The world’s media today hailed Barack Obama’s election as the
first black president as a major milestone in US history, saying it
offered a chance to restore America’s standing.

"One Giant Leap for Mankind," ran the front-page headline on the
mass-market British tabloid The Sun, while the Independent had a
picture of the Democratic presidential-elect with the headline "The
History Man."

"So often crudely caricatured by others, the American people
yesterday stood in the eye of history and made an emphatic choice for
change for themselves and the world," said the left-leaning Guardian.

The right-of-centre Times hailed the huge turnout in the elections
as proof of the energy and expectations of a "rejuvenated American
democracy" — and described the results of that democracy as
"head-spinning".

"The country regarded loftily by many Europeans as hopelessly racist
and irredeemably right wing has voted to be ruled by a black man, at
the head of a party committed to economic redistribution and a foreign
policy rooted in peaceful diplomatic engagement," the newspaper said.

While the result came too late for morning newspapers in Asia,
China’s evening dailies splashed with photos of a beaming Obama, with
the Legal Evening News proclaiming him as "the first black American
president".

Major US newspapers said that Obama must now seize the opportunity
to reverse some of the damage wrought by George W. Bush to America’s
reputation.

"Mr. Obama cannot erase Mr. Bush’s legacy, but he has a chance to
improve America’s standing in the world, ending such noxious practices
as torture and indefinite detention with minimal review that have
diminished this country in the eyes of its allies," said the Washington
Post.

In Spain, El Pais said that Obama’s victory was a chance to turn the
page after a presidency characterised by "eight years of incompentence
and abuses."

In Germany, where Obama’s popularity was highlighted when 200,000
turned out to hear him speak in July, newspapers said that the world
was looking to him for leadership.

"Good morning, Mr President! Make the world better," Germany’s mass
circulation Bild said, calling on the new president "to get the economy
going … achieve peace in Iraq .. save the world .. close Guantanamo
.. fight for the weak … and stay true to Israel."

In Israel itself, the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper said that
Obama’s best chance to make the Middle East peace process work was by
pushing Israel to leaving the Golan Heights, captured from Syria in the
1967 war and then unilaterally annexed.

"Only active American leadership, to move the process forward and
support it through security arrangements and economic aid, can break
this stalemate," it said. "Even then, there is no guarantee of success,
but at the moment, your best shot at a Nobel Peace Prize lies between
Jerusalem and Damascus."

In Lebanon, newspapers were unanimous in their support for Obama,
with the pro-Syrian Al-Akhbar newspaper proclaiming: "The Black Kennedy
at the White House."

In Egypt, a key Middle Eastern ally of the United States, the
state-owned Egyptian Gazette was printed before the results were
announced with the headline "World hopes for a ‘less arrogant’
America."

The New York Times however said that people should not overburden
Obama with expectation, saying he "inherits a terrible legacy".

"The nation’s many challenges are beyond the reach of any one man,
or any one political party."

Sapa-AFP

MRN

Author: MRN Network

The aspiration of the Media Review Network is to dispel the myths and stereotypes about Islam and Muslims and to foster bridges of understanding among the diverse people of our country. The Media Review Network believes that Muslim perspectives on issues impacting on South Africans are a prerequisite to a better appreciation of Islam.