President Obama Causes Hallucinations

We’ve all read and heard about the fake translator who stood just 6 feet (or was it 3 feet?) away from the president of the United States and other heads of state at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in South Africa the other day.

But just in case some of our readers missed it, let me showcase one sentence in the AP report that I almost missed. “Jantie [Thamsanga Jantie] told the AP that he has schizophrenia, hallucinated and believed he saw angels while gesturing incoherently just 3 feet away from President Barak Obama and other world leaders at the memorial on Tuesday.”

I think most of us got the point that he claims that his mental problem is schizophrenia. I’m certainly not a psychiatrist nor a mental disorder expert; although, from time to time I do believe that “they” are out to get me. As I understood, schizophrenia at one time was defined as a “split personality.” I was never quite sure what that meant, but people who I have known who were schizophrenic were high one day and low the next day. Neither I nor they knew what it was that triggered the change of personality, hence the term “split personality.”

fakehandsHe also said he was hallucinating at the time of his appearance on stage with Obama. I really don’t find that all so surprising. I would bet that if I found myself on stage within 3 feet of Barak Obama, I too would be hallucinating. The last time I remember hallucinating, I was 9 years old and our doctor had prescribed some medicine for me that he probably shouldn’t have subscribed. In the middle of the night, I awakened to the sound of our neighbor’s dog scraping his toe nails on my bedroom window trying to get in. I could also see his shadow against the window. I got out of bed and dumped the medicine down the toilet and flushed it and didn’t tell my parents what I had done for about a week. Everything came out all right and I hadn’t had any hallucinations since then until January 20, 2009.

Jantie also said that he believed he saw angels while gesturing incoherently. I’m not sure that he meant the angels were gesturing incoherently or he was. At any rate, hearing voices speak inside one’s head is a symptom of schizophrenia, according to that authority of all authorities, Wikipedia. I have tried to put myself in Jantie’s place and I do believe that under the same circumstances, I too would hear voices in my head. They would be saying, “I really do not want to be here. I need to take my pickup to iNSTA LUBE and have my oil changed. In fact it’s overdue for a change. It now has 125,250 miles on it. I wanna go home.”

Come to think of it, Jantie might just have felt at home standing next to Barack Obama with his schizophrenia, hallucinations, and visions of angels speaking to him or not speaking to him as the case may be. As they say, “Birds of a feather…”

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

About the author

Harry Livermore

Harry Livermore spent a lifetime teaching English in high schools and junior colleges in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Georgia. He now writes for and is editor of the Valdosta Magazine. Harry and his wife Janice live in Valdosta, GA. They are members of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Valdosta. Harry has two sons, six grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren who live in Georgia, Oklahoma, and Texas.

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