Dear President Obama,

From a yellow-like bungalow in Coatesville (Pennsylvania), I write.

It gives me a great honor with so much joy to be alive at this point in history to see the First African-American President of the United States of America. Let me inform you (President Obama) that even if I am to die today, I will have no regret. I will dwell in eternal peace and ecstasies because I believe the greatest of historical scenes occurred during my lifespan.

Few moments ago, I was watching the videos of speeches of great men and women the world has ever known. While watching them, I saw a video which dates as far back as 2004 during the Democratic National Convention in Massachusetts about you; the very first time you addressed the DNC. And I decided to read about you on Google. It was then I realized and got to know that your birthday is every August 4. Therefore, in this letter, I am constrained with a deep sense of conscience to say Happy 55th Birthday. Permit me to also seek your forgiveness, for I have not been able to wish you a Happy Birthday in the past years, having been flagrantly bragging about you being the Greatest President in the annals of Presidents around the world. Indeed, millions of children including myself from every angle of the globe are wishing you peace, progress and long life as you celebrate this day with your family and the great people of the United States of America.

President Obama, I am not an American. I am a Liberian teenager. Like many other children, I am a slum-dweller. I was born, raised and still live in Liberia’s largest slum – West Point, an area viewed as a host basket for the worst things you can and cannot imagine. It is only an opportunity and a privilege from God Almighty that I see myself today on a trip to the great United States attending events to share the untold stories of the world’s children. Since age 9, I chose to be a voice for the voiceless and weak. In fulfillment of this inborn task, I embarked on lifetime journey to be an Advocate for Children’s Rights, particularly girls worldwide. I took this path because I thought and argued and it is still a reality today that children are silent victims of violence and their exposure to vulnerability hinders their future.

Today, President Obama, I need not to keep wishing you Happy Birthday till the day ends. But I am seizing this medium to remind you about the situations of children worldwide. And I do not think you will have an exuberant Birthday celebration without reflecting on the situations of not just American children, but of the world. For the last 7 ½ years, your administration has positively impacted lives, your actions are worth emulating and your policies have shaped our world in some better ways.

President Obama, it is no doubt that your stance to end global terrorism is meant to save the world and secure the future of children. Terrorists are forces of resistance to development that is why they bomb schools, hospitals and homes. They abuse women and girls and force boys to be child soldiers. And I know these are what you have been seeking to put an end to.

As you celebrate today, President Obama, I want you to remember that children are at war with poverty, disease and hunger. Today, girls are raped and boys abused by wicked men. Today, child laborers and child soldiers have increased than ever before. Today, terrorists continue to impede children’s education by destroying schools. Today, malnutrition is at its best. Today, President Obama, research has proven that climate change is projected to exacerbate the top five causes of death for children under five. They are the least responsible for creating climate change but will bear the brunt
of its impacts. Today, children living with HIV and children with disabilities are rejected by their communities. Discrimination is thriving. Today, President Obama, the circle of opportunities for children has been stalled, denying children the right to achieve their full potential.

From the fertile plains of Syria to the high mountains of Afghanistan, peace has lost its meaning. From the highlands of Somalia to the forest belts of South Sudan, conflicts and wars have forced men, women and children to leave their homes and become refugees. Gone are the days when children played and laughed and moved around in an environment free from fear and terror! Gone are the days when schools were safe! Gone are the days when education and health care for children was a right, not a privilege! And gone are the days when ‘the audacity of hope’ was alive!

President Obama, your two terms as President of the world’s greatest nation is soon ending. The world’s political stage will miss you greatly; that I believe. Your quest to create a better world will never go unnoticed. But today, I am sorry to say that children around the world are yet to see a reason for which they will remember you; a reason for which your name cannot be erased from their memories; a reason for which they will explain your story to their own children and a reason for which they can hope. Today, I am challenging you (President Obama) to directly affect and impact the lives of children around the world by initiating a program (just as you initiated the Young African Leaders Initiative) to transform children’s lives worldwide! If this is done, even when you are gone, your name will be inscribed on the stones of history for helping to realize the dreams of children globally.

President Barack Obama, just as smiles cannot leave the faces of your two beautiful daughters (Malia and Sasha), please help keep a smile on the face of a poor child somewhere in this world!

With profound respect to your Office, I respectfully conclude.

By Abraham M. Keita VI ([email protected])


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