A $640 downpayment

Dholuo and a payment to the IRCT.

Nang’o! Erokamano. Nyasaye ogwedhi.

From the Dholuo:

Hi! Thank you. God bless you.

It seems appropriate. Though I’ve no reason to think the half-Luo, and 100% American, just triumphantly elected President of the USA speaks a word of his ancestral tribal language.

His surviving grandmother Sarah proudly shows off to visiting journalists an autographed poster from Obama’s Illinois state Senate campaign. The message reads:

Mama Sarah: Habari! And Love.

Habari isn’t a Luo word but Swahili for “hello.” The Swahili language is a coastal creole (like English) spread as a lingua franca throughout vast areas of east Africa by slavers, traders, missionaries and colonial officials. Swahili phrasebooks can be picked up at the airport; for Dholuo you’d need a specialised bookshop to advance beyond Googled fragments.

Barack Obama’s election is cause for rejoicing worldwide. I don’t expect to agree with all his future policies and initiatives to restore American “leadership” (a good start would be listening). But he is certain to be a huge improvement over GW Bush, and has the potential for greatness. The scale and manner of the victory his electors have won him will bind the temperamentally centrist President to his liberal promises.

Like other foreigners I couldn’t lawfully contribute money to his campaign, just more or less helpful criticisms and enjoyable turns at Palin- and Bush-bashing. So I’m giving my winnings from my North Carolina flutter (all of $640) to the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims.

There will be many more and bigger payoffs like this.

PS: the North Carolina result hasn’t been declared at the time of posting. But Obama has a clear if narrow lead of 11,000 with all results in except the provisional ballots; and these are likely to be solidly pro-Obama students, blacks, and first-time young voters, the despised riff-raff of his invincible new army.

Grovel update

Turns out I misunderstood the Intrade system so bet and won much less than I’d thought (in contrast to million-dollar-salary Wall Streeters who bet and lost much more than they thought). But promises are promises, the IRCT has been sent the money, and it’s still down to the election.

Author: James Wimberley

James Wimberley (b. 1946, an Englishman raised in the Channel Islands. three adult children) is a former career international bureaucrat with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. His main achievements there were the Lisbon Convention on recognition of qualifications and the Kosovo law on school education. He retired in 2006 to a little white house in Andalucia, His first wife Patricia Morris died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2011. to the former Brazilian TV actress Lu Mendonça. The cat overlords are now three. I suppose I've been invited to join real scholars on the list because my skills, acquired in a decade of technical assistance work in eastern Europe, include being able to ask faux-naïf questions like the exotic Persians and Chinese of eighteenth-century philosophical fiction. So I'm quite comfortable in the role of country-cousin blogger with a European perspective. The other specialised skill I learnt was making toasts with a moral in the course of drunken Caucasian banquets. I'm open to expenses-paid offers to retell Noah the great Armenian and Columbus, the orange, and university reform in Georgia. James Wimberley's occasional publications on the web