American Renaissance

From: JOHN LEICESTER, AP

People across Africa stayed up all night or woke before dawn to watch U.S. history being made, while the president of Kenya — where Obama’s father was born — declared a public holiday.

In Indonesia, where Obama lived as a child, hundreds of students at his former elementary school erupted in cheers when he was declared winner and poured into the courtyard where they hugged each other, danced in the rain and chanted “Obama! Obama!”

Many expressed amazement and satisfaction that the United States could overcome centuries of racial strife and elect an African-American as president.

“This is the fall of the Berlin Wall times ten,” Rama Yade, France‘s black junior minister for human rights, told French radio. “America is rebecoming a New World.”

In Britain, The Sun newspaper borrowed from Neil Armstrong‘s 1969 moon landing in describing Obama’s election as “one giant leap for mankind.”

Poland’s Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski spoke of “a new America with a new credit of trust in the world.”

Venezuela and Bolivia, which booted out the U.S. ambassadors after accusing the Bush administration of meddling in their internal politics, said they were ready to reestablish diplomatic relations, and Brazil’s president was among several leaders urging Obama to be more flexible toward Cuba.

On the streets of Rio de Janeiro, people expressed a mixture of joy, disbelief, and hope for the future.

“It’s the beginning of a different era,” police officer Emmanuel Miranda said. “The United States is a country to dream about, and for us black Brazilians, it is even easier to do so now.”

Many around the world found Obama’s international roots — his father was Kenyan, and he lived four years in Indonesia as a child — compelling and attractive.

“What an inspiration. He is the first truly global U.S. president the world has ever had,” said Pracha Kanjananont, a 29-year-old Thai sitting at a Starbuck’s in Bangkok. “He had an Asian childhood, African parentage and has a Middle Eastern name. He is a truly global president.”

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