Five Do's and Don'ts for Barack Obama
Five writers and thinkers from four corners of the globe came together at Winternachten to provide Barack Obama with their do's and don'ts. After formulating their piece of advice students of the Institute of Social Studies reacted on the comments.
Host Michaël Zeeman was surprised by the cynical and even activistic reaction of the students. Where the writers are eager and hopefull for the change this new president can bring, the students turned out to be very sceptical.
Participants of the debate were writers Nelleke Noordervliet and Naema Tahir, the British-Belgian political philosopher Chantal Mouffe, Turkish writer and psychologist Gündüz Vassaf and development economist Ashwani Saith from India. They each formulated one piece of advice for Obama. Students of the Institute of Social Studies (ISS), hailing from southern countries, were to react to these recommendations. Once decided on, the following do's and dont's were shipped to the White House:
Do's and don't's for Barack Obama Ashwani Saith:
Palestine! Dismantle walls, build justice!
Share a cigar with Fidel!
Disarm! Transfer farm subsidies to African peasants
Think of multilateralism, not neo-imperialism
Confluence, not clash of civilisations
Nurture nature, don't sell it
Protect workers, not tycoons
Social, not 'bastard' Keynesianism
And, oh, yes - keep sharing your toys
Acknowledge that the world is multi-polar and that the US cannot behave any more as the sole legitimate centre of power. Diversity exists. Diversity and identity underpin everything.
Think also as a world citizen.
Be bold, focus on right not re-election. Make peace, not war.
You're a giant tread lightly.
Prioritise without partisanship: Israel/Palestine
Appoint a court-jester who keeps telling you the truth.
Be more a Philosopher-King than a King-Warrior
Be the leader who inspires all to contribute to the good of society by encouraging the belief that good deeds and good behaviour rests in all
Students of the Institute of Social Studies:
Do no harm to foreign countries
Don't be the leader of the world
Don't impose yourself on others
Remember the principles you had in your campaign
Imagine other paradigms
On Friday 1 May 2009 their will be a follow-up of the debate, in cooperation with the ISS, exacly 100 days after his inauguration.