If there was a speech of the year award to be given, we believe Obama’s speech at Mandela’s memorial would be the winning nominee. Retracing Madiba’s struggle through his 27-year-long prison term and his continuous work toward the betterment of South Africa and the importance of his ideals, Obama’s 20 minutes made him a crowd favorite.
Illustrating his speech with quotes from Mandela, Obama did a really good job in getting all of Madiba’s ideas across. He spoke about what Mandela was as a personality and how he earned his place in history, and he asked leaders across the world to not just respect and admire Mandela, but follow him and his principles.
It took a man like Madiba to free not just the prisoner, but the jailor as well.
Obama’s speech was nothing short of inspirational, and his monologue toward the end sealed the deal by representing all of Mandela’s values as well as his own.
It is a question I ask myself - as a man and as a President. We know that like South Africa, the United States had to overcome centuries of racial subjugation. As was true here, it took the sacrifice of countless people - known and unknown - to see the dawn of a new day. Michelle and I are the beneficiaries of that struggle. But in America and South Africa, and countries around the globe, we cannot allow our progress to cloud the fact that our work is not done. The struggles that follow the victory of formal equality and universal franchise may not be as filled with drama and moral clarity as those that came before, but they are no less important. For around the world today, we still see children suffering from hunger, and disease; run-down schools, and few prospects for the future. Around the world today, men and women are still imprisoned for their political beliefs; and are still persecuted for what they look like, or how they worship, or who they love.
On a day that included Obama shaking Raul Castro’s hand and a fantastic speech, unfortunately (or fortunately) Mandela’s memorial may be remembered more for Obama’s selfie with David Cameron and Helle Thorning-Schmidt. Below is the sequence of events that transpired.
P.S. Michelle Obama did not seem happy. Barack’s in trouble.
The Metro news put it best:
“You’ll be sleeping by yourselfie, Obama.”