First Person Blog

Voices, video, and photos from Oxfam's fight against poverty

What does history feel like?

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In the past 12 months, as we’ve followed the incredible US presidential campaigns, I have periodically paused to try and “feel” this historical time. I can truly say that November 4, 2008, ranks right up there with other historical moments that I have experienced in my lifetime.  A man on the moon, even before I realized the significance of what we were watching on the neighbor’s tiny black and white TV screen. I cried during Nelson Mandela’s inauguration because I truly never believed we would see an independent South Africa in my lifetime.  The fall of the Berlin Wall. Who, in the worst of the cold war, would have imagined we would freely travel behind the Iron Curtain? An African woman Nobel Prize winner–despite the odds that place the African woman at the top of the disenfranchised and disadvantaged list. And yesterday, the first African-American President of the world’s slightly-shaky only superpower. I cried again, because–like many others–I never thought I would see this in my lifetime. I can now dare hope that this will not be “only in America,” but that we will see the same sort of unity of purpose–to live democractic ideals–in other lands that we care so deeply about. This is what history feels like: like HOPE!

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