05 November 2008 ~ 0 Comments

What the world says about Obama

Nov. 6 (Bloomberg) — Here is a sampling of the world’s reaction to Barack Obama’s victory in the U.S. presidential election.

“Forty-five years ago, Martin Luther King dreamed of an America where men and women will be judged not on the color of their skin but on the content of their character,” Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told reporters in the southern island state of Tasmania. “What America has done is turn that dream into a reality.”

French President Nicolas Sarkozy congratulated Obama in a letter released to the public, saying the outcome “resonates well beyond your borders.”

“Your stunning victory rewards a tireless commitment to serving the American people,” Sarkozy wrote. “It is also the crowning achievement of an exceptional campaign whose brilliance and high tone demonstrated the vitality of American democracy to the entire world, while keeping them spellbound.”

“A new broom sweeps clean,” said Wu Ruiling, 69, a retired teacher in Shanghai. “The new president may introduce concrete measures to fix the financial crisis. Once things improve in the U.S., the world improves and China improves.”

“For Obama to overcome what people consider to be synonymous with America — race — it’s unimaginable,” said Eric Shepherd, a professor at City University in London. “It’s given the world a lot more faith in America. America has become a place that does deliver on its promises. People can achieve anything.”

“So often crudely caricatured by others, the American people yesterday stood in the eye of history and made an emphatic choice for change for themselves and the world,” the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper said. “Savor those words: President Barack Obama, America’s hope and, in no small way, ours too.”

“The new president has transcended tensions to achieve the essential: balancing black resentment and white anxieties, and uniting them in a single design for justice,” the French newspaper Le Monde said. “After having elected George W. Bush twice, in an incredible turn of boldness and faith in its own resources, America has put an end to its conservative revolution made from deregulation and the wild law of the market which resulted in the sub-prime crisis and the collapse of the financial system.”

“President-elect Obama was inspirational, and I’m certain he will continue to be,” U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters in Washington. “One of the great things about representing this country is it continues to surprise, it continues to renew itself. It continues to beat all odds and expectations.”

“I have the honor and pleasure to congratulate you wholeheartedly on the impressive win you have had,” Iraqi President Jalal Talabani wrote in a letter released to reporters. “We look forward to the relations between our two countries under your mandate, and further consolidation and development in all fields.”

Pope Benedict XVI, the leader of more than 1 billion Catholics around the world, hopes Obama “can respond to the expectations and the hopes of those that look to him,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told reporters in Rome. He said Benedict also wants the new American president to “favor human growth and dignity with respect to essential human and spiritual values.”

“While this is without a doubt a moment of great happiness, at the same time we should remember those men and women that made the greatest sacrifice, their lives, in the fight for an equal society,” Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said in a letter to Obama. “I’m sure many veterans of those days have been reflecting on the words of Reverend King: `I have a dream that my four small children will someday live in a country where they aren’t judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their characters.’ This day has arrived.”

“I thank God for having lived to see that we have a U.S. president of color,” said Yehude Simon, Peru’s prime minister. “Peru wins with the change; it’s a change that we all expected. God help us he won’t fail us, that all his proposals during the campaign can be real.”

“The historic election of an Afro-descendant to the head of the most powerful country in the world is a sign that the change that’s been carried out in South America may be reaching the doorstep of the U.S.,” the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said in an e-mailed statement. “The hour has arrived to establish new relations among our countries and with our region.”

“The profoundly symbolic value of Obama’s victory escapes no one,” Jean Leonard Touadi, the first black man to be elected to the Italian parliament, said in an interview in Rome. “Martin Luther King’s dream has been realized by Barack Obama.”

“We hope Obama can restore America to become a great nation again,” said Yustina Amirah, principal of Asisi Elementary School in Jakarta, where Obama studied for a couple of years as a child. “Obama’s election may motivate children here to see that dreams can be reached. We hope that our children have dreams as high as Obama’s.”

Mohammed Abdo, a 32-year-old restaurant employee in the Gaza Strip, said the election result won’t make any difference where he lives. “The only difference between the two American candidates was their color,” he said. “U.S. policy will remain biased in favor of Israel.”

“This is beautiful,” said Ijaz Shahid, who was leading a demonstration of landless peasants protesting the seizure of their farms by local landlords at barbed-wire barricades outside Pakistan’s presidential offices in Islamabad.

“A true democracy has elected a person from the oppressed people of that country,” said Shahid, a retired army major.

“Obama winning the election shows just how much the U.S. has changed,” said South Korean Kim Sang Hyuck, 32, watching the results on his mobile phone in downtown Seoul. “When I was studying there in Philadelphia nearly 10 years ago, there were still pockets of racism. I never thought then that the U.S. would choose an African-American president.”

“A new face offers Europe a new chance to remarry America,” said Wolfgang Ischinger, 62, a former German ambassador to the U.S. “That’s the good news. The bad news is that this outburst of Obama-mania does create expectations which no president can possibly fulfill. Sooner or later there will be some disappointment on the way.”