Hope-bama!

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by Anne Laure Constantin • 11/6/08 • Hope around the world

“And all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world—our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.”

These words, excerpted from Barack Obama’s acceptance speech on the night of his election are perhaps those that struck me most when I finally was able to play the video of his speech on a jammed youtube.com

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Wow, , an American president (-to-be, all right) speaking about the rest of the world without mentioning terrorism? Did someone remember this is possible? Few in my generation, for sure! OK, I might be exaggerating slightly. But George W. Bush’s last speech at the UN General Assembly was illustrative: he mentioned “terror” 31 times, but seemed never to have heard about the Millennium Development Goals.

What’s most beautiful about this victory is that it’s the success of hope over fear. U.S. citizens have chosen the only viable path out of the unprecedented crisis their country is facing (the Onion’s latest satire highlights how bad times can drive change). But there is also so much to do to fix the way the U.S. relates to the world. And how an Obama administration will go about this is still very unclear.

Reuters gave a go at summarizing Obama’s positions on trade. The Congress of South African Trade Unions gave a sobering reaction to Obama’s election.

All in all, it is very clear that this election is historic. Barack Obama’s personality and history mean a lot to people all around the world, in Kenya, Indonesia but also in Europe. It is no guarantee, though, that he will bring the change we need. His election is an opportunity. It will take much more to make change a reality.

It will take, first and foremost, a continued effort for democracy to prevail around the world and at the global level. The Obama campaign strategy, and its success in mobilizing millions, is an inspiration to all of us!

P.S: The New York Times has a great video on reactions to Obama’s elections around the world.