The Lusosphere for Obama

A small portrait of the translator

November 6, 2008 @ 21:23 UTC

Written by

Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique
Barack Obama
Civil Rights & Ethnicity, International Relations, Government & Politics

America and the world have witnessed a historic moment with the election of Barack Obama as president. Not only because of the color of the 44th U.S. president's skin - which alone would be enough - but also the change that Obama brings through his views, words, beliefs and future projects. Barack Obama inherits a bumpy economy, the trauma produced by the endless war in Iraq and the fight to save the environment, along with other symptoms of mismanagement from George W. Bush's administration.

Obama's victory has moved Americans and people all over the world. It is as if we were thirsty for change. It is as if the great leader we have been waiting for arrived at last. From New York, Mozambican blogger Manuel Araújo [pt] tells of the huge crowd that gathered at Times Square to see Obama. The blogger says he will be proud to tell his grandchildren he was there at this historic moment:

“A explosao de alegria no Time Square foi tanta que por momentos fiquei surdo! As lagrimas foram tantas que me senti por segundos sufocado e afogado naquele mar de alegria! A felicidade tao grande que por segundos senti um no pescoco! O ar tao quente que por segundos senti o calor da raca humana! Um calor que nuna tinha sentido antes. No Times square, hoje descobri que quando o ideal e a esperanca e grande existe apenas uma raca - A RACA HUMANA! Que nao ha negros ou brancos, mulatos ou latinos, africanos ou asiaticos, vermelhos, azuis, pobres, ricos, nordicos, autralianos, pakistanis, kenyanos, zambianos, dominiquenhos, costariquenos, japoneses! A diversidade de racas, nacionalidades, estratos sociais representadas fez-me recordar a figura biblica da Arca de Noe!”.

“The explosion of joy in Times Square was so big that I was deaf for a moment! There were so many tears that for a second I felt suffocated and drowned in that sea of joy! The happiness was so great that for a second I felt I had a lump in my throat! The air, so hot that in seconds I felt the heat of the human race! A heat that I had never felt before. In Times Square today I discovered that when there are big ideals and hope, there is only one race - the human race! There is no black or white, mulatto or Latinos, African or Asian, red, blue, poor, rich, Scandinavians, Australians, Pakistanis, Kenyans, Zambians, Dominicans, Costa Ricans, Japanese! The diversity of races, nationalities, social strata represented there reminded me of the biblical figure Noah's Ark!”.

Angolan blog A Casa de Luanda [Luanda House, pt] made clear they shared the hopes deposited in Obama with their readers:

“Obama emocionou-me com o seu discurso. Lembrou-nos de como um país deve ir muito além de uma colectividade de indíviduos. Deve ser uma unidade de pessoas que olham umas para as outras. Lembrou que temos histórias diferentes, mas um mesmo destino. Que enquanto respiramos, temos esperança. E principalmente, convocou os americanos e o mundo para um novo espírito de trabalho, baseado na responsabilidade, nas alianças, na esperança, na liberdade e na paz. Espero que o discurso ecoe em Angola, pois este país precisa como ninguém de todos esses valores”.

“Obama moved me with his speech. He reminded us of how a country should go well beyond a community of individuals. There must be people looking after each other. He reminded us that we have different histories, but the same fate. That while we breathe, we hope. And especially, he called for a new spirit of work among Americans and the world, based on responsibility, alliances, hope, freedom and peace. I hope that this speech echoes in Angola because this country needs these values very much.”

With Barack Obama as president come confusing feelings. Most of the president's supporters are now happy with this victory because Obama is of black descent, and I believe that this may help him combat racial discrimination and to become a standard-bearer for the black race. In Kenya, the country of the U.S. president elect's father's birth, they naively wait salvation at Obama's hands, hoping that he will pursue the corrupt politicians there and that it will be easier to obtain visas to enter American soil. It is the “American dream” in action, materialized and delivered by Obama in his post-victory speech. But first and foremost, Barack Obama is American and was keen to stress this even during the campaign. The author from Menina de Angola [Angolan Girl, pt] reflects on the same thing:

