04
Jun
09

On Air: Your Obama assessment

EgyptThere’s full coverage with video clips here, excellent detailed analysis here, the WHYS live blog as it happened here and the transcript here. Now President Obama’s said his piece, it’s your turn. Give us your reaction, and put your phone number if you want to come on air (we won’t publish the number.)


150 Responses to “On Air: Your Obama assessment”


  1. June 4, 2009 at 12:47

    Words of Wisdom for Deaf Ears!
    Lack of transparency & accountability! No women’s rights! No children’s right! No Bahai rights! Nepotism and sleaze on the rise. “Don’t lambaste the Holocaust!” A direct condemnation of Ahmadinejad.
    Obama misjudged the mood in Iran. Crowds at the Khomeini Mausoleum have been applauding Leader Seyed Ali Khamenei today. Peaceful nuke program, cherish Iranian traditions, safeguard national pride and: “Don’t be fooled by foreign ploys,” warned Khamenei.

    • 2 Sierra, Denver USA
      June 4, 2009 at 18:51

      The reality that there are diverse and opposed political opinions among Americans is represented by the different approaches that Bush and Obama have taken. It is often frustrating that American policy and American values get confused. You can hear the polarization of American opinion in their responses to this program. As for our leaders, Bush acted compulsively and defensively — as such, he broke many relationships around the world. Obama is a thinker and a reconciler. Some people may think that the current leader’s process is slow and ineffective. Despite the calls for action, it is integral for Obama to now go through the gestures of rebuilding trust and relationships, and representing the other faces of America that were not apparent to the world during the Bush era. His intent is different: to gain leaders at a table, rather than soldiers on the ground.

  2. June 4, 2009 at 12:54

    No. Obama’s *actions* will make the difference or not. And so far, Obama supports the same anti-democratic and racist regimes in the Middle East that Bush did. US-backed Palestinian Authority “security” forces are murdering fellow Palestinians and squelching protests in the West Bank. Democracy? No. And Obama doesn’t think that we “need to change strong US support for Israel,” a state that actively discriminates against non-Jews and slaughters morethan 4,000 Palestinians in a month without so much as batting an eye (remember “one shot two kills”). And he continues to bow to Saudi oil – Saudi Arabia, the home of anti-democratic repression against women and religious minorities. Change? Support for real democracy? I don’t see it – just more of the same.

    • 4 Mohammed Ali
      June 4, 2009 at 15:23

      Obama made clear in his speech that America will not impose on any nation how to govern itself but will support and ally with those nations that respect the rights of their citizens to part take in the process of governance.

      • 5 RightPaddock
        June 5, 2009 at 01:15

        then what the heck was he doing in jordan, saudi arabia & egypt, surely his mere presence is support for those autocratic regimes

        and why does he NOT make his comments re US courts protecting the right to wear the hajib in US schools when he’s in egypt, but not when he’s in turkey, france or germany where it is banned!

    • June 4, 2009 at 17:08

      Unfortunately, Pink, I tend to agree with your take on Obama’s speech. But as an opening to the “Moslem world” it’s doubtful that anyone was expecting specifics. Those that were offered did not really challenge the fundamentals that need to be addressed.

      In particular I found it…curious…that he fails to see the connection between the lack of educational opportunities for women with how women are expected to oppress themselves on so many other levels. For Obama to equate the wearing of the hijab with freedom of choice reveals his complete misunderstanding of the controversy. Either that or he is naively attempting to be “all things to all people” by speaking in platitudes. We can only hope that his public pronouncements are countered by a more critical understanding behind the scenes.

      The French exhibited more understanding and spine by prohibiting Muslem girls from wearing head-scarves in public schools. They seem to understand the concept of separation of church and state better than our current president does.

      The hijab is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to oppression of women and the second-class status they are compelled to live with. Obama is supposed to be an intelligent person. Would he also claim that the prohibition on voting or driving a car in Saudi Arabia is also a “choice” that women have made?

      This oppression of women is not an intrinsic tenent of Islam but is a more recent phenomena. It is at the heart of the clash between Islam and “modernity”. The failure to recognize this connection is to white-wash the facts.

  3. June 4, 2009 at 12:56

    (That was in reponse to the TwitterQ “Is Obama’s speech going to make any difference to America’s relations with the Muslim world?”)

  4. 8 steve
    June 4, 2009 at 13:08

    @ Pink

    Israel has a long way to go to kill as many palestinians as their arab brothers have. Fine, say Israel is gone, which would make arabs happy. Who will they blame all their problems on then given they will still have all of their problems?

  5. 9 VictorK
    June 4, 2009 at 13:35

    Obama needs to get back to being a President for America, not the world, and to learn that some problems, like Islam’s ideological hatred of America and the West, have no solution and so shouldn’t be worried over (though they should be factored into the construction of domestic & foreign policy).

    The US shouldn’t feel guilty or be apologetic about pursuing its national interest (Obama comes across as an anti-American in this respect), but it should get off its high horse when it comes to other nations pursuing their interests. Women’s rights, to take just one example, are a good thing and are central to the American and Western way of life. But that’s no reason for an American President to start lecturing non-Americans on the subject: it’s their business, not his.

    The easiest way to make this a better world would be to encourage all states to speak about & act over only what concerns their national interest (& btw, to most Muslims, Palestine, Iraq & Afghanistan don’t concern you; & ditto to the UK & the US, who need to withdraw from the 2nd & 3rd of these places). If only liberals like Obama would learn this lesson: but then, they wouldn’t be liberals.

    • 10 Mohammed Ali
      June 4, 2009 at 15:30

      @VictorK,
      You must understand that the US is the undisputed power in the world and by this Obama is making no mistake by addressing issues that affect the entire world. While it is true that the president of the US is elected by only americans, his decisions have impact on the whole world.

      • June 5, 2009 at 07:41

        Clearly, Vietnam showed that even the most powerful state on earth can be brought down to its kness with sheer will-power and small arms. The current Credit Crunch has exposed America’s real economic worth. It cannot survive without borrowing from China. So, what “undisputed power” are we talking about?

        By tradition an American President is regarded as a cult figure. Western leaders consider it a blasphemy to criticize Him. Peace would be restored only if America pulls out, zips up and goes home. Its military bases and activities abroad provoke unrest and violence.

  6. 12 Steve in Boston
    June 4, 2009 at 13:36

    Obama is a guy who tries to please everyone, and we all know how that turns out.

  7. 13 patti in cape coral
    June 4, 2009 at 13:39

    I liked his speech, and as he said, he meant this speech to be a beginning, with the understanding that no one speech is going to change things. It is a delicate balance, I think, to be Israel’s ally and improve relations with the rest of the Arab world, and it is very apparent he is being very careful to strike a balance. Diplomacy is definitely one of his strong points.

  8. June 4, 2009 at 14:17

    Steve, normal human beings recognise a long-held truth that our Mommies have passed on to us from generation to generation: two wrongs do not a right make. Just because Arab anti-democratic governments slaughter of Palestinians does not give Israel the right to do the same and more. The focus on Israel comes from its roguish behaviour over the past few decades: invasions of other countries, bomb attacks in other countries, mass slaughter of occupied peoples, repeated violations of international and humanitarian law. No other country in the Middle East has this kind of record.

