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Will Obama Succeed? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Barack Obama is not Martin Luther King who led the American Civil Rights Movement and changed the world’s conscience. Nor is he Andrew Jackson Young, the first African-American ambassador to the United Nations who was a product of the Civil Rights Movement. Barack Obama is not Jesse Jackson who stood by Martin Luther King in the protests against racism and who struggled time and time again to pave the way for African-Americans to enter the political field by nominating himself more than once for the presidency and by forming The National Rainbow Coalition. These figures, and others like Condoleezza Rice, pushed their way forward and led difficult lives in which they suffered discrimination and injustice, clearing the way for someone like Barack Obama to reach his “dream” of winning the US presidency.

Obama is a young, ambitious, Machiavellian politician whose life was different to most African-Americans. He spent many years living in a white household under the care of his grandmother who had a “fear of black men who passed by her on the street,” according to Obama himself, as he spoke about his life and experience between a white household and black reality.

Obama knew how to make the most of every opportunity and seized the moment embarking upon an election campaign that inspired many. Various circumstances worked in his favor, and the votes of women, youths, and a large number of whites collectively drove him towards the White House. Therefore, Obama deserves praise for his courage with which he overcame obstacles that would have hindered the ambitions of many others, and for running what critics described as one of the most successful, disciplined and effective election campaigns ever. Moreover, the young politician was successful in utilizing all available circumstances to defeat two powerful electoral machines to get to the White House; the electoral machines of Hilary Clinton and the Republican Party.

Now that the victory has been achieved, what’s next?

There are two ways that this historical achievement can be interpreted; the first is represented in the joy that gripped the US and several parts of the world as a result of this triumph that has given hope not only to African-Americans but also inspiring huge masses around the world. This is an emotional, timely interpretation that will be subjected to the test of practical experience.

The second interpretation is that the United States, by electing the first black president in America, and in the West in general, restored itself as a symbol of morality and as the country where anyone can realize his or her dreams and ambitions by working hard.

America can now re-polish its image that has been tainted severely over the past years since it has lost much of its credibility and moral leadership. Heavy responsibility weighs on Obama’s shoulders to uphold the strong momentum that was achieved through his victory and to make the most of the potentials of those inspired by this American accomplishment.

If Barack Obama adopts courageous and creative policies and slogans, and confronts the difficult problems with the same inspirational spirit to rectify historical mistakes, and if he removes the injustice that pushed voters to support him with a motivating spirit that is important for facing problems and crises that made the world welcome his victory with astounding zeal; then he will become an inspirational leader not only for America but for the entire world. However, he if misses his opportunity, then he will be judged harshly, the degree of which will be similar to the level of hope and anticipation that has been pinned on him and his historical win.

Osman Mirghani

Osman Mirghani

Osman Mirghani is Asharq Al-Awsat's former deputy editor and senior editor-at-large.

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