domingo, febrero 10, 2008

Por qué Obama puede salvar Estados Unidos


Por que aún no gana la presidencia, y ya está sanando no sólo su país, sino al mundo. Puntos de vista desde
Yemen, el país musulmán que está al sur de la península arábiga, contados por un estadounidense que vive ahí:

My wife and I are serving overseas in Yemen and I wanted to share a quick anecdote with you about Obama-buzz here in Sanaa. While getting my haircut several weeks ago, I was surprised when my barber Mohammed drifted from his usual aspersions about George Bush to suddenly inquire about Barack Obama. My Arabic is fairly limited, so it took me some time to understand that Mohammed and the other Yemeni patrons had seen Obama during an appearance with Oprah on Al-Jazeera. All of them agreed that of the people seeking to become President, Obama offered the only redemptive option for America.

After my haircut was nearing an end - a nearly 60 minute process - Mohammed said that "if a black man can become President, then maybe the story of America isn't a lie after all."

A few weeks later I was surprised at the end of a meeting with Yemeni government officials, when my hosts broke out into spontaneous praise for Obama and simultaneous incredulity that a man of color could win the American presidency. These two stories are just blips on the Yemeni consciousness, but it's worth noting that the advent of satellite television enables even the poorest families in the Middle East's poorest country to follow the US election. Those two stories stand out as the most dramatic to me, but they're not the only ones. Obama's mere candidacy has restored a fraction of the prestige and credibility we've lost - at least in Sanaa.

Para imaginar un cambio similar es como si un judío pudiera gobernar un país musulmán. Por eso muchos, están boquiabiertos con un presidente negro, que con una presidenta blanca. El prejuicio de raza es quizá mayor que el de género: en Estados Unidos el matrimonio interracial apenas se permitió a fines de los 1960s, y en otros países es imposible todavía casarse con alguien de otra raza, si no legalmente, sí socialmente. Solo vean Japón... y esperén a ver el impacto mundial, el poder pedagógico que puede será que el líder del país más poderoso no sea blanco.

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