    Unfortunately for many, worshipful devotion to the country of Israel blinds them from any kind of logical or rational thought process regarding the country; and they assume that criticism of Israel stems from hatred of Jewish people and the desire to eliminate Israel. The same kind failure to see shades of grey is what makes terrorists and extremists tick.

  9. 15 Munyoro Edwin, Kenya
    June 4, 2009 at 14:25

    Apart from being a man with huge expecatations on his shoulders, I think its hard to find any other person who has shown how much dedication is needed to finally solve the rift between Muslims and Americans. This should serve as a reminder to all hardliners that rejecting compromise results in misunderstanding. But this also means that Obama needs to lead the example of what he so often states as ‘Mutual respect and interest’ relations.

    • 16 Scott
      June 4, 2009 at 17:59

      Eric,

      America was founded by Christians, this much is mostly true. The principles that they lived their lives by were, hopefully, guided by their belief. However, they founded a nation that is SECULAR. As of today, we are not a Christian nation, although we are clearly a nation which is made up of a majority of Christians. Our government is not Christian, our public schools are not Christian, any and all faiths are welcome in America, including holding no faith at all.

      When you say, “only when CHRISTIAN americans and the world’s muslims embrace these two principles, will we be able to find peace”, you seem to forget that not all Americans are Christian. I am American, but I am not Christian. I am agnostic, and proud of it. Americans, Arabs, Persians, Israelis and all other races and ethnicities will need more than love of God or each other to make peace, and the President is finally starting us down the road we need to walk.

      Not all Arabs are Muslim, not all Israelis are Jewish, and not all Americans are Christian. If you wish to live in a country that is dominated by one faith, move somewhere else. I love my country and its adherence to the principle of separating church and state. I do wish that American Christians would simply live out their beliefs and stop trying to make the rest of us abide by them as well.

      • 17 daniel mbugua
        June 5, 2009 at 12:40

        a confused soul who doesnt understand the spiritual dynamics of the current world affairs!
        ask Iran’s president with his many visions.
        i truly pity such ignorance in such a ‘civilised country’
        daniel,kenya.

  10. June 4, 2009 at 14:29

    unfortunately, president obama apparently does not know history. america was founded on CHRISTIAN principles. CHRISTIAN Biblical principles shaped our entire founding doctrine. did you know that harvard, princeton and yale were founded as CHRISTIAN theological seminaries? our relations with our islamic brethren should be defined by two principles: love GOD and love each other. only when CHRISTIAN americans and the world’s muslims embrace these two principles, will we be able to find peace.

    • 19 Jennifer
      June 4, 2009 at 18:19

      Sorry Eric, you need to change your radio station. Although this is a popular right-wing theme, it is well-documented by historians that the founding fathers did not intend America to be established as a Christian nation.

  11. 20 Hopeful in Belgium
    June 4, 2009 at 14:30

    A TRULY MASTERFUL SPEECH!

    FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE I AM BEGINNING TO BELIEVE THAT PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST IS POSSIBLE.

  12. 21 Alex in Nairobi
    June 4, 2009 at 14:31

    I will repeat what I have said again and again: Obama is simply an embodiment of Bush -only younger, darker and more hypocritical. I only caught a few seconds of his speech and I think there is no much to expect from him, especially on foreign policy. I did hear him say that Iran has the right to develop nuclear projects for civilian use which made me wonder. Who gives these rights? Why? Who gave Israel and the US the rights to develop the same? Why is Iran nuclear development more threatening than the US’ or Israel’s? If Iran was not a Islamic state, would the nuclear programmes pose the same threats?

    The US has over time grown quite a wide and fast-talking mouth when it comes to human rights abuse in other countries. I wonder why it’s not as loud about Israel even as thousands of Palestenians continue to suffer in the West Bank. Is the democracy Obama talks about discriminative? If the shoe were to change foot in the Middle East, would he still pretend to act, as he is doing now?

    Lastly, as long as Guantanamo Bay remains open, and inhabited, my faith in Obama and whatever he stands for will remain sub-zero. I’m yet to spot any real difference between him and the texan.

    • 22 Katy, Cleveland
      June 5, 2009 at 05:22

      I have always wondered why the US gets to decide who is allowed nuclear power and which countries have to continue to use what fossil fuels they may have or import in. I have yet to hear a convincing argument about it.

    • 23 KP
      June 6, 2009 at 19:39

      You should listen to the whole speech before you comment

  13. 24 Jennifer
    June 4, 2009 at 14:36

    Obama needs to support Israel fully. However, I do not believe he will because he has shown ignorance with regards to Islam. Showing weakness or acceptance will leave the hole that those who would do bad things will target to do what they do.

    Please, Mr. Obama, snap back to reality!

    • 25 Tom K in Mpls
      June 4, 2009 at 16:25

      Jennifer, as a rather open minded agnostic American, I could not disagree with you more. Israel is openly antagonistic to all, including the US. They have been caught spying in the US and actually attacked a US naval destroyer during their 1967 war.

      The fact that we openly and blindly supported them in the past and still give them hundreds of millions of dollars in financial aid every year is very frustrating and embarrassing to me. But anyone that speaks against their lobby is labeled as antisemitic buy the press and faces political suicide.

  14. 26 Bob in Queensland
    June 4, 2009 at 14:38

    It was an eloquent speech, reverberating with common sense. People on either side of the debate, numbed by decades of hatred, will take issue with much of the content. Hopefully, though, reasonable people everywhere can get behind what Obama said and make his rhetoric reality.

  15. 27 Anne in Michigan
    June 4, 2009 at 14:49

    As a rural midwesterner, I hear and see racism against Muslims regularly. Hearing President Obama speak emphatically and unequivocally in support of Muslim Americans and the international Muslim community is a welcome shift from Bush’s rhetoric.

  16. 28 Dan
    June 4, 2009 at 14:52

    Pink,
    Happily Obama does not support the anti-democratic and racist regime and that is why the Palestinians have not progressed 1 micron in 61 years.
    I think Obama expressed that the world is fed up with the “Charlie Brown Why is everybody picking on me” victim approach of the Palestinians.
    He also stated quite emphatically that we would continue to oppose religious extremist groups.

  17. 29 Yuval
    June 4, 2009 at 14:59

    Obama did a great job flattering, sucking up, boosting his crowd ego, he did it as usuall so elegantly, so eloquently without actually saying anything worth while, no plan, no understanding that it’s not a american crowd he is facing, not european yet he think he know what their all about, what they want, what they think.
    There no common ground or principles between the u.s and the muslim world, maybe some shered temporary intrestes, that’s all, obama got it all wrong.
    Regarding the “peace process”, i support 2 state solution and and stoping building in the settlements but there will never be peace between israel and the palestinian, the whole national ideas of the paletinians are build on the fact of resisting the existence of israel.
    Change is gonna come? i don’t think so.

    • 30 patti in cape coral
      June 4, 2009 at 15:37

      Despite the fact that he was not addressing an American or European crowd, he did receive a standing ovation, so at the very least, he knows a little about what they think and what they want. He spoke a lot about wanting peace, and that desire isn’t particular to just Americans and Europeans, is it? I agree with the other bloggers, though, that it will depend more on actions, but it seems like an auspicious beginning at least.

    • 31 Hopeful in Belgium
      June 4, 2009 at 16:26

      Many people said there could never be peace in Ireland and lo and behold it happened!

