UBUNTU

Barack Obama was blasted by the Twitterverse for taking a selfie with David Cameron and Helle Thorning-Schmidt at the funeral for Nelson Mandela.

Even Michelle Obama looked annoyed.

Here’s how I want things orchestrated at my funeral: lots of selfies, lots of texting, lots of singing, lots of dancing, lots of beach balls bouncing from mourner to mourner, short speeches bordering on inappropriately short.

And Michelle Obama looking annoyed.

I love this woman so much, however she chooses to look is exactly how I want her to look. Everything is better when Michelle Obama is around. Have you noticed?

In my lifetime, at least in the part of my lifetime which matters, in other words, the years since I discovered the joy of nocturnal emission, I’ve never been so smitten with a First Lady.

TMI?

I get the feeling Nelson Mandela was laughing so hard, at his funeral, tears were raining down from Heaven. Granted, I don’t believe in Heaven. But in the imaginary place where I hold the idea of Heaven, Nelson Mandela was dancing.

In the middle of Barack Obama’s eulogy, he invoked a word from South Africa, a word which means we only achieve who we are by sharing ourselves. The word is “Ubuntu.”

In the middle of Barack Obama’s eulogy, I was taken by the sight of people behind the president, dancing and singing beneath umbrellas, egging-on a sense of joyfulness.

In the middle of Barack Obama’s eulogy, I started laughing.

What an odd step in the cycle of grief. Not sure laughing has ever been a step, not before today. But it’s impossible to feel sadness without feeling giddy at the thought of Madiba.

Apartheid looks like nothing. 27-years in prison looks like nothing. Injustice looks like nothing.

I know it’s the opposite, and I don’t mean to belittle those who are suffering, as these very words are being scribbled, under the soul crushing humiliation of racism, sexism, homophobia, unemployment, underemployment, poverty. But Madiba has a way of making anything seem possible.

He can even make a funeral look like an occasion for selfies, which are just another way of sharing ourselves. If you find it annoying, by all means, be annoyed. Then again: Ubuntu.

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7 Responses to UBUNTU

  1. Claudia says:

    Ubuntu! I like that. I’m sad about his death but he leaves behind a remarkable legacy. What an incredible life he lived.
    I have a similar request for when I leave this world. I want Patron on all the tables and dancing all night long.
    I think Michelle O is annoyed about the blonde flirting with her hubby. Although, Michelle O is an intelligent, and very secure woman she is also not stupid. There is another picture flowing around in where she sits between the blond and Obama.
    Like the saying goes, I trust everyone but I don’t trust the devil in them.
    Ubuntu!

    • Gregor says:

      The blond “flirting” with Michelle’s Hubby happens to be Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the Prime Minister of Denmark.

      Isn’t it possible President Obama and Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt were simply blowing-off steam at an event where the undertone was paying tribute to a man the world will miss.

      The thing which strikes me the most about humor is the need for it precisely at events like this. I remember when my 26-year old cousin died of a drug overdose. Just before I went to the service with my brother, we stopped-off across the street from the funeral parlor to buy sunglasses. I’ll never forget how hard we laughed at the Sunglass Hut, before driving across the street to confront a life cut needlessly short.

      We needed the laughter to off-set the depth of something beyond our ability to grasp. That’s what I think Michelle’s Hubby was up to. I don’t see it as flirting. I see it as two incredibly accomplished world leaders giving each other permission to lighten up.

      Ubuntu.

  2. Vince says:

    I love the idea that the person doing sign language was a phony. That is so funny. How brilliant.

  3. Steven says:

    This is the most animated and I’ve seen Obama since he got elected..I think like alot of marriages you go through times when b\c of resentment that things are just sorta dead. Obama is human and was out of the character of the calm cool collected President he has played for awhile..It was refreshing to see.

    I seriously doubt Obama cared about Mandela like you guys cared about your cousin so i do not think it was a case of blowing off steam..He just got horny his childhood girlfriend was a blond he probably has a things for blondes…

    http://nypost.com/2013/12/12/obamas-flirt-with-danish-prime-minister-is-a-disgrace/

    • Gregor says:

      It looked to me like Barack Obama was flirting with David Cameron. Where’s that story in The NY Post?

    • Brian David Lupton says:

      Really Steven? Flirting? World leaders laughing together is suddenly flirting because they happen to be opposite genders? Or because one happens to be a black man and the other a blond woman and we all know how that goes don’t we?
      I saw the way the internet exploded with everyone’s ‘shock’ and ‘dismay’ that Obama would be so ‘disrespectful’ to Mandela. Most of it by people who you just know would have spit on Mandela or crossed the street to avoid him. Who probably believe he should have died in jail and that apartheid was a good thing. The same people who show no respect for your president because he has the audacity to be ‘black’ while President.
      I think Obama, out of all the world leaders at the celebration of Mandela’s life, cared most about him. Mandela defied the odds. Not only did he survive his unjust imprisonment and see the end of his peoples relegation to third class citizens in their native land, he was elected President of the country that had only years earlier declared him a criminal for his belief that blacks and whites were equal.
      It took South Africa decades to dismantle apartheid and only a few years after doing so to elect its first black president, who was widely respected. Obama comes from a country where ‘equality’ is revered but he is disrespected like NO American President has ever been. Simply because he’s black.
      I remember very well getting in some heated discussions in some internet groups I belonged to while George Bush Jr. was President. I was constantly being attacked because I would refer to him as ‘George’ or ‘Bush’ or most commonly ‘idjut’ and NOT ‘President Bush’. People would call me disrespectful. I would tell them that I refer to my Prime Minister by his first name all the time or call him an asshat.
      But American’s revere the office of President… except when it’s occupied by a black guy apparently. If anyone had even dared to joke about killing Bush people would have been screaming for their heads. But it seems even a meme showing Obama being lynched doesn’t violate FB’s Community Standards… because he’s a black man who dared to run and WIN the Presidency… TWICE. America land of equality… now shut up and learn your place boy.

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