How Africans around the world celebrated Obama's victory

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Obama, and Global Great Expectations
By Karen Juanita Carrillo
 November 7, 2008

With Barack Obama's election to serve as the 44th president of the United States, celebrations broke out in Harlem, Fort Green, Brooklyn and in various predominately Black neighborhoods across the United States.

But the celebrations that took place beyond U.S. borders may have been even grander. The excitement Afro Latino activists felt can be seen in the emails they sent, in which they spoke about what an Obama presidency means for their communities and their nations:

"Right now, we are celebrating this triumph in all of the African descendant communities of Colombia and I want to congratulate all of you up there for all of the work you did to create this electoral win," said an exultant Jose Luis Rengifo Balanta, who works with an activist organization in Colombia: "Today, for the first time in history, we have a president who embodies all of the dreams of all of the Black people in the world."

"In Quibdò the Afro Colombian capital [of Chocó] we are celebrating hard," noted Jesus Elias Cordoba Valencia. "We are united in our Blackness."

"We Afro Ecuadorians are very confident in the prospects of an Obama presidency, wrote Pepe Chala of the Confederación Nacional Afroecuatoriana (CAN/Afro Ecuadorian National Confederation) . "It would mean so much to have Obama serve as president. It would change the negative perception the world has of people of African descent."

"Obama's winning of the presidency is the best thing that could happen to African descendants in Colombia and for those Colombians who have faith in justice," said Ana Castillo. "Because as he said during one of his debates, he would not support the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (USTR) and he would not allow the crimes and massacres that regularly occur in our communities to go on with impunity, as it is currently being allowed under our president, Álvaro Uribe. I also hope that as president Obama will back financial programs and plans that could benefit and further the development of Afro Colombian communities. "

Rubén Jean-Baptiste Latorti of the Movimiento Politico Comunitario Dominico-Haitiano (MPCDH/Haitian- Dominican Community Political Movement) said that both Afro Dominicans and Haitian-Dominicans "understand the role [Obama] is playing in these elections, and he has already won the support of our community!"

"November 4, 2008 will be remembered as the day when the practice of institutional racism began to come to an end in the world," wrote Igor Correa Caicedo of the Centro Colombiano de Asistencia Jurídica((AFRONTAR) / Colombian Center of Legal Assistance). "Every Black person on the planet should recognize this and celebrate this historic fact. This is a national celebration among Afro Colombians and all of those who support Obama. In Cali, there is a caravan...people have taken to their cars and motorcycles. ..they are honking their horns and shouting: OBAMA!... OBAMA!"

"It's clearly very important and extremely significant to have an African descendant serve as president of the United States. It's a transcendental moment," said author and radio host, Victor Perdomo Fayad, of Venezuela. "From a sentimental point of view, I am happy with this win, because politically it means that new forces and new ideas are pushing away the old establishment in the United States."

"As a person of African descent," wrote Jesús "Chucho" García, a leader in the Red de Organizaciones Afrovenezolanas (Network of Afro-Venezuelan Organizations) , "I don't believe in an immediate solidarity with anyone because of their skin pigmentation, especially when that person is the first president of African descent of the United States of the North (not, the United States of America). ...I want him to open dialogues with the nations of South America and the Caribbean who are creating their own destinies and from whom - if he has truly retained the etiquette of a diaspoara African - Obama will have to humbly learn."

Lucas Gil Ibarguen of the Comité Afro Contra La Discriminació n Y Xenofobia (Black Committee against Discrimination and Xenophobia) added: "It's important that Obama won, since he is of African descent, but only if he does not follow along the line of invasions and genocides like past U.S. presidents. If he turns out to be like Condoleeza Rice or Colin Powell, he does not deserve our support because then he would be continuing the U.S.'s nefarious history of oppression and militarism."