      Maybe we need to have a little hope before change can begin?

  18. 33 Meir Avrahami
    June 4, 2009 at 15:07

    It is nice to see a fresh approach but I am concerned that in order to offer his hand in friendship to the Arab world there are those who expect him to offer Israel on a plate

  19. 34 Roy, Washington DC
    June 4, 2009 at 15:08

    @ Pink

    You’re right…Obama’s actions are what will make the difference. Here’s where is he very different from Bush, though: Bush had a tendency to throw the USA’s military and political weight around, while Obama realizes that we need to preserve diplomacy if we’re going to get anywhere. If Obama continues to follow this track, hopefully we’ll see much better results in the long term than we did with Bush.

  20. 35 Mohammed Ali
    June 4, 2009 at 15:18

    Obama speach will have a positive historical place if it is not all rhetorics. If this is truly a new beginning, then like Obama said we must say the truth and confront the present.

  21. 36 wassila younes
    June 4, 2009 at 15:44

    Mr obama tried to repare what was distroyed by the previuos administration in terms of international relations.

  22. 38 deryck/trinidad
    June 4, 2009 at 15:49

    Mr Obama’s speech was well done as it focused on:

    1.extremism in the world.

    2.tension between Israel, Palestine and the Arab world.

    3.rights and resposibilities of nations with acees to nuclear weapons.

    4.democracy.

    5.religious freedom.

    6.women’s rights.

    7.economic development and opportunity.

    This is an aweful lot of areas that Mr Obama has touched on, the reality is although his speech was great to those of us in the West, the true test will be the reaction of muslims and arabs. I love the speech but I will not cease to be objective in my judgement of the actions of the West.

    I know that the Muslim world will listen to the speech but will look at the crimes done to their people in Afghanistan where a US plane killed many civilians early in May. They will also look at the internal war in Pakistan and the number of Internally Displaced People as well as those killed and wounded. They will try to reconcile the platitudes of peace with the reality of the dead and displaced.

    Mr Obama has provided a framework and outlined the way forward.He must now add meat, sinew and blood to his skeleton to bring it to life. To use a cliche Actions speak louder than words.

  23. June 4, 2009 at 15:56

    Obama’s speech must have a resonance around the Muslim world as it appears conciliatory in its tone. It seeks to reconcile the US with the rest of the Muslim world after eight years of Bush administration (2001-2009) that witnessed an escalation of hatred towards the USA following the successive invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The words Obama used like quotations from the Koran ( to which he refers four times)and Islamic expression like “assalaamu alaykum” , “azaan ” and “Mohammed (peace be upon them) ” is a good public relation strategy to have more effect on the Muslim audience.

    However, it will take time for the US and the Muslim world to have deep trust. The US will always be worried about the existing Muslim Fundamentalists which it sees as a time-bomb that can explode anywhere at anytime . The extremists will view Obama’s speech as a ploy to reinforce US interests in the Muslim world. It’s sugared with sweet words for sour acts.

    On the whole Obama has carefully chosen his words and said what the majority of Muslims want to hear from him. It remains to see how he can enact his dream of an ideal relationship with the Muslim world where there is so much to do to eradicate the negative views many Muslims have towards the USA.

  24. 40 Andrew in Australia
    June 4, 2009 at 16:01

    Words, words, words. That’s all we hear from Obama. Pretty words, nicely delivered, but just words. Like our new Australian PM, he was the shiny new toy for the US and the world, but deeds speak louder than words. Let’s hope that’s the only similarity he has with the Australian leader as his gloss has worn off to reveal little substance and limited deeds. All too often we hear words with not much else to back them up and the warm fuzzy feelings we get when we see our leaders receiving their ovations are very transient indeed when considering the problems we all face.

  25. June 4, 2009 at 16:01

    Hi VictorK
    Too much media savvy, too little substance. Bad timing. Iran is well prepared and celebrating 30th Anniversary of Khomeini regime, one week from presidential elections. “Don’t do this! Don’t do that!” He sounds like the Guardian Council.

  26. 42 ARTHUR NJUGUNA
    June 4, 2009 at 16:01

    In speech, this president is a real acrobat. Knowing the current geopolitics that was shaped before he came to power, he has made a candid balancing act akin to rope walking across the Niagra or across the floor full of booby traps. He personifies several personalities; the president, the ambassador, salesman, the pacifist, the commander in chief and the evangelist (I wonder if the pope is going to read into this speech). What is hard to figure out is the final make over of Obama and whether this change is complete. He is not completely a free will president because he is still chained to a world of ideas baked by hardliners and zealots across the divide.
    Ironically, his ideas seem to have a penetrating impact more powerful than gun powder. That aside, there is a no nonsense (decisive) message delivered on Iran which might be the genesis of this tour patronage issues aside.

    I think though that he provides a good blue print for peace in the world if all nations buy into his ideas.

  27. 43 Anthony
    June 4, 2009 at 16:03

    It was a great speech, I think a lot of people around the world have been given hope. I would have LOVED to see Bush give that speech. Imagine him saying “a salam malakum”. He’d be,”I’m salami makin'”, haha.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  28. June 4, 2009 at 16:06

    WOW! Obama did it again!!! The man has a precious gift to “tell it how it is” enveloped with “yes, we can change things”.

    Of the messages posted so far, I see some tentative hope that we can make change happen contrasted with a lot of skepticism that change is possible or even desirable. This was the same response when Obama first presented his message to the American people three years ago… and look where we are now. Obama is President, and he leads with a cohesive vision that is slowly being implemented against continuing obstruction from those who would preserve “the old days”.
    My Point? The change that is happening in the US can happen elsewhere in the world, if citizens compel their leaders to embrace change. We have it the easiest in the US because Obama is our elected leader, though he can only implement that change with the concerted and continuing support of American citizens. For the rest of the world, Obama is prodding other leaders to improve life for their people (which is an important start), but only the thoughtful and vocal support of the people for those improvements will lead to change in other countries.

    For those who doubt or hate Mr. Obama’s message in Cairo today, I tell you that change is possible. It is difficult to make change happen, but it feels so good to crawl out of the fear and look to hope and possibilities. It is happening in the US, but only because our people support it. The choice is yours as to what you will build for your children in your country.

    (

  29. 45 Ibrahim in UK
    June 4, 2009 at 16:07

    I thought it was a great speech, he said all the right words which people wanted to hear. A change in approach may take a few generations, but each journey starts with a small step.

    I am concerned that he made his speech in a country that is ruled in a state of emergency by a dictator for nearly 30 years, and that this dictator is the second highest recipient of US aid. Will Obama continue America’s tradition of supporting tyrants and opposing democracy when it serves US interests? This only creates enemies which harms US interests in the long run.

    I was surprised were his comments on Palestine, comparing their plight to the suffering of slavery and apartheid. The solution to those problems was to grant black people full rights as equal citizens, I don’t recall the mention of creating a separate state for blacks as a solution to apartheid. Strange then that he advocates a separate state for Arabs and Jews in this context. At least he has gone further than any US president before, and recognised that Israel displaced the Palestinians.

    Finally, violence IS a legitimate form of resistance. Europeans employed violent resistance to Nazi occupation, almost every nation that was occupied resisted violently to it’s occupiers, regardless of religion. Palestinians are entitled to the same option. Very rarely does occupation and ethnic cleansing respond to kind words alone.

