Former US President Barack Obama’s high-profile speech since his departure from the ‘White House’, given on the occasion of commemorative celebrations of Nelson Mandela’s 100th year of birth anniversary, in Johannesburg, seems laced with an undertone of his disliking for the present US administration and his comments may be interpreted as thinly veiled criticism of Donald Trump’s policies.
Presenting his views, in front of nearly 15,000 attendees, as a precursor to his larger itinerary in South Africa and Kenya, Barack Obama made his disapproval clear on “strongman politics” and politicians disregard to facts.
Thinly criticising the Trump administration for the use of “alternative facts” Obama opined, “You have to believe in facts, without facts there is no basis of cooperation.” The former President added, “If I say this is a podium and you say this is an elephant, it is going to be hard for us to cooperate.”
Making a reference to Donald Trump’s comments that there was no “climate change happening”, Obama said, “I can’t find common ground if someone says climate change is not happening when almost all the world’s scientists say it is. If you start saying it is an elaborate hoax, where do we start?”
Moreover, in what looked like a definite dig at the present US administration policy on immigration the former US President said, to a round of applause, “Just look at the French football team, not all of those folks looked like Gauls to me, but they are French –they are French.” Obama was referring to the French winning the FIFA World Cup 2018.
Stressing his point further on the fast passed “strongman politics” Obama said that he was apprehensive about the “politics of fear, retrenchment and resentment” were gathering momentum and were “on the move” which was unimaginable even few years ago.
Obama’s speech had, on multiple occasions, traces of barbs thrown cautiously at the Trump administration, wherein the former President cautioned the world including the Americans that the growing tilts towards “racial nationalism” was dangerously on the rise.
The former US President paying his humble tribute to the revolutionary leader Nelson Mandela’s book Long Walk To Freedom, also opined that he was greatly inspired by Nelson Mandela, and termed the life of the leader as being one of the greatest epic stories of the previous century.
Furthermore, Obama’s presentation included strong reference to the history of tolerance which reflected on his comments, “History shows the power of fear, and the struggle for basic justice is never truly finished.” He also added, “We’re going to have to learn from the mistakes of the recent past.”