From India to Cuba, what the world hopes for from Obama
Issued on: Modified:
Whether it's the end of an embargo or fairer distribution of wealth, most of our Observers, from Havana to Ramallah, are hoping for something from Barack Obama. Read more…
Pushkar in Rajasthan, India. Photo posted by Aricwithana
Whether it's the end of an embargo or fairer distribution of wealth, most of our Observers, from Havana to Tehran, are hoping for something from Barack Obama.
CUBA: "They've talked more about Obama's election than Raul Castro's"
Yoani Sanchez is a blogger from Cuba.
"The Cuban people are paying a huge amount of attention to this. They've talked more about Obama's election than Raul Castro's - there was of course more suspense - they're expecting real change. For example, that Cubans in the US will be able to travel to Cuba more often (at the moment, it's only every three years), and be able to send money more easily (Cuban expats in the States can only send money to their next of kin in Cuba - their mother or father for example). Personally, I'm dubious about what Obama will be able to do. Certainly, his victory has symbolic consequences. It will be more difficult for the Cuban powers to make trouble with a black president who's willing to open talks. But I'm scared that what the Cubans hope for is more than Obama can actually do."
WEST BANK: "He positioned himself against the transfer of Jerusalem to the Palestinians"
Ghassan Abdullah is a computer specialist from Ramallah.
"I think the majority of Palestinians prefer Obama to McCain. They identify with him because of his roots, the colour of his skin and his name. Personally I don't that the election will change much. I remember his speech in front of AIPAC [pro-Israeli lobby in the US] last May. He declared unfailing support for Israel. And he positioned himself against the transfer of Jerusalem to the Palestinians. Anyway, there'll always be lobbies, oil giants and other companies dictating what goes on in the region, not the president. A solution will come from the Israelis and Palestinians."
ISRAEL: "We need the next president of Israel to (...) be able to stand up to him"
Ariel Woolf is a teacher in a Talmudic school in Effrat, near Jerusalem.
"Obama's election was a shock to us. We didn't think that the US was ready for a man of a darker skin tone. Personally I feel that he says a lot but I don't know what he's actually going to do. He has some friends who are open enemies to the State of Israel and I feel uncertain as to how strongly he'll be able to stand up to the enemies of the West. We need the next president of Israel to (...) be able to stand up to him if he contradicts. The weight that the US presses down on Israel is quite a weight. And I will worry if the new government is going to start pushing Israel on giving up more and receiving less."
ELATION IN JERUSALEM
Posted on Flickr by Anthony J Zhang.
PAKISTAN: "People here dislike him"
Zaheer Kidvai is a university professor from Karachi.
Pakistan, along with Israel (despite disagreeing on everything else), was one of the only country's not to have a huge majority supporting Obama on the 'If the world could vote?' website. The reason people here dislike him is because he's been more openly critical about Pakistan being a root of the terrorism problem. But I don't think he will make much of a difference. One thing that he'll affect is that the war on terror will develop into something much more sensible; with more information, more support. He won't just keep bombing. So tensions will be alleviated."
Pushkar in Rajastan, India. Photo posted byAricwithana
INDONESIA: "Thanks to his background, it will probably be easier to talk to him and negotiate"
Rully Dasaad went to school with Obama in Jakarta, where the future president lives between 1967 and 1971.
I was invited by the American Embassy to watch the elections with two other former classmates of Obama. The majority of the guests, who were Indonesian, were very happy. Obama's victory is good for Indonesia and the government knows it. Thanks to his background, it will probably be easier to talk to him and negotiate. We have a lot of resources, especially oil and gas and America needs us for that. But right now the problem is, American investors, and foreign companies in general, take our resources but we never see the money and most people here are still very poor. Hopefully, with Obama president, Indonesia will be able to establish new American contracts in terms of exploitation when it comes to oil and receive a better share of the profit because for the moment it is not fair. The American Embassy people told me they would try to organise a meeting with him and his old classmates. So, I hope I'll see him again soon!"
Obama's a big thing for Indonesian kids. Posted on Flickr by Anthony J Zhang.
RUSSIA: "A McCain win would have given the Kremlin an excuse to continue to blame the US for the world's problems"Maria Antonova is a journalist and blogger from Moscow. I think many people react to his race; they can't believe a black man could become president. People don't know much about him here but in general, he represents something different from the politics of Bush, which is good. There's also an opinion among the opposition that Obama is bad for the Kremlin, because a McCain win would have given the Kremlin an excuse to continue to blame the US for the world's problems instead of focusing on domestic problems.
Regarding Medvedev's reaction to Obama's election [it was followed by the announcement of missile base close to Poland, in response to an antimissile base there], I don't think it was particular to Obama, because he didn't have time. He was just being anti-American in general. I think it would be the same if McCain won, if not worse [the Kremlin also sent a particularly cold 'congratulations' message]."
CELEBRATIONS AROUND THE WORLD
Posted on Flickr by "sinosplice".
A British Obama supporter after the party. Photos compiled and posted on Flickr by Anthony J Zhang.