    • 46 RightPaddock
      June 5, 2009 at 13:38

      Obama invoked the memory of Mahatma Gandhi & Martin Luther King to urge the Palestinians to turn away from violence.

      If Washington had followed that advice then the USA would have remained a British colony

      If Bahadur Shah II and his sepoys had done the same then perhaps Queen Elizabeth II would be the Empress of India,

      Had Vo Nguyen Giap not fought at Dien Bien Phu then Vietnam would be a French colony.

  30. 47 rash
    June 4, 2009 at 16:08

    a bunch of well prepared flowery words wont change the reality, Mr.Obama…so get back to reality.

  31. 48 steve
    June 4, 2009 at 16:10

    Obama kept on talking about the “Holy Quran”, I can’t imagine the backlash Bush would have gotten had he talked about the “holy bible”. I think any US president would get hell for talking about a christian text being “holy”.

  32. 49 Steve in Boston
    June 4, 2009 at 16:24

    I have to say I agree with Jennifer and Victor K, and that I am appalled by Pink’s distorted discourse on Israel, which recites chapter and verse the extremist Muslim line of anti-semitic (yes Pink, there’s no difference) propaganda. If you can’t understand why America supports Israel, it’s because you voluntarily choose to ignore the truth about Israel, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, etc.

    We’re not all quite as stupid as we look.

  33. 50 Shamis
    June 4, 2009 at 16:29

    Good speech Mr Obama. I hope the (Arab) Muslims will change and improve the rights of women and blacks in the Arab World.

  34. 51 Tom K in Mpls
    June 4, 2009 at 16:47

    It was a pretty speech. Philosophically, it stated the simple and obvious truths found in a belief that everyone is different and has a right to live according to their individual beliefs. That to me is a welcome change. As for change, Obama will not be in office long enough to make an obvious change. He faces differences almost four thousand years old after all. But hopefully he will be the one to restart a change.

  35. June 4, 2009 at 16:49

    in response to VictorK’s comment of “If only liberals like Obama would learn this lesson: but then, they wouldn’t be liberals.”

    Check your history. It was conservative George W. Bush who invaded Iraq, then pursued nation building. What’s worse, after realizing his blunder, he tried to shroud the invasion as an attempt to “spread democracy.” Is it America’s job to invade countries that were not a threat, and then to spread democracy? Ask the conservatives who supported this bad mistake.

  36. 53 Anthony
    June 4, 2009 at 16:56

    @ rash

    Yeah, thinking that peace can be acheived. How silly of him. That reminds me of Lincolns “Gettysburg Address” and Martin Luther Kings “I Have a Dream” speech. What a bunch of dreamers living in the clouds.

    Last time I checked just about EVERY time change happened it started with words. Words almost ALWAYS come before actions.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  37. 54 Yassir
    June 4, 2009 at 17:00

    President Obama’s speech was just amazing. I have never seen an Arab leader quote a verse from the Holy Quran that was not already mentioned in a written speech.
    Aside from the speech quality, Obama told us what he thinks, believes, and is willing to do. It is just plain naive to think that he should solve a sixty-plus year crisis TODAY!!.
    Such a great LEADER!!

  38. 55 Asher
    June 4, 2009 at 17:01

    Either Mr.Obama is an orthodox appeaser or just guillible. Over a period of 3 years Hamas has fired 8000 rockets deliberatly at Israeli civillians in Sedorot.
    Niether Hamas or the PLA said they would recognise Israel as a Jewish State.
    Hezbolla, Iran and Hamas want to ‘wipe Israel off the map’
    Mr. Obama compares the ‘Suffering’ of the Palestinians to that of the Negros in the USA. (sic)
    Israeli Arabs have always had a right to vote and stand for the Kenneset.
    They do not have to serve in the Israeli army.
    Fifty years ago – American Negros were conscrited in to the US Army but had no civil rights. Who I wonder has the longer history of deprivation? – Coloured Americans – or Israeli Arabs?
    I suppose one could say Mr. Obama is a politiician – not a mathematician

  39. June 4, 2009 at 17:07

    Hey Ros,
    The speech of Mr Obama did really manage to touch my heart, it was like 45 minutes of happy day-dreaming, and after it ended-Oh, time to get back to the real world with all of its complexities, prejuidices, and arrogances… After the speech, Israel will continue her own pathway which is of course far away above the international law and justice, after the speech Arab dictators will go on oppressing their people on daily bases, ect., ect.,. But still I loved the speech, it was like 45 minutes of truth, honesty, and open-mindedness that we all were in a desparate need to… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  40. 57 viola
    June 4, 2009 at 17:15

    This blog sure is good at highlighting the fact that everyone speaks through their personal world views and biases.

    O.K. My bias is that it was an excellent speech which stroked everyone but also clearly stated that America and Americans desire peace but not at the price of tolerating insane attacks on innocent people. The speech made one point that all should sit up and pay attention to: As president of the United States, Obama’s first responsibility is to the United States and its people. The U.S. is not a world government and Obama was not elected president of the world. In the final analysis, he must answer to the American people for his actions and policies. The same is true for leaders of other countries.

    He found the correct course between those in the U.S. who react and overreact and lust for revenge and those timid souls who would do anything, including tolerate the sacrifice of some of its innocents in the name of placating those who deliberately target innocents and wish to destroy America.

  41. 58 UMOH AMOS (from Nigeria)
    June 4, 2009 at 17:16

    Good speech though!
    The context and content of the speech had every flavour of the American president that the world knew decades ago -one who commands the attention and influence of the world.

    Am not an American as it were but I make bold to say to say that America is fast regaining her place on the world stage.

    Almost everything (including the ‘wind’) seems to be working in President Obama’s favor. Personally I am confident of our world much more that I was some couple of years ago. The is a greater level of peace that I have in our world today, despite the actions of North Korea, Iran, etc. I am again sure that within the next couple of months / years, those issues will be fixed, not on the war stage, but on the negotiating table.

    Kudos to Obama and to the American people for the faith they have had in themselves as a nation, over the rather tough years

  42. 59 Ibrahim in UK
    June 4, 2009 at 17:23

    I thought it was a great speech, he said all the right words which people wanted to hear. A change in approach may take a few generations, but each journey starts with a small step.

    I was surprised by his comments on Palestine, comparing their plight to the suffering of slavery and apartheid. The solution to those problems was to grant black people full rights as equal citizens, I don’t recall the mention of creating a separate state for blacks as a solution to apartheid. Strange then that he advocates a separate state for Arabs and Jews in this context. At least he has gone further than any US president before, and recognised that Israel displaced the Palestinians.

    Finally, violence IS a legitimate form of resistance. Europeans employed violent resistance to Nazi occupation, almost every nation that was occupied resisted violently to it’s occupiers, regardless of religion. Palestinians are entitled to the same option. Very rarely does occupation and ethnic cleansing respond to kind words alone.

