American voters weren’t the only ones tuned to the TV sets on election night. People around the globe watched election returns and picked up the next day’s newspaper for news of the Nov. 4 outcome.
Political leaders across the world hailed President-elect Barack Obama’s victory as a landmark achievement and a step in a better direction for the U.S.
In the United Kingdom, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown praised Obama’s “inspirational change” and the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso said Obama’s victory was a “time for a renewed commitment between Europe and the United States of America.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was “convinced that Europe and the United States will work closely and in a spirit of mutual trust together to confront new dangers and risks and will seize the opportunities presented by our global world.”
The highest-ranking official of America’s longtime ally even joined in the praise. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said, “With the world in turmoil and doubt, the American people, faithful to the values that have always defined America’s identity, have expressed with force their faith in progress and the future.”
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called the election outcome an “historic opportunity” and praised Obama’s commitment to progress and change.
“He values highly the resolution of all the conflict issues through dialogue,’’ Ban said of Obama. “He has expressed publicly that he is willing to meet anybody, any country, so that will provide good opportunity not only for the United States, but also the United Nations as a whole to resolve all issues through dialogue.”
Legendary South African leader Nelson Mandela even managed to get a letter written to Obama.
“Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place,” he wrote.
Like all American newspapers, publications across the globe featured the U.S. election results as front-page news.
“The immense turnout in yesterday’s election was testament to the energy, excitement and expectations of a rejuvenated American democracy, as well as the fears of a nation standing at a crossroads of history,” wrote The Times in London.
The Guardian, also in London, wrote, “Victory in the end came as easily as the polls had predicted.” They compared Obama’s victory to the 1932 and 1980 victories of Roosevelt and Reagan, respectively.
The International Herald Tribune, the global edition of The New York Times, said Obama had “leaped” across the color line and made history “both because of his race and in spite of it.”
Even the Arab Al Jazeera TV network recognized the importance of the Nov. 4 election. Of Obama, Al Jazeera said he “surfed to power on a wave of voter discontent generated by the failures of President George Bush and the Republican Party.” The network added that Obama will face “unique challenges.”
Pravda in Russia said, “Eight years of hell are over,” and criticized President George W. Bush’s failures and slights against their country as the “great American soap opera.”
The Kenya Times, published in, perhaps, the most celebratory nation after U.S. election results were announced, said Obama is “the foremost blaze-trailing son of this land,” and that “[he] has convincingly shown that the world could be better through diplomacy than intimidation and arm-twisting tactics.” Kenyan officials had proclaimed a national holiday in honor of the U.S. election and Obama.
News in Brief
Indian film director Karan Johar says his new film, “Dostana” is about friendship and not gay sexuality. The Economic Times, economictimes.com.
The Delhi High Court in New Dehli, India, has reserved judgment on the continued criminal legislation of homosexuality. Petitioners had argued the legislation violates the country’s constitution. The Hindu Times, hindu.com.
Twenty-eight-year-old Australian teacher Amanda Louise Thompson, has been convicted of having an affair with one of her female students, just 14 years old when the tryst began. The Brisbane Times, brisbanetimes.com.au.
British scientists have developed a new test to more easily detect anal cancer. The rate of anal cancer in gay men is similar to the rate of female cervical cancer before the introduction of pap smear screening. GaydarNation, rainbownetwork.com.
The British Ministry of Defense has paid £4 million to 65 former military personnel who were dismissed from services because of their sexual orientation. The average payout is over £61,000. Ananova, ananova.com.
— Photos courtesy Robb Monty, Flickr