Savagely Stolen News: U.S. Again Hailed as “Country of Dreams”

U.S. Again Hailed as ‘Country of Dreams’
Around the World, Obama’s Victory Is Seen as a Renewal of American Ideals and Aspirations

By Kevin Sullivan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, November 6, 2008; A26

 

LONDON, Nov. 5 — Through tears and whoops of joy, in celebrations that spilled onto the streets, people around the globe called Barack Obama‘s election Tuesday a victory for the world and a renewal of America’s ability to inspire.

From Paris to New Delhi to the beaches of Brazil, revelers said that his victory made them feel more connected to America and that America seemed suddenly more connected to the rest of the world.

“As a black British woman, I can’t believe that America has voted in a black president,” said Jackie Humphries, 49, a librarian who was among 1,500 people partying at the U.S. Embassy in London on Tuesday night.

“It makes me feel like there is a future that includes all of us,” she said, wrapping her arm around a life-size cardboard likeness of the new U.S. president-elect.

“Americans overcame the racial divide and elected Obama because they wanted the real thing: a candidate who spoke from the bottom of his heart,” said Terumi Hino, a photographer and painter in Tokyo. “I think this means the United States can go back to being admired as the country of dreams.”

Kenya, where Obama’s father was raised as a goatherd, declared Thursday a national holiday, and in Obama’s ancestral village of Kogelo, people danced in the streets wrapped in the American flag.

In South Africa, Nelson Mandela, the civil rights icon who helped bring down his country’s apartheid regime, released a letter to Obama in which he said, “Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place.”

Desmond Tutu, another iconic anti-apartheid leader and the retired Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, said Obama’s victory tells “people of color that for them, the sky is the limit.”

“We have a new spring in our walk and our shoulders are straighter,” Tutu said, echoing a sentiment heard across Africa.

The world sees Obama as more than a racial standard-bearer, of course. Many people praised his policies on matters ranging from Iraq to health care, which they appeared to know in remarkable detail.

Others expressed concerns. In China, some people worried about Obama’s positions on the delicate issues of Tibet and Taiwan. Some Indians and Egyptians said they had questions about his views on Pakistan and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Many people, in dozens of interviews around the world Tuesday night and Wednesday, also said they understood that no new president could immediately change the United States or the world. But many said Obama’s election was a powerful signal that the United States intended to change direction.

“For the first time I feel the phrase ‘I hereby declare that all men are created equal,’ from the U.S. Declaration of Independence, really came to life for me today,” said architect Mamdouh al-Sobaihi, a guest at a post-election reception Wednesday in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. “U.S. history has returned to its roots. The forefathers would be very pleased with today’s election,” he said.

“Today the United States said not ‘We want change’ but ‘We have changed,’ ” he added.

Saudi journalist Samir Saadi said Obama’s election means “the U.S. has won the war on terror.”

“Given Obama’s name, his background, the doubts about his religion, Americans still voted for him, and this proved that America is a democracy,” he said. “People here are starting to believe in the U.S. again.”

For many, the youthful Democratic senator’s election came with an almost visceral sense of relief at the impending end of the Bush administration. A recent BBC poll found that people in all 22 nations surveyed preferred Obama by a wide margin to Republican John McCain, who was widely identified with President Bush.

In Russia, Ilya Utekhin, an anthropologist at the European University in St. Petersburg, said Obama’s election has given the United States “a historic chance for large-scale re-branding of the image of the United States.”

“An African American president appears to have more sensitivity to the cross-cultural diversity of the world, and this is a promise of a more creative and flexible foreign policy,” he said.

Viktor Erofeyev, a prominent Russian novelist, said he believed the election signaled a new era.

“The choice of an African American president in the United States overturns the whole idea of the stiff and conservative America,” Erofeyev said. “This means that America did wake up. This means that America is again open for free and democratic values. America has once again become a good model to emulate. It has again become a great country.”

“It is almost impossible to overstate the impact of this vote on the rest of the world,” said Joichi Ito, a globe-trotting Internet entrepreneur and blogger who is based in Tokyo.

“The United States looked closed, stupid, xenophobic and aggressive” under Bush, Ito said. “By electing Obama, it looks open, diversity-embracing, humble and intelligent.”

But the overwhelming reaction among those interviewed had nothing to do with Obama’s policies. It was delight that America had produced, on a grand, global scale, inspiring and overdue proof that the American dream was still alive.

In Brazil, many people likened Obama to Brazil’s popular president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a former shoe shiner and union leader.