  43. 60 Musa
    June 4, 2009 at 17:26

    I’m hopeful long time ago that USA will go back and take its right role as leaders of the world on the basis of justice and equality. the treatment i observed is done to muslims at the US immigration alone, made me to give a listening ears to hardline muslims.but im still confident that leadership of this world cannot come from those kings or hijackers of Islam who do not even respect the simple tenants of respect for life and justice in the Quran.two wrongs cannot make a right. Obama has spoken the bitter truth.I wish him well towards those laid down objectives.
    Musa Bala(Phd student, malaysia)

  44. 61 Jessica in NYC
    June 4, 2009 at 17:31

    President Obama’s speech was balanced and delivered due praise of the Muslim community and scorn of religious extremist. He did not falter from acknowledging the tumultuous history between the west and east. As President Obama said we need not stay trapped in the past. We cannot change minds overnight, but we need to start somewhere.

    I am proud to have such an eloquent leader. Brovo!

  45. 62 Ibrahim in UK
    June 4, 2009 at 17:31

    @ Asher

    The Palestinian suffering (I don’t know why you place that word in quotes, it’s as strange as putting the word holocaust in quotes) is real and well-documented by all sides of the conflict. The discrimination against Israeli Arabs is also well-documented.
    One of the biggest injustices however was the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, and the denial of the Arabs their right to return. Any (I mean ANY) Jew from any country is allowed settlement and nationality in Israel, but an Arab who was displaced from his home during the creation of Israel is forbidden from setting foot.

  46. 63 Edmond Durst (in Cairo)
    June 4, 2009 at 17:38

    Did anyone else catch Obama’s remarkable comparison of the plight of Palestinians to “black people in America (who) suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation”?

  47. 64 deryck/trinidad
    June 4, 2009 at 17:39

    It would be great if more people from the Arab and Muslim world would post their comments so we can hear what they think.

    Especially on the issues of Israel and Palestine, women’s rights, democracy, religious freedom and economic development with an emphasis on education.

  48. 65 Robert from Sydney Oz
    June 4, 2009 at 17:45

    When the French Open is on, the nature of world politics changes for many people as the conflicts realise in personal encounters on bright red clay courts which embrace the hopeful players in a permutation of sex, age and relgious or non-religious combinations but having the common thread of a final winner with a losert who has not sacrificed his or her lives in the contest.

    B.H. Obama now US President makes this june 2009 Cairo address that resonates in my mind along with the classic speeches of thge 20th Century, I was interested from the outset in his emergence in the 21st Century.He has the ability of the Roger Federer/Martina Natrilova talents for long term strategic tennis stardom. He has the personality which is bursting with a promised equity for all people, irrespective of country or culture. he is showing already his potential as the “Man for all seasons” for the important years ahead. HIs speech stirs in me the same feeling of reconcilliation that Nelson Mandella, achieved not long ago.

    I can never appreciate the situation of tension in the Middle East as a citizen of Oz it is just not possible to recreate. Even the process of tension with the indigenous brothers and sisters of the Aboriginal Nations and the white invaders here has no parallel to the Middle East conflict, time always is on the side of the indigenous here as their culture has lasted now over 40,000 years.

    These things I already see between the lines of the US President’s speech a global connection that is being bravely attempted like an extraterrestrial music score.

    The speech is a good one, in my view and it makes me think a bit more, that is an outcome that others may wish to amplify, to whatever outcome, the world is now going to be a different place.

  49. 66 Bruno
    June 4, 2009 at 17:47

    What a powerful speech !
    It may just be words for now, but they are important words.
    What a change compared to the previous administration it is ! American people can be proud of their president.

  50. 67 Crispo
    June 4, 2009 at 17:56

    So finally it did come. As expected, the overtures were in abundance. Obama’s intentions might be right, his words eloquently worded and delivered, but yet again, past actions by America betray him. No body believes him because like he said, ‘…he represents and serves America and its interests’ even though we are not sure of what it might be this time. One reason is, like lawyers do refer to the ‘law of presidence’ the public uses previous records of American action to judge Obama and rush to dismiss him. I don’t want to conclude on Obama but i’m not yet decided on giving him a chance to deliver. Remember its America and it’ll never be different. In Africa we say ‘a snake never gives birth to a lion cub’.

  51. 68 chidi (from Minneapolis, US)
    June 4, 2009 at 18:08

    To all the cynical people on this blog……… Obama can’t and won’t change the world!…. however you have to admit that in order for anything concrete to develop in terms of US foreign policy and world peace someone has to take the lead. For those of you who don’t understand global politics the speech was not designed to dictate policy it was designed to stir up debate among the nations that are in conflict.

  52. 69 Bob Schedler
    June 4, 2009 at 18:08

    I cannot understand how so many people can give in-depth assesments to the speech ……
    1. The first half of the speech was interspersed, ie broken into, twice by 2 specialists telling us what they think of the speech, and
    2. The second half of the speech was not broadcast at all.
    I had to continue watching/listening with Euronews.

  53. 70 Steve/Oregon
    June 4, 2009 at 18:12

    I think that hillbilly from the south should watch something besides fox news

  54. 71 Tom D Ford
    June 4, 2009 at 18:14

    I think this speech greatly resembles Lincolns Gettysburg Address.

  55. 72 Scott - FL, USA
    June 4, 2009 at 18:14

    It’s all smoke and mirrors. Obama is interested in one thing…getting reelected next term.

  56. 73 Dan
    June 4, 2009 at 18:15

    Shamis makes an excellent point. Was Obama’s speech good enough for the Islamic nations to cease the brutality and oppression of women throughout the Arab Islamic lands?

  57. June 4, 2009 at 18:17

    Apart from everything else Obama’s skill in speech-making is phenomenal. It’s over eight years since we experienced a US president who spoke in full sentences, correct grammar, and intelligent style. His knowledge of politics and history is astounding, as is his ability to somehow endear himself to his audience by his uncanny skill with words. Let’s just look on Obama as the best thing that’s happened to the US in the last decade, and let’s give him the chance to deliver what he promises.
    Meg
    Agulhas
    South Africa

  58. June 4, 2009 at 18:19

    Obama’s visit of Muslim World will definitely make the change in the thinking of the Muslim people if there are any hatred against U.S. Now it’s time, every Muslim must have to take and think positively to have a friendly relationship with the world.

  59. June 4, 2009 at 18:23

    Obama’s speech was great – he said just what needed to be said. He challenged the stereotypes among Muslims and Westerners and spelled out the terms of a reconciliation. I am confident that a large majority of Americans will support his views.

    So I was surprised that the American and Israeli you put on the air to comment were both very critical of Obama, since 65% of Americans support him and a similar proportion of Israelis favor a two-state solution. Perhaps there are some stereotypes at the BBC regarding US and Israeli views?

  60. 77 steve
    June 4, 2009 at 18:23

    @ SCott

    It’s all smoke and mirrors. Obama is interested in one thing…getting reelected next term.

    —-

    Egyptians can’t vote in US elections.

  61. 78 Kurt From Oregon
    June 4, 2009 at 18:29

    I’m going to say something pretty dangerous for an American. I don’t see why Israel has a “right” to exist. Why does a young, artificially created nation get so much special treatment? The holocaust? This doesn’t make sense. The Nazis wanted to perge Jews from the area they controled, now the Jews perge the Palestinians from area they control. Yeah, there aren’t concentration camps with mass killings, but I bet there are Palestinians who don’t feel too far from it.

    • 79 patti in cape coral
      June 4, 2009 at 18:50

      I wouldn’t go as far as Kurt to say why Israel has a right to exist, I agree that it gets a lot of special treatment that is sometimes puzzling. It often has crossed my mind why it is so unacceptable as an American to express any kind of disagreement with the Israeli view of things. I have also never understood why we are such strong allies with Israel. I’m probably displaying my ignorance on this subject. I have a friend that insists that it is really all about oil. I thought that it was because we are a “mostly” Christian country, and we “share” a common God. Can anyone enlighten me?