“Angola está sorrindo, bom pelo menos a minoria que entende ou acha que entende o que está acontecendo mundo. Os poucos angolanos com acesso à informação comemoram a vitória de Barack Obama, brindam ao primeiro negro da história mundial, mas cá com os meus botões, não vejo bem o que muda para nós pobres mortais. Não vejo como a cor da pele pode alterar o rumo da história do dia para a noite. Por acaso o racismo vai acabar? A fome e miséria do mundo vão desaparecer como num passe de mágica? Os conflitos intermináveis no médio oriente terão fim? Ele é apenas mais um americano no poder, com os mesmos ideiais de todos os americanos. É mais um capitalista rico que veio de família rica e teve acesso às melhores escolas. Mas acima de tudo ele é apenas um ser humano, não um mágico, messias ou super homem com super poderes, capaz de resolver todos os problemas do mundo do dia para a noite. Não estou fazendo propaganda contra, muito pelo contrário, fiquei muito feliz com a vitória de Obama, mas não porque ele é negro, branco, amarelo ou rosa choque, mas sim porque a sua plataforma de governo inclui entre outras coisas, uma grande preocupação com o meio ambiente. Eu vou comemorar de verdade daqui a 4 ou 5 anos quando as promessas de campanha tornarem-se realidade”.

“Angola is smiling, well at least the minority who believe or think that they understand what is happening worldwide. The few Angolans with access to information celebrate Barack Obama's victory, they toast the first black person of world history, but here with myself I do not see any changes for us, poor mortals. I do not see how skin colour can overnight change the course of history. Will racism actually end? Will hunger and misery disappear from the world like magic? Will the conflicts in the Middle East come to an end? He is just another American in power, with the same ideals of all Americans. He is another rich capitalist who came from a rich family and had access to the best schools. But, above all, he is just a human being, not a magician, a messiah or a super man with super powers, who is able to solve all the problems of the world overnight. I'm not making propaganda against him, on the contrary, I was very happy with Obama's victory, however not because he is black, white, yellow or pink, but because his government platform includes, among others, a great concern about the environment. I will really celebrate it in 4 or 5 years when the promises of campaign become reality.”

The Chez Ludgero [pt] blog from Cape Verde shows his enthusiasm for Barack Obama, writing:

“Barack Obama é um fenómeno global. Fala-se dele em todas as línguas, em todos os países. Aqui em Cabo Verde tornou-se usual ver-se gente de todas as raças, de culturas diferenciadas, oriundas de vários pontos do globo, falando de Obama. A África lusófona ficou orfã depois de perder os seus líderes históricos (Cabral, Neto, Mondlane e Machel). E isso um pouco em consequência de alguma reticência em relação a Kalungano e alguns outros, por causa da mistura de raças que corporizam. A consagração de Obama, num ambiente como o dos Estados Unidos, pode chamar toda a África à razão, mormente os países lusófonos, cuja maior riqueza reside na mistura de raças e no encontro de culturas. A consagração da educação como a chave que abre todas as portas (mesmo as da Casa Branca) seria a maior lição a tirar da trajectória de Obama.”

“Barack Obama is a global phenomenon. They talk about him in all languages, in all countries. Here in Cape Verde it has become normal to see people of all races, different cultures, from various places in the globe talking about Obama. Portuguese speaking Africa was orphaned after losing its historic leaders (Cabral, Neto, Mondlane and Machel) and there is somewhat of a reluctance in accepting Kalungano and others, because of the mixture of races that they embody. The consecration of Obama in an environment like the U.S. may help the whole of Africa see reason, especially in the Portuguese speaking countries, whose greatest asset are the mixture of races and meeting of cultures. The consecration of education as the key that opens all doors (even those of the White House) might be the biggest lesson to be drawn from Obama's path.”

Whatever the reasons for supporting Obama, the new American president has managed to generate a strong empathy around him, both locally and internationally. Kianda from O silêncio da Kianda [Kianda's Silence, pt] expresses with no shame her admiration for the elected president:

“Gosto de Obama porque sou muito mais democrata do que republicana, na minha essência de mais de esquerda do que conservadora. Sou a favor do aborto, do casamento dos homossexuais, da sensibilidade para questões sociais, da não ingerência arbitrária dos EUA na política interna do resto do mundo. Acredito muito mais no programa de Obama para resolver ou controlar os problemas económicos dentro dos Estados, o que tem sempre consequências no resto do mundo. Acredito mais na calma e na serenidade de Obama para julgar os problemas. Tem o sangue frio necessário para esta altura da história.”

“I like Obama because I am much more Democratic than Republican, in my heart I am more left-wing than conservative. I am in favour of abortion, same sex marriage, sensitivity to social issues, of the non-arbitrary interference in U.S. domestic politics of the rest of the world. I believe much more in Obama's program to control or solve economic problems in the States, which always has consequences for the rest of the world. I believe more in Obama's calm and serenity to judge the problems. He has the cold blood needed for this time in history.”

Architect, Illustrator, Cartoonist João thanks Obama with this cartoon at Timor Cartoon International:

Thank you Barack!

Seja qual for o resultado…

Whatever the results are…
Originally written in Portuguese, translation by Paula Góes
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