“Obama is something new, something different,” said Elizabeth Soares, a lawyer from Rio de Janeiro. “The way Obama expresses himself, his charisma, the way he speaks, reminds people of a Brazilian and makes them like him more.”

The United States “is a country which has habitually, sometimes irritatingly, regarded itself as young and vibrant, the envy of the world,” veteran BBC foreign correspondent John Simpson wrote on the network’s Web site. “Often this is merely hype. But there are times when it is entirely true. With Barack Obama’s victory, one of these moments has arrived.”

David Lammy, a black member of Britain’s Parliament who has known Obama for several years, said that “America is a country that has been marked by race.”

“Now black and white can raise their shoulders high and can turn a page on issues of inequality,” he said, marveling at the “amazing image” of a black family living in the White House.

Newspaper headlines in Britain portrayed Obama’s election in soaring language. “One Giant Leap for Mankind,” said the Sun newspaper in London, which dumped its usual topless Page 3 girl in favor of a photo of Obama voting. The Times of London, which devoted its entire front page to a photo of a smiling Obama in front of an American flag, proclaimed: “The New World.”

In Germany, Benjamin Becker, 25, who studies English and history in Cologne, flew to Berlin for a party celebrating Obama’s victory, an achievement he said would brighten global perceptions of the United States.

Becker, who spent a year in Atlanta on a Fulbright scholarship, said he had been “saddened” by America’s diminished standing in the world in recent years. “I remember 10 years ago, when the United States was my absolute dreamland,” he said. “Now I still am partial to the U.S., but the Bush years were detrimental for the country. I hope it will be much different now.”

In Ukraine, where Obama will have to respond to the growing assertiveness of Russia, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko called Obama’s victory “an inspiration for us. That which appeared impossible has become possible.”

In India, political representatives of the country’s lowest caste, known as Dalits or “untouchables,” said they viewed Obama’s victory as an example in their own struggle for equal rights.

“This is America’s second revolution, and Obama’s victory will boost the esteem of the underprivileged social classes and ethnic groups the world over,” said Chandra Bhan Prasad, a prominent Dalit author. “India’s rigid caste society will come under terrific moral pressure to integrate Dalits even more.”

In Iran, strained relations with the United States colored many people’s perceptions of Obama’s win.

“If America can do away with its prejudice, maybe they will also stop thinking that all Iranians are terrorists,” said Elam Moghaddam, a homemaker shopping for shrimp in Tehran. “I hope that Iran and the United States will make diplomatic relations, now that Obama became president.”

Mohammad Ali Abtahi, a former Iranian vice president and opponent of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said he feared that Obama would be under “lots of pressure” to take a hard line against the Islamic world because of his Muslim roots.

“I hope he won’t feel compelled to put more pressure on the Islamic world to compensate the fact that his middle name is Hussein,” he said. “I congratulate the American people with this choice.”

Praise for the election of an African American also came from an unusual source: Abbas Abdi, one of the organizers of the 1979 hostage-taking of American diplomats at the U.S. Embassy.

“It is hard to imagine that blacks 50 years ago in some states had to sit in the back seats in public transportation,” Abdi said. “Now one of them, a member from a minority, is president.”

Many people in China appeared baffled by the idea of a black president, displaying little knowledge of American blacks beyond the official state media’s emphasis on stories about U.S. discrimination.

“Most Chinese don’t have any contact with black people in their daily life,” said Yuan Yue, founder of Horizon Research, which found in a recent poll that among Chinese respondents with a preference, Obama led McCain by almost 18 percentage points.

“Many Chinese have good feelings about the U.S. democratic system,” he said. “And this result gives Chinese a more direct understanding about American democracy. It sends the message that everyone has a chance. If you raise the right issues, even if you are black, you can win. This is the most attractive part of American democracy.”

Still, for some in China, the Obama glass remained only half-full. “Obama is half-white, half-black, so the progress in the U.S. is not that big,” said Hu Jing, 25, a paralegal. “It will take dozens of years to elect a person who is 100 percent black.”

Correspondents Edward Cody in Paris, Thomas Erdbrink in Tehran, Maureen Fan in Beijing, Blaine Harden in Tokyo, Mary Jordan in London, Philip P. Pan in Moscow, Joshua Partlow in Rio de Janeiro, Faiza Saleh Ambah in Jiddah, Mary Beth Sheridan in Baghdad and Emily Wax in New Delhi; special correspondents Karla Adam in London, Sherine el-Bayoumi in Cairo, Shannon Smiley in Berlin and Akiko Yamamoto in Tokyo; and researcher Zhang Jie in Beijing contributed to this report.

