that the sweet hour of prayer actually lasts the whole week long, that to put our faith in action is more than just individual salvation, it’s about our collective salvation, that to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and house the homeless is not just a call for isolated charity but the imperative of a just society.

What a good man. Sometimes I think that’s the best thing to hope for when you’re eulogized, after all the words and recitations and resumes are read, to just say somebody was a good man.

(APPLAUSE)

You don’t have to be of high distinction to be a good man.

Preacher by 13, pastor by 18, public servant by 23. What a life Clementa Pinckney lived. What an example he set. What a model for his faith.

And then to lose him at 41, slain in his sanctuary with eight wonderful members of his flock, each at different stages in life but bound together by a common commitment to God — Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, DePayne Middleton Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel L. Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Myra Thompson.

Good people. Decent people. God-fearing people.

(APPLAUSE)

People so full of life and so full of kindness, people who ran the race, who persevered, people of great faith.

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To the families of the fallen, the nation shares in your grief. Our pain cuts that much deeper because it happened in a church.

The church is and always has been the center of African American life…

(APPLAUSE)

… a place to call our own in a too-often hostile world, a sanctuary from so many hardships.

Over the course of centuries, black churches served as hush harbors, where slaves could worship in safety, praise houses, where their free descendants could gather and shout “Hallelujah…”

(APPLAUSE)

… rest stops for the weary along the Underground Railroad, bunkers for the foot soldiers of the civil-rights movement.

They have been and continue to community centers, where we organize for jobs and justice, places of scholarship and network, places where children are loved and fed and kept out of harms way and told that they are beautiful and smart and taught that they matter.

(APPLAUSE)

That’s what happens in church. That’s what the black church means — our beating heart, the place where our dignity as a people in inviolate.

There’s no better example of this tradition than Mother Emanuel, a church…

(APPLAUSE)

… a church built by blacks seeking liberty, burned to the ground because its founders sought to end slavery only to rise up again, a phoenix from these ashes.

(APPLAUSE)

When there were laws banning all-black church gatherers, services happened here anyway in defiance of unjust laws. When there was a righteous movement to dismantle Jim Crow, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached from its pulpit, and marches began from its steps.

A sacred place, this church, not just for blacks, not just for Christians but for every American who cares about the steady expansion…

(APPLAUSE)

… of human rights and human dignity in this country, a foundation stone for liberty and justice for all.

That’s what the church meant.

(APPLAUSE)

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 We do not know whether the killer of Reverend Pinckney and eight others knew all of this history, but he surely sensed the meaning of his violent act. It was an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress…

(APPLAUSE)

… an act that he imagined would incite fear and recrimination, violence and suspicion, an act that he presumed would deepen divisions that trace back to our nation’s original sin.

Oh, but God works in mysterious ways.

(APPLAUSE)

God has different ideas.

(APPLAUSE)

He didn’t know he was being used by God.

(APPLAUSE)

Blinded by hatred, the alleged killer would not see the grace surrounding Reverend Pinckney and that Bible study group, the light of love that shown as they opened the church doors and invited a stranger to join in their prayer circle.

The alleged killer could have never anticipated the way the families of the fallen would respond when they saw him in court in the midst of unspeakable grief, with words of forgiveness. He couldn’t imagine that.

(APPLAUSE)

The alleged killer could not imagine how the city of Charleston under the good and wise leadership of Mayor Riley, how the state of South Carolina, how the United States of America would respond not merely with revulsion at his evil acts, but with (inaudible) generosity. And more importantly, with a thoughtful introspection and self-examination that we so rarely see in public life.

Blinded by hatred, he failed to comprehend what Reverend Pinckney so well understood — the power of God’s grace.

(APPLAUSE)

This whole week, I’ve been reflecting on this idea of grace.

(APPLAUSE)

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Continue reading ‘The Eulogy’




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