Monday, September 22, 2008

Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father

433: "I asked her why she shought black Americans were prone to disappointment when they visited Africa. She shook her head and smiled. 'Because they come here looking for the authentic,' she said. 'That is bound to disappoint a person. Look at this meal we are eating. Many people will tell you that the Luo are a fish-eating people. But that was not true for all Luo. Only those who lived by the lake. And even for those Luo, it was not always true. Before they settled around the lake, they were pastoralists, like the Masai. Now, if you and your sister behave yourself and eat a proper share of this food, I will offer you tea. Kenyans are very boastful about the quality of their tea, you notice. But of course we got this habit from the English. Our ancestors did not drink such a thing. Then there's the spices we used to cook this fish. They originally came from India, or Indonesia. So even in this simple mealyou will find it very difficult to be authentic -- although the meal is certainly African.'

Rukia rolled a ball of ugali in her hand and dipped it into her stew. 'You can hardly blame black Americans, of course, for wanting an unblemished past. After the cruelties they've suffered -- still suffer, from what I read in the newspapers. They're not unique in this desire. The European wants the same thing. The Germans, The English ... they all claim Athens and Rome as their own, when, in fact, their ancestors helped destroy classical culture. But that happened so long ago, so their task is easier."

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