    • 80 Tom K in Mpls
      June 4, 2009 at 19:37

      Kurt, ‘right’ is irrelevant. They do exist and therefore rate the same treatment as anyone else. Also I make a major distinction between Jews and Israel just as with Muslims and Iran or US and yuppies. Other than that, I agree completely. Read my earlier posts.

  62. 81 Ripon in Feni, Bangladesh
    June 4, 2009 at 18:32

    The words weren’t showy. Obama uttered what he believed to be true. He wasn’t biased to any corner. What better solution can we present at the moment? We shouldn’t indulge our expectation to be too much high to dream that Obama will solve middle-east crisis overnight by a single speech. His speech reveals his sincere willingness towards a logical solution. He will do another a right job if he along with all others initiate an arrangement to bring Laden, the frankenstein of Bush, to trial where Bush saved that criminal.

  63. 82 Don Robertson
    June 4, 2009 at 18:33

    Unlike Bush, I don’t expect Obama to be calling Isreal any time soon to be told what his foriegn policy is. That alone is cause for hope in the Middle East. from St Albert, Alberta, Canada

  64. 83 patti in cape coral
    June 4, 2009 at 18:34

    I see a recurring theme of actions speaking louder than words, and I agree… but shouldn’t actions start with words and dialogue? For those who are not impressed by Mr. Obama’s words, what actions to you suggest?

  65. 84 Liz
    June 4, 2009 at 18:38

    Although I have not been entirely satisfied with President Obama, his remarks towards Palestinians was revolutionary. He has admitted their oppression and the fact that the West Bank and Gaza are occupied territories, filled with occupied peoples. This is more recognition towards their humanity than we’ve seen any member of the US government state. I hope that his words can be turned into action.

  66. 85 chidi (from Minneapolis, US)
    June 4, 2009 at 18:40

    In continuation to my last post. Obama can’t set concrete policy without gaining the trust of the Muslim and Arab world. To all the people who criticized him for not coming up with hard policies after only being in office for about four months clearly don’t understand the pace and delicacy of foreign policy.

  67. June 4, 2009 at 18:40

    Obamas speech was refreshing to listen. I was realy impressed by how he was able to extend a hand of friendship rather than the usual subtle western racist chides ‘you are backwards and we are better than you’. And his quoting the Holy Quran realy took me by suprise. Is Obama going to bring peace to the middle east anytime soon? Probably not, but the fact that he is trying to ‘repair’ relations with muslims is a good start. Finally this US president gets it. He gets that Muslims all round the world dont want favours from the US but Justice,Fairness, Respect and Dignity. Am looking foward to the next four years.

  68. 87 A.J.
    June 4, 2009 at 18:45

    Why can’t President Obama just be praised for making a genuine effort to redirect the dialogue and begin a new positive approach to the Middle East? Why not look at what he says NOT as unattainable promises and rhetoric, but as a HOPE for a better way forward with a universal desire for those things that would improve the lot for all people in the region (and world) beginning with an honest, mutual respect for one another. Problems in the Middle East are exemplified by a deeply imbedded mutual distrust and disrespect that shows itself daily in the vitriolic exchanges as we heard just a few minutes ago between the Gaza resident and the Israeli man. The world needs an injection of new, positive spirit towards reconciliation and honest brokerage in solving problems. Perhaps, beginning with speeches, Mr. Obama can begin a new chapter in approaching difficult issues fairly with ultimately, a more beneficial and agreeable outcome for all. It is up to the feuding parties themselves to put aside their hatred and make real efforts toward peace and understanding. But, first they have to actually LISTEN to one another and be prepared to make compromises and concessions. I hope President Obama CAN help to inspire that kind of diplomacy.

  69. June 4, 2009 at 18:45

    Obama addressed Palestinian violence, but was silent when it came to condemning Israel for its violence. He would have done better to have maintained balance. Comparing now-random suicide bombings with the Israeli closure of the Gaza border just does not cut it. He could have referenced the near-daily Israeli invasions of Palestine which result in the deaths of Palestinians who never saw a day in court.

  70. June 4, 2009 at 18:45

    Salaam again… I do believe that the most honest phrase that Mr Obama ever used in his speech was that the plight of the Palestinians is intolerable… The fully independent, fully soverign, and respect-worthy Palestinian state on the 1967 lands isn’t only a legitimate dream, but is also an inevitable reality that will surely be an undeniable fact on the ground supported by the resolutions of international law and also by any human being around the world who believes that EVERY human being on this planet absolutely deserves to live in dignity and honour… The emphasis of Mr Obama in his speech on the absolute legitimacy of the fully independent Palestinian state and the absolute necessity of halting the construction processes in the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank ir really remarkable… I as an ordinary Middle Eastern citizen have absolutely no problems at all with the followers of any religion, I just hate occupiers with passion…

  71. 91 Ahmad Baba Altine
    June 4, 2009 at 18:45

    Muslim Countries do not require anything from America

  72. 93 Nate, Portland OR
    June 4, 2009 at 18:46

    Haven’t got to the speech yet (its still morning here), but from the reactions it seems to have been about as good as it could be.

    My concern is that if America follows through on Obama’s speech and makes significant, important changes regarding its deeds in some Muslim nations that we won’t see much in return. There’s been a few asides on the show that American’s are arrogant. I don’t entirely disagree, but when it comes to arrogance the cultural arrogance of Muslims seems at least on par with American’s – with the primary difference being one of means.

    If America behaves more fairly, will religious minorities be allowed to thrive, rather than barely survive, in Muslim lands? Will an overwhelming majority of Muslim scholars discover and widely publicize a sound theological basis for not simply tolerating non-Muslims (with second-class status and the expectation that their non-Islamic culture will die out), but rather for true, full equality for non-Muslims in the eyes of Muslims? Will the intolerant portions of the Koran and Suna become like the book of Leviticus for the vast majority of Christians – a strange and often cruel set of rules that have long since become obsolete.

  73. 94 Kurt From Oregon
    June 4, 2009 at 18:49

    People like “Daniel in Cleveland” are the reason I’m ashamed to be an American some of the time.

  74. 95 M H Rudolph
    June 4, 2009 at 18:50

    I listened carefully to Obama’s speach. While the press treat it as an address aimed at the Muslim world, I heard him talk about needs and aspirations with which all people can identify, and about the barriers we can all recognize and are sometimes responsible for. As with all efforts to make progress, one has to take a first step, and he has done that well.

  75. 96 steve
    June 4, 2009 at 18:51

    Curious, why does WHYS read some comments that have absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand other than it was just a jab at the USA? You read the comment of some Sudanese person living in the US who wants the US to apologize for slavery and racial profiling of black drivers. What exactly did that have to do with today’s show?

  76. 97 Frank
    June 4, 2009 at 18:53

    In that case Ahmad — dont take anything

    Is it not true that the USA has to this day got to pay to

    provide the Egyptian people with bread ?

  77. 98 margaret-Ohio
    June 4, 2009 at 18:53

    Hello- I am listening and had to comment on the comment from Daniel. Unfortunately it is just this attitude- that America does not have to apologize for anything that has others in the world enraged at the United States. Should not all people apologize when they feel wrong actions or attitudes have been embraced???

