Barack Obama has done what very few Americans have done before. No, not run for president. Get respect from the French.
An art gallery in Paris is running a show that demonstrates just how much street cred the the Democratic candidate has with Europeans. Dorothy’s Gallery, in the Bastille District of Paris (Rue Keller) will be running the show until November 17th. Most of the works on display are by French artists; and most, if not all, cast the Illinois Senator in a positive light. There are sculptures, photographs, sketches, caricatures and photo collages.
I doubt many red-staters are going to put the Dorothy Gallery on their itinerary. I’m sure very few undecided voters are going to be swayed by a visit. And French people aren’t going to head to the polls a week from Tuesday. So the Obama exhibit is more about the way French culture celebrates celebrities and statesmen than it is about politics. No word yet on whether Jerry Lewis will lose his status as top American if Obama pulls out a victory in the elections.
While their neighbors to the south fret over their own upcoming trips to the polls, Canada got on with it and elected, or in many cases re-elected, its parliamentary leaders earlier this week. The results: the Conservative Party led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper won 16 more seats while their Liberal peers dropped 18 seats. However, the results are not enough to give Harper’s party control of parliament. That means that they will have to form a minority parliament, relying on alliances with other, smaller parties to get things done.
Some of the other parliamentary players include the New Democratic Party (NDP), which earned 37 seats, and Bloc Québécois (BC), which now has 50 seats. The BC is a unique party because it seeks the Independence and sovereignty of Quebec Province and is not concerned very much with the rest of Canada. They gained two more seats in this election than they held beforehand. In the end, though, it seems that the elections did not alter the balance of power too much.
One of my college classmates, Alexandra, is spending her winter vacation in Kenya right now. That’s a pretty unlucky place to be at this moment, as tensions and violence has flared up after their post-Christmas presidential election. But my classmate happens to be a writer, so I guess you could say it’s the perfect place to be.
What has been surprising about Kenya’s turmoil is that it happened in Kenya. No one would bat an eye if this had happened in Somalia or Sudan. But until now, Kenya had a stellar reputation as a stalwart pillar of African stability. They have a booming tourism industry and a steady flow of Western investment.
But will the tourists and investors return once the dust settles in Kenya? For some answers and insight, check out Alexandra’s dispatches in Newsweek and Slate.