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27 Comments

Filed under Politics

27 responses to “Savagely Stolen News: U.S. Again Hailed as “Country of Dreams”

  1. jasminefrompakistan

    Is Obama planning to cover his ass during a retreat from Iraq by bombing Pakistan?
    Love to hear your opinions on that.

    http://jasminefrompakistan.wordpress.com/

  2. vivalasryan

    This is just my opinion, and Tom may disagree, so he may chime in here.

    Obama has made it perfectly clear that the “target” on any “War on Terror” is Osama Bin Laden. Intelligence shows that Bin Laden may be hiding out in Pakistan. Put one and one together.

    Am I advocating it? No. I would hope that Pakistan would value world peace enough to partner with the U.S. to help us capture Bin Laden and bring him to justice. If Pakistan fails, then we must continue diplomatic efforts; invading Pakistan would be just as offensive as Bush invading Iraq.

    That’s my thoughts. I do feel that Obama, with the best interest of national and world safety in the forefront of his mind, will also respect the sanctity of a sovereign nation.

    –Ryan

  3. jasminefrompakistan

    hi ryan, i put one and one together and so far it adds up to
    17 missile strikes
    168 Pakistani civilians killed
    700 more killed in retalitory terror strikes by Tehrek
    and er zero when it comes to Bin Laden .

  4. vivalasryan

    That may be the case under Bush, and frankly, I don’t know. I admit my undereducation in this subject. However, you asked what I thought Obama might do, and I told you.

    Is your gripe against America as a whole? Or Obama? Or the Bush reich? Because that’s the whole point, is that now that the Reich is headed out of office, we will be slowly working to turn this nation around again.

  5. jasminefrompakistan

    why do u think i am anti american? Because i am Pakistani and u expect me to be with Jamiaat Islami, in me niqab and shouting in the street?

  6. vivalasryan

    Wow, jumping the gun? I’m trying to understand where your contention is. Who it’s directed to. If there’s no communication, there’s no understanding. We’ve been through 8 years of “no communication.”

    Of course, if you just want to jump to conclusions, then I really see no further progress this conversation can make.

  7. Tom

    Ryan commented on what Obama might do and you responded with what Bush is doing. Your answer seems to indicate that you believe Obama will follow the Bush lead with regards to your country. Ryan (and now I) are simply asking you to clarify your question.

    Cheers,

    Tom

  8. jasminefrompakistan

    actually, McCain was against incursions into Pakistan, while this Obama was all for it. He made a point of that during the election. Bush worked hard to respect our soverinty to some extent. He certainly never made a point of publicaly stating he would send soldiers and missiles against us- though this has happened. It happened, but it was on the basis of actionable intelligence. Obama is talking about a huge strategic shift in the focus on the war on terror, away from Iraq and towards Afghanistan, quite possible, into Pakistan.
    This is not acceptable and u are warned not to do it. He may be black, but we shoot back. We can not be seen to allowing Americans to march into Pakistan.

  9. vivalasryan

    That’s because Bush was pursuing his own vengeful agenda for the acquisition of oil. McCain, in lockstep, wanted to continue the war in Iraq for “a thousand years.”

    Obama wants to get in, get the job done, and get out. That’s it. And Obama plans on using diplomatic tactics to secure the assistance of the Pakistani government.

    And your threats could very well be turned into Homeland Security, if you wish.

  10. jasminefrompakistan

    oh PLEASE call homeland security, please, i would just love to see u lose ure green card.
    U are hilarious. or is that pathetic?
    And shouldn’t u be down the Subway making ure sandwiches where Biden thinks u ought to be.
    Go back to Mumbai, babu.

  11. History was made indeed – and it is wonderful to see hope in people’s eyes again…

  12. jasminefrompakistan

    Yes, i do wish it. I really do. Ure just a fat pig aren’t you?

  13. Bush has sent several unmanned drones into Pakistan and the total of civilians killed under his watch has been over 150 people.

    Barack Obama has only said that he would send military into Pakistan on what you call “actionable intelligence” RE: to get Osama Bin Laden. If anything, the Obama Presidency will see the number of Pakistani civilians killed go down or even disappear.

    Your “warning” or not, the USA is going to taper down the totally unjust war in Iraq and seek to kill or capture those who aided in the 9/11 terrorist attack. This includes Taliban forces that are hiding like the cowards they are along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    If it takes a missile from drone being fired into Pakistan to kill Osama Bin Laden then I am all for it. There is no discussion to be made on this point. I will not be moved. And I would believe firmly that a very wide majority of Americans feel the same way.