"This seems to be the best thing that could happen to the United States," said Afro Cuban journalist, author, and broadcaster Pedro Pérez-Sarduy. "To have a president who is cultured, intelligent, and talented - and not arrogant or a fanatic; who has a close tie to his African roots - in a nation that suffered slavery. Ultimately, with Obama our people's hopes will be so great that it's certain we will be able to throw aside the history of bigotry that has reigned over relations between the U.S. and Cuba. This will benefit both of our countries, not only us Cubans."

"By the mere fact of his winning the presidency, Obama has done a great service to Black people in the Americas," said Zulia Mena García, who served as the first Colombian congressional representative specifically elected to protect the interests of Afro-Colombians. "His victory is a very important sign and it will lift our morale. It validates all of the struggles that we have had for our dignity and for our civil rights throughout the world; it says: 'Si, se puede - Yes, we can win these battles.'"

Carlos Rua Angulo, the director of the Bogotá, Colombia-based Ecotambor School of Leadership Formation, suggested that with Obama's election "some things are going to change simultaneously: Mostly, it will be things that favor communities in the United States but there will also be changes that will benefit those communities that have borne the weight of policies that promoted U.S. military supremacy. These policies were lethal on our communities and they are directly responsible for some 170 million poor people. Of course, Obama won't be able to immediately change this situation but what's wonderful is to know that he can gradually make the changes that will put an end to these inequalities. "

Dr Jorge Ramirez Reyna, president of the Lima, Peru-based Asociación Negra de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos (ASONEDH/Black Association for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights) wrote an article in which he called Obama "someone that every person of African descent has taken pride in. He has demonstrated that even though we have suffered slavery, oppression and racism we continue making history. ...November 4, 2008 is a historic day. Today is the beginning of a new era for African descendants, today the whole world is looking to us and today we are so much more prouder of our history, of our race and of our belief that a Black man can be president of the most important and most powerful country in the world. Today our ancestors our celebrating, because a son of Africa has fortified the hope of all of our people in the world. Today every African descendant believes and understands that we can change history - and today the African American Senator Barack Obama has changed the world."


Thu Nov 6, 2008

Reuters – U.S. President-elect Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) waves as he walks to his car following a day of meetings …

RANCHI, India (Reuters) – Hundreds of tribal people beat drums, fired crackers and distributed sweets in Jharkhand on Thursday to celebrate Barack Obama's victory as the first black U.S. president-elect. Tribals are among the poorest and most backward sections of Indian society and say they suffer racial discrimination in a country enjoying an economic boom in some areas.

When news of Obama's triumph reached Ranchi, hundreds in traditional tribal dress thronged to a statue of Mahatma Gandhi, dancing and shouting slogans of optimism."The victory of Obama in U.S. election is indication that racial discrimination will end in all forms," Ajay Tirkey, the president of a tribal organisation said.

"This is a historical moment of the world that a black has been elected to president of most powerful country of the world. We hope even India will soon get a black president".


3 November 2008

View From Iraq FOX News BASRA, Iraq (AFP) – Descendants of black rebels in the southern Iraqi oil city of Basra are unconditionally supporting Barack Obama in Tuesday's US election though some fear racism may prevent him from winning. "I don't think he'll win because he is black and America is racist. But if he wins, his success will benefit black people throughout the world and I hope Europe will follow the same route," said Sami Nassir Khami, a port worker in the city.

He is a descendant of hundreds of slaves who rose up against the Abassid government between the years 869 and 883.Landowners in southern Iraq had brought the workers from eastern Africa, from where Obama's family originates, to toil on their labour-intensive estates. Najem Abud, a 38 year-old teacher, is also praying for an Obama victory in the US presidential election. "I hope he will win and that he will therefore be the first black president of the United States and the world will understand that black people can govern the world," he said.

The so-called "Zanj rebellion" -- zanj is a pejorative word for black people -- began in 869 at the instigation of Ali ibn Mohammed, who claimed to be a descendant of Ali, the fourth caliph. Mohammed convinced several hundred slaves in the Basra region to revolt against the central government in Samarra. The uprising quickly grew and the rebels won battles against the caliph's forces. They built a town, al-Mukhtarah, and captured several others before the movement was crushed in 883.