  78. 100 John Foster
    June 4, 2009 at 18:54

    Wow, America should not apologize for anything or be concilatory to anyone?!?! So we can overthrow governments and invade a country for false reasons and not be worried about what others think in the world?!?! I think that kind of attitude only makes Americans less secure in the world. It is also pragmatic to be concilatory to your enemies if you can not possibly defeat them all.

  79. 101 Noel Kinnamon
    June 4, 2009 at 18:54

    This is probably too late, but I can’t resist responding to some of my fellow US citizens who claim to speak for the “grassroots,” etc. The truth is that most “Americans” are deeply impressed by Obama’s eloquence in the Cairo speech. He is just what we have needed: level-headed, fair-minded, etc. Those who don’t like him are extremists on either the right or the left. And there are relatively few of those these days. I listened to Obama speak this morning, and I kept saying to myself, “That is my president, and I am very proud of him.” I acknowledge that I misjudged him during the primaries. I thought I preferred Clinton. I now think that the US electorate made exactly the right decision.

  80. 102 chidi (from Minneapolis, US)
    June 4, 2009 at 18:55

    I agree Steve!

  81. 103 Tom D Ford
    June 4, 2009 at 18:55

    The responses from Conservatives just highlight the Bible passage about “not throwing pearls before swine”, they are not willing to hear and think about what Obama is saying.

  82. 104 Tom D Ford
    June 4, 2009 at 19:01

    For some reason I am reminded that it was the Conservative Religious leaders of the time who had Jesus set up to be killed because of his teachings about peace and forgiveness and “do not do unto others what you would not want done to yourself”.

  83. 105 Jennifer
    June 4, 2009 at 19:04

    “Re: “It’s all smoke and mirrors. Obama is interested in one thing…getting reelected next term.”

    Bingo; we have a winner!!!

    It’s like the campaign trail all over again. Talking is good but it is not the same as actions. It’s like Gitmo; Obama said he would close it without considering that it was not realistic…..

  84. 106 Jennifer
    June 4, 2009 at 19:05

    P.S.

    Sorry you had to hear the actions thing one more time! haha :P

  85. 107 rob w
    June 4, 2009 at 19:06

    There is no definition of what it means to be an American, or rather a citizen of the United States, the constitution is probably closest. Is it part of the constitution to never apologise? Totally absurd macho rhetoric.

    On the flip side, what people in the west find difficult to accept about the Middle East is the oppression of women, other religions including atheists, and minority groups. It seems it is easier to blame the west for interfering than take a good look at their own societies first. The Middle East has certainly had a hand in interfering in Western politics. As long as I’ve been alive, there have been terrorist attacks from various different groups, some with a point, some just totally nuts and against everything we stand for. Plus there are huge communites of people originally from the middle east who live happy successful lives in Europe and the US.

  86. 108 CJ McAuley
    June 4, 2009 at 19:13

    If Iraq was a “war of choice”, then why are not Bush&Blair accused of war crimes?

    • 109 Tom K in Mpls
      June 4, 2009 at 19:58

      CJ McAuleythey are. Britain has announced Blair will have to face this once all of their troops are out of Iraq. The ICC has announced they want Bush when they have finished with Bashir. I am one American that desperately hopes we get to Bush before the ICC, but right now that would be political suicide for Obama.

  87. 110 Sal
    June 4, 2009 at 19:14

    nothing will change until the american peoples perception of muslims change. also, the american people need to get off there high horse and realize that when you do wring you need to rectify the situation and apologizing is just the beginning.

    obama’s speech was so slick and P.C. it made think of a used car salesman. in the ling run he will actually have ruined the relation with the Arab world due to lack of action.

    for the people that think he should be commended for the speech live in LaLa land. another robot going through the motions.

    empty words. words with out action = nothing

    i am northern California and it scares me when i think of what people think of muslims in the south and the mid west.

    obama is great at speeches but thats where the buck stops.

  88. 111 Tom D Ford
    June 4, 2009 at 19:17

    Darn good speech!

    Standing up and telling the truth is hard to counter, because telling the truth penetrates past minds and into hearts and that’s where it counts.

    • 112 Sal
      June 4, 2009 at 19:29

      yeah good speech no doubt, he is so good taht he should teach debating and speech. Leaders don’t do speeches they take action. action is what a leader is remembered for not his empty words.

  89. 114 VictorK
    June 4, 2009 at 19:31

    Nice to hear from you Akbar. I agree: Obama – a great reader of a teleprompter supported by good speech writers, but with little grasp of hard realities. A media President full of sound-bites signifying a lot less than they initially appear to.

    @Tom: Pat Buchanan is a conservative; George Bush originally passed himself off as one but, once elected President, ended up following a ‘neoconservative’ (which is to say unconservative) foreign policy. The disasters still unfolding in Iraq and Afghanistan were predicted by conservative prophets like Buchanan, Paul Gottfried, Thomas Fleming & Clyde Wilson. Take a look at the web versions of magazines like ‘Chronicles’ and ‘The American Conservative’ to educate yourself on this point. Conservatives/paleoconservatives are resolutely opposed to the Iraq and Afghan interventions, tolerate ‘capitalism’ while subordinating economics to society and social considerations (many of them hate corporations as deeply as any leftist), regard George Bush (rather unfairly, I think) with contempt, are critical of American policy towards Israel (unacceptably servile), don’t regard Obama as an American except in a technical sense, and are generally America First-ers and foreign policy isolationists. Neocons are a sub-species of the genus ‘liberal’.

  90. 115 rash
    June 4, 2009 at 19:34

    @ Steve

    it more than re-election he is after..but right now, he probably settled down to extensive media coverage…

  91. 116 VictorK
    June 4, 2009 at 19:49

    Isn’t there something insincere and self-defeating in Obama’s determination, when he gives these set-piece speeches, to stick in something that will appeal to everybody, even if it means the speech, taken as a whole, is incoherent and contradictory (exhortations to democracy preached from the despotism that is Egypt, the Saudis as partners in promoting religious tolerance, majoring on the US not being at war with Islam and ignoring Islam’s aggressive posture towards the US and the West, supporting Israel and supporting those committed to Israel’s destruction, etc)?

    Obama regards himself as a unifier who transcends ordinary politics. This leads to his (increasingly stale) technique of tri-partite speechifying, where his speeches are drafted as if they’d been cobbled together by three different writers, a leftist (the largest input), a centrist and a rightist, with sound-bites covering the whole political spectrum, and claims sometimes made based on invented facts – so long as it means every constituency gets something to pleae it (e.g. the references to Andalusia and Cordoba, which were in fact at the time ‘occupied territories’, not beacons of tolerance and co-existence). Pleasing everybody and devising sound and efficacious policies are incompatible goals. Obama is still more of a speechifier than a politician.

  92. 117 Connie in Florida
    June 4, 2009 at 20:06

    Listening to WHYS today, I was struck at how much damage was done on all sides to moderation, tolerance, trust and good-will by 8 hate-filled, extremist and rabble-rousing years of Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Rove. Those were evil years. Obama has begun the reconciliation by attempting to ostracize radical extremists on all sides. Listen, world!