    Cheers,

    Tom

  14. jasminefrompakistan

    where’s babu? Buttering up a sanwhich while blubbering into the phone,
    “She is paghaal boss, no good Pakistani girl, she’s ketechera boss. She told Pakistani army will shoot brave gora soldiers if they go to Pakistan. You got to get her boss and do all ure bad stuff to make her stop it.”
    What a fucking sicko.

  15. Ryan,

    I told you “she” was probably just a neo-con using a fake ID because he/she is too chicken shit to stand up and use her/his actual name to spread this bullshit. People like this are cowards. While you and I say what we believe without masks, people like this hide like vermin and do not have the courage to stand up for what they believe.

    Cheers,

    Tom

  16. VivaLasRyan

    I don’t even understand half of what it’s babbling about.

    This is why I wish it were a talk show. Blogs don’t have a dump button.

  17. jasminefrompakistan

    er i can carry this conversation on in Urdu or Arabi, as u like.
    Now please, call Homeland Security, i just got to see that.
    The vermin are the kind of people who (ahem- comically) threaten others with the security service. Well go ahead. Let’s say fat boy lose his green card cos he that’s an American? Really?
    Sounds like your typical Indian to me. Air India will take him back to andheri, borivali, mahim junction or any other slum sector of Mumbai he cares to choose.
    but u sound like a nice guy Tom, how come u are mixed up with this desi mysogonyst chump?

  18. jasminefrompakistan

    bhai, ne ma’luum babu ji? Funny. Tehe.

  19. jasminefrompakistan

    Tom, seriously, cos i think u got something to say actually, u want to chat and stuff, cos how come u kno about the casualty figures anyhow, it’s 167 to be exact, but yes, u know, that’s good.
    those persons was little kids even- i blame bush, Obama hurt no one, no one ever, so i am not actually blameing him for nothing.
    i am trying to tell u- don’t come into Pakistan as a means to cover ure exit from Iraq. and i am telling that in very concrete terms.
    u got information, so if u want to talk properly, ure welcome to, it’s like that, but threats of calling the FBI, ISI or whoever, i mean, pathetic, and i am sure u agree, cos i think ure a decent enough guy, i really do. i am a Communist actually, so call them, let’s face it, i probably WOULD get slammed pretty hard.

  20. VivaLasRyan

    I just read your blog.

    There was one entry from August, and the rest were from today. And they all targeted Obama. And anything anti-Pakistani. Somehow you seem to have tied the two together, and seem dead set to marry the two concepts as loudly and as illogically as possible.

    No where does Obama claim to threaten the sovereignity of Pakistan. He wants to work with them. How can you uphold Joe Biden and trash Barack Obama? Any damage that you’ve seen done to your country has been under the Bush Reich.

    I just don’t get your babbling and hatred.

  21. jasminefrompakistan

    Are u going to talk normal with me and stuff?
    No more threats?
    ok then…….
    i don’t hate obama at all, i supported him once Hilary got knocked out, but she was me preference. in fact, the whole feminist blogosphere fragmented- we was with Hilary, the others with Obama. It fragmented again over Palin.
    So the dislike a lot of people have of Obama rose out of the squabbles, just being honest, and us Pakistani girls- there’s a group of us (i’m not us based, i’m in the Gulf by the way), we never like really accepted him, this is cos of religion, patriarchy, stuff like that.
    Anyhow, back in 2007 he started saying he would come into Pakistan. Every comment is reported in Dawn, Daily Jang, on PTV- it’s all over the place, he’s not trusted in Pakistan at all. Just yesterday, PM Gilani told, just like i wrote, if Obama comes into Pakistan- ‘we shoot back,’ i am quoting our prime minister, orders also was given from ISB to do that also. It’s our national policy to defend our territory. So this issue with Obama, it’s quite serious, but again, maybe he will be ok. But in Pakistan, it’s not a very happy time. it’s a worrying time, we just had a earthquake, we had summer floods, we got terrible economic pressures from IMF threats, we got daily terror attacks of Islamists also, so many people are dying.
    And any more pressure, we don’t need it, Pakistan is at breaking point. this is what i am telling u.

  22. jasminefrompakistan

    Biden? sorry, no, i don’t like, it was him and Chuck Hagel who ousted General Musharaf (our president who was legally elected for 5 years).
    So that’s democracy? We need General Musharaf back. Biden was part of the reason he had to leave, i think u know that side also maybe.