"I would be very happy if Obama won because he is an Afro-American and I hope the majority of countries will one day be governed by black people. I observe that racism is strong in Europe, even in sports," said Abud Abdel Hafidh, a 43-year-old taxi driver. Majid Hamid Ahmed, a 22-year-old economics student, is more cautious. "Frankly, I don't think American politics will change if he is elected but we will be happy if the most powerful country in the world is governed by a black African," he said.

Descendants of the Zanj rebels represent 15 to 20 percent of the Basra region's 2.5 million inhabitants. Victory for Obama would be a sign "that racism is behind us and it would be a source of pride for all black people around the world," according to Suhail Hamid Ahmad, a 22-year-old history teacher. "If the most powerful country on the planet is led by a black man, we will feel that black Africans have become the leaders of the world," 30-year-old policeman Nawaf Wadih Mohammad said. "It will be a true victory for black people because we have suffered down the ages and we had the feeling that Obama is close to the Arabs," was the view of Khalil Ibrahim Jassim, 60, a pensioner.

After the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, British forces occupied Basra. Since December, security in the province of four million people has been under Iraqi control but 4,000 British soldiers remain at a base near the city's airport. In March, the Iraqi government restored its authority in Basra with a major offensive against the militias which controlled many districts.

http://www.nation. AmericaVotes/ -/464300/ 487378/-/ nxol7xz/- /index.html

In Kenya, a holiday, song and dance for Obama

November 5 2008

Kenyans are celebrating Barack Obama's triumph the best way they know how - with song and dance - the Government has weighed in with a public holiday on Thursday as a country salutes an emphatic win.

Shortly after CNN declared Obama the winner just before 7am (Kenya time) on Wednesday, President Kibaki announced that Kenyans will on Thursday take a day off to mark the historic election of Obama to the most powerful office on earth.

Even as the President made the declaration, Kenyans were already deep in celebration. From the sprawling Kibera slums in Nairobi to the senator's ancestral home 400 kilometres west in Kogelo, Siaya, jubilant Kenyans sung and danced in honour of a victorious son. Scenes of wild celebrations were also seen at the Kenyatta International Conference, Nairobi where Kenyans kept vigil all night following the US election in giant screens. Said President Kibaki: “This is a momentous day not only in the history of the United States of America, but also for us in Kenya. The victory of Senator Obama is our own victory because of his roots here in Kenya. As a country, we are full of pride for his success.”

He said that Obama’s unassailable victory was a clear testimony of the confidence the American people have not only in his leadership and vision for his country but for the world at large. “On behalf of the Government and people of Kenya, and on my own behalf, I join the rest of the world in celebrating and congratulating you on your election as the 44th President of the United States of America.”  “I am confident that your Presidency shall herald a new chapter of dialogue between the American people and the world at large.”

The President also expressed readiness of his government to work with the new American administration to further promote and strengthen relations that exist between the two countries. “We the Kenyan people are immensely proud of your Kenyan roots. Your victory is not only an inspiration to millions of people all over the world, but it has special resonance with us her in Kenya.”

Prime Minister Raila Odinga, away on an official trip in China, led the Government delegation in celebrations when Obama's win was projected by CNN and Time magazine.
Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka said Obama's victory heralds a new dawn in history of America and in relations between America and other nations of the world. "It is exciting for Kenya not only because of continental attachment to President-elect because of his roots in Kenya but because Obama victory is a harbinger of good tidings especially for our tourism sector."

The VP said many Americans would now wish to visit country of the father of their new President. He said never before has a candidate of a superpower been widely supported across the world. "This means Obama's leadership of US is likely to bring world nations closer and bridge polarisation that currently exist," he said.

Publié dans African diaspora

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