Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Now say 'US President Barack Obama': Black Man in White House

Democrat Barack Hussein Obama is now the President of United States. He succeeds George Bush, one of the most unpopular of US presidents, after defeating Republican John McCain.

This black boy in the photograph on the right is now holding the most powerful post in the world. It was unthinkable until recently but it has happened.

Riding over a wave of disenchantment with the Republicans due to the ongoing recession, Obama had a landslide victory in the elections.

The win is extraordinary. Not just because he is a black. But because his Muslim-sounding name was made an issue. There were attempts from right-wing forces to term him as a secret Muslim. Issues like his studies in a madarsa in his childhood in Indonesia were also raised. Still, Obama managed to dispel all the fears and symbolised change.

Outside America, we also hope the same. The world wants to see a less arrogant and more inclusive America. George Bush is history. Bush made USA, a country disliked across the world. Iraq hadn't gone to fight in USA. Rather it was the opposite. During his reign, the unprovoked invasion of Iraq, and killing of millions of innocents had made America a hated nation. Obama has won the Presidential election [2008] and will now occupy the white house.

Obama is the son of a Kenyan Muslim. The spelling of Barack is just a variant of Barakah (Arabic) or Barakat (Urdu) that means blessed. This is the reason Urdu papers and some Muslims were delighted to have US president: Sadr-i-Amrika Barkat Husain. The Urdu dictionary says the meaning is 'auspiciousness', that bring abundance, of good fortune.

Barack Hussein Obama Senior died in 1982. However, his son Barack Hussein Obama is a Christian. Obama's mother was a white woman. The 1961-born Obama was born in Honalulu (Hawaii). The senator from Illinois has been opposing the policies of previous regime, especially the Iraq war.

In Asia, there is celebration all across Asia. On TV channels, there was no other news and ecstatic anchors spoke in near-hysteria as Obama inched closer to victory. By early morning millions were up and awake, waiting for the election results. For African Americans it is a historic, almost unimaginable event that one of them has been elected to the highest post in the country where they were once brought as slaves and mistreated for generations. And so it is for the rest of the world.

The inscrutable Americans have delivered a googly again. They went to Iraq killing a Hussein (Saddam) and back home a little later, they elected a Hussein as their President.
One hopes, that the 'change' will not be a mere rhetoric but there will also be a change in American policies.