Katrina: Proud to be Ugandan Americans
Alicia Keys sings her heart out on the telethon held the evening of 9th September, 2005.

Katrina: Proud to be Ugandan Americans


Americans pour their hearts out to victims. Nothing new here! That is why we are proud to be Ugandan Americans.

By Henry Kiiwa Musoke
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First published: September 10, 2005


Many Ugandans back home in Uganda wonder how we as Ugandan Americans can endure being so far from Uganda. Why do we leave our families many miles away, across the Atlantic to go and work in some foreign land? Why do we stay here as much as we do, even after getting our papers?


Although we will be the first to point the stress and weaknesses of living in the United States, the truth is that many of us, especially those who have legalized their status, love to be Americans just as much as we love to be Ugandans. It is a different sort of love, but a love nonetheless. And it sometimes takes a Katrina or a 911 to remind us how great the United States, with its people, is.

Friday night September 9th 2005, the major broadcasting networks of the United States such as NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX got together with Verizon, with a couple of a dozen call centers around the United States manned by volunteering Verizon employees. They assembled the biggest entertainment stars in the world to perform in a one hour show, narrated by Hollywood's biggest and richest, in a telethon to aid the victims of Katrina. At the same time other cable stations where having their own telethons. Black Entertainment Television’s, which must have been longer than three hours, seemed to have raised the equivalent of a good fraction of Uganda’s GDP.

This was in addition to other telethons that have been going on for days now. NBC held one last Friday, which got press from Kanye West’s unscripted emotional comments about President Bush being a racist. Then there are the radio stations that have been going at it for days now. If you work for a company, chances are that your company is offering you some incentive to donate. My employer is offering a dollar-for-dollar, so that my one hundred dollar contribution becomes two hundred. If you have not given something, for sure you are rotting in guilt.


www.redcross.org

Comedians, singers, actors, business owners and common people from different social and financial backgrounds… There is an example of a couple in Texas opening their home to about 27 displaced people. There is that white doctor driving down to New Orleans in her own SUV loaded with medicine then walking from door to door with supplies paid for by her American Express card. She also brought a gun with her to protect herself although she has found no use for it yet. There are reporters crying as they are reporting, holding on to the pets of victims who are forced to leave them behind. Watching these people put their differences aside and come together in time of need is so amazing. No other nation does this better. And that is why no other nation can be struck so often from so many fronts and still keep rising above and beyond expectation.


www.redcross.org

Friday night was a great television treat for those who were in for the night. On the joint broadcast perhaps the best performance was that of Mariah Carey. Mariah Carey is magic when it comes to inspirational songs and she gives you all she got.


www.redcross.org

A song, “Louisiana”, which I first heard by Aaron Neville last week is sure to be a hit pretty soon:

Louisiana, Louisiana
They’re trying to wash us away, they’re trying to wash us away
…powerful stuff!


www.redcross.org

Another treat early on in the show was U2 joining forces with Mary J. Blige to sing “One.” Love that song!

Too late
Tonight
To drag the past out into the light
We're one, but we're not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other
One...

Then there was Alicia Keys who dedicated her song “to anyone who is suffering and in pain.” She then sang Gospel with the greats in “Remember Me.”


www.redcross.org

Cameron Diaz, Chris Rock, Jennifer Aniston, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Hotel Rwanda’s Don Cheadle, Sheryl Crow, Paul Simons, Rod Stewart, the Dixie Chicks were among the stars on the show that was obviously trying to down play their stardom while utilizing it at the same time. Even Kanye West was present conveniently singing “Jesus Walks”


www.redcross.org

Over at BET, we had John Legend’s taped performance from London, Erika Badu, The Game, Kindred, Steve Harvey and Queen Latifah and many more. We even had Tracy and Kwame from “The Apprentice” taking calls. As much as one felt disgusted to have R Kelly on the show, his song, by itself, was very powerful. R. Kelly is undeniably talented.

One might say that Americans have plenty and it is easy for them to come together with this spirit of giving. But one needs to also understand that it is this coming together that is making them wealthy in the first place. If often does not take much to help a neighbor. If we all did it collectively, it amounts to something big.

We as Ugandans have a lot to learn from this. Ugandan Americans have always done great things when they come together. There are many examples I could use from my living in Boston. We should promote this togetherness here in the United States and to other Ugandans worldwide as well as to Ugandans back home.

Maybe this is too much to ask from Ugandans, but it sure is what makes us proud to be Americans.

By Henry Kiiwa Musoke
more from author >>
First published: September 10, 2005
Henry Kiiwa Musoke is visitor and honored member of UGPulse.com.
He can be contacted at kiiwa@ugatechusa.net.