  23. Sara

    Thank you, America! Because of educated U.S. voters, Barack Obama is the symbol for change all around the world. I agree that change is inevitable and necessary. In order to truly evolve into a more politically effective country, we must first address our list of political priorities. Of course the only way to do so is to have a strong vision in mind. Obama’s vision, planted deep within his mind, began to take root almost 2 years ago today. The power of his vision can teach every American citizen about how to accomplish goals using the powers of visualization and intention.

    I looked into this vision questing further and found that many super-successful people have been using vision boards to help focus their mind and accomplish their dreams. A vision board is a collage of images pasted on a board that represent your desired outcomes, your goals, and dreams. By studying your vision board, your brain gains clarity on what is important to your success, the things you MUST accomplish. I found a site http://www.TheVisionBoardKit.com that allows you to download a free 8-step power plan to creating vision boards. I’d highly recommend downloading it.

  24. Actually, General Pervez Musharraf RESIGNED on August 18th.

    Musharraf led a coup d’etat on 1999 to seize power! When many citizens filed lawsuits challenging Musharraf’s illegitimate power, he forced all judges to agree to the “Oath of Judges Order 2000”. It required the judges to take an oath of office swearing allegiance to military rule. They also had to agree that they would make no decisions against the military. Many judges refused and resigned in protest.

    He then held a referendum in April 2002 to extend his term to five years after the October elections. However, the referendum was boycotted by the majority of Pakistani political groupings, which later complained that the vote was heavily rigged, and voter turnout was 30 percent or below by most estimates.

    In 2004 Musharraf actually passed a law RETROACTIVELY making his coup legal. Well, I guess when you are a de-facto dictator you can do such things.

    Also, you forget to mention that after Musharraf quit, Asif Ali Zardari was ELECTED on September 6th.

    Finally, it was the the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League that led the charge to impeach the General- not Joe Biden.

    Joe Biden authored the Violence Against Women Act- which as a self professed feminist you should know about, or learn about right now.

    Cheers,

    Tom

  25. jasminefrompakistan

    resigned…… under immense pressure, led by America. u talk about the coup in 1999 against Nawaz sharif, u know why it happened? One reason was Sharif’s abuse of power, the second was his inability to govern, third was it was the will of our people. It happened also cos our general was prevented from returning home. Our army is very often the means of expression of the Pakistani people. But no, u prefer to heave the mullahs into power using ‘democracy’ as a tool to achieve it.
    General Musharaf is loved, he only got into bad situation politically cos he supported u. U really think anyone else would have assisted with the war on terror like he done? Benazir? It’s a joke, PPP- is a joke. The whole thing was a coup, Musharaf took strong action in NWFP against terrorists, he purged ISI, he locked up AQ Khan, and zillions of Pakistani persons got behind progressive forces like the Q league and MQM.
    And what did u do? U send journalists and all that side to undermine him! Then u come to Pakistan and preach democracy- to us, in our own country, like we’re kids or something. That’s the context of his resignation, for months, all we heard was ‘time to go.’ What he should have done is stay on, cos he is from me own ethnic group actually, he’s loved very much, and he could have stayed easily if he had chose.
    Now look what u got. Ha, it’s comical if not so tragic. Zardari- ex con, years in jail for graft, no one respects, and we got Nawaz Sharif working with JI to undermine PPP at every angle. Meanwhile, Tehrek is doing suicide bombs every day and America is firing in missiles.
    It’s chaos, total chaos and this is why, most Pakistanis are telling now that we don’t want assist America no more, we had enough. by the way, on the election, think about this, women, ahmadis, muhajirs- all was intimidated by PPP activists in lower sindh especially. Election was a farce and when we look at America telling all ure nice stuff about democracy- all we see as Pakistanis is chaos, terror, economic pressures and a corrupt and lousy government. And cos of this, people are turning to Al Islam. It’s tragic. I think countries is now wake up, like Russia, China, everyone knows now that democracy is a kind of game to overthrow strong and independent leaders like General Musharaf. Biden was right in a key area- he ADMITS democracy like this is no good, this is why he was against elections in Palestine. He can follow the same logic in Pakistan. What’s democracy without stability- it’s a joke. As for women, it’s never been more unsafe than now. So?
    and before u are telling i am a bad person and stuff, i am half Sunni- half Ahmadi and Muhajir also, i HATE hudood, i against the sharia, i want real change, this can only come from the people of Pakistan- not from outside. Bush administration has been a disaster for Pakistan. Is this going to be better or no?

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