  93. 118 Abram
    June 4, 2009 at 20:29

    Obama delivered a great speach from a racist University which doesn’t allow non-Moslem students into its faculties.

  94. 119 Fred
    June 4, 2009 at 21:35

    Good on length -message all skewed .

    First he goes to Saudi Arabia then Egypt

    the home of Theocratic Islam and the leading non Democratic

    Arab States respectively and then on to Germany home of Nazism

    And he apologises !

    What is the matter with someone else saying maybe we are at fault

    sometimes ?

    Then the BBC is going on about what he said about Israel and the

    Palestinian Arabs – his comments on that topic were not accurate

    or factually based at all . He can talk for an Arab and BBC audience about

    “Settlements ” until the cows come home but they are living communities

    in towns and villages which are on disputed territories –not Arab lands

    – the lands which the

    Arabs fought against Israel for in 1948 and 1967 . Did he forget that

    Trans Jordanians occupied the West Bank and the Egyptians occupied Gaza

    between 1948 and 1967 when the idiotic Nasser and King Hussein went to

    war and lost ?.

  95. June 4, 2009 at 21:36

    Obama made speech which toched the mines of most muslim world,but in other hand Usama bin Ladan suggest the muslim to be aware not make ally to the westerners jews and cristians,I want know what did the statement means?

  96. 121 Fred
    June 4, 2009 at 21:51

    Me again – An expert Political Studies friend in the know in N America has just sent this comment to me ;

    This is a deeply damaging speech, and demonstration of desperately bad policy for the future of democratic nations.
    Obama has revised history to suit a distorted world view.
    The US displayed its abandonment of democracies across the globe, and today sided with dictatorships, terrorist entities and theocracies.
    It is hard to know where to start in correcting the errors in this bizarre speech. The whole thing is riddled with lies, bias and twisted stories.
    We are in for a rough 4 years, and the eventual clean up is going to be worse than Jiminy Carter’s reign of ineptitude.
    It is hard to believe that someone supposedly so intelligent is doing all this out of naivety.
    This is a Chamberlain moment.
    Clinton has already allowed North Korea to proliferate nuclear weapons, and with the Iranians supervising the recent North Korean explosions, it will not be long before Iran have their own. [ He will wait until the end of 2009 !]
    We know what is coming, and yet the leader of the free world has today given encouragement to those who would destroy and effectively said that he will not stand in their way.
    Rather, he will ease their passage to their goals.
    It is insanity.

  97. 122 Bazza
    June 4, 2009 at 21:56

    Instead of throwing shoes at him, they applauded….. Isn’t that internationally recognised as a sign of acceptance? But saying that, you will always find neo-cons trying to find something wrong with the speech. It is a simple answer to a complex question: Why don’t we house all the Muslim extremists and the Far Right neo-cons on one island and let them sort of EXTINCT themselves !!! Problem solved !

  98. 123 David L.
    June 4, 2009 at 22:03

    President Obama has delivered a courageous and timely address!

  99. 124 Joy
    June 4, 2009 at 23:04

    Obama claimed he brought with him the goodwill of the American people when he deleivered his strongly pro Palestinian message.
    Yet just before he left a huge majority in the House of Representatives and a slightly smaller one in the Senate gave him a clear an unequivocal message not to abandon American support for Israel.
    the one thing most despised in the political world is for people to tailor what they say to their audience and give different messages according to what they think their audience wants to hear.
    Obama speaks of the bond between Israel and the US being unbreakable on the one hand and then spends the rest of the speech distancing himself from Israel and making demands he knows are unacceptable.
    As for the BBC their selectiveness in highlighting the pro Palestinin part of Obama’s speech and virtually ignoring any warning he gave to the palestinians was predictable, but nevertheless regrettable.

  100. June 4, 2009 at 23:06

    Iran has enough water, oil, and atomic energy to sell.

  101. 126 globalcomedy
    June 5, 2009 at 01:51

    Obama mentioned lots of nice ideas. But that doesn’t change the reality of the Middle East.

    Egypt and several other Arab states are U.S. supported dictatorships that use torture. Israel uses apartheid treatment against the Palestinians. Obama respects the “sovereignty” of Arab states? Then why doesn’t he cut off Israeli aid to force them to finally negotiate? Because if he does, his political career is finished. And I’m sure the First Lady isn’t thrilled about being unemployed right now.

  102. 127 chlai88
    June 5, 2009 at 02:05

    One small step man, a giant leap for mankind. Though there are not much mention about concrete actions in President Obama’s speech, I think it won by its candor and the sensitive way it is delivered to the Muslim world. This alone is a world apart from previous US administrations. Let’s hope that this will, god willing, lead to breakthroughs not just in the Middle-East peace with Israel but also better lives for people in the Middle-East.

  103. 128 Joseph A. Migliore
    June 5, 2009 at 04:02

    A Brief Analysis of Barack’s Speech from Cairo University

    He eloquently references the historical accomplishments of Islam, and how we in the West are in debt to Islam for the intellectual knowledge it has provided us over the centuries, in areas of philosophy, medicine and science. Prior to modernity, Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together, side by side in communities, during the Ottomans and other pre-modern eras. This is part of the problem today, the creation of the Nation-State and borders being established in the Middle-East, borders that have forged enemies, divided peoples who once cherished the same neighborhoods and communities.

    I am extremely proud of Barack Obama, for having the insight and courage to deliver a historical speech, in such a symbolic place which represents the origins of Islamic knowledge and culture. This was a good first step forward, in a attempt to introduce himself, as a President, and in letting the Muslim community know where he stands, but most importantly let them know that there is a “new kid on the block”, and that our policies have changed, the message was “we want to be friends” and improve our relationships.

    He would have made a profoundly important statement, if they could have only had Barack visit the GAZA territory and the Palestinians while in Cairo!
    The two state solution is the only hope for peace in the region, the “real problem is this will prove difficult, extremely difficult”, given the hard line conservative approach of the new Israeli government.
    This is a good first step, but we will need to implement actions which complement Barack’s speech in the future.

    As captured so precisely, by a Muslim woman, who recently completed her Masters and has aspirations with pursuing a PhD. She resides in Europe and her family origins are from Cairo, Egypt. After watching the speech, here is a brief excerpt from her narrative:

    “It is easier to start wars than to end them. It is easier to blame others than to look inward; to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. There is also one rule that lies at the heart of every religion – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. This truth transcends nations and peoples – a belief that isn’t new; that isn’t black or white or brown; that isn’t Christian, or Muslim or Jew. It’s a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the heart of billions. It’s a faith in other people, and it’s what brought me here today” (cited by Rass, retrieved online 06-04 2009 from Facebook).

  104. 129 Justin Durueke
    June 5, 2009 at 06:10

    I watched every segment of the speech. I would say that I was impressed with the President. He touched all the issues. Obama carefully chose his words. He carefully touched issues like the Isreali – Palestanian problem, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, human rights as well as women’s rights and education. The choice of Cairo as the host city was a strategic move by the United States. Egypt is a key player in the middle east peace process. The speech was well constructed and delivered by Mr President. He has done what no American president did. Now it the time for action from the governments of the countries in the Middle East.

  105. 130 Sad but Hopefull
    June 5, 2009 at 06:15

    Some people tend to forget that Arab countries are less than a hundred years old, before the world wars, Arabs were just Arabs… we differed a bit here and there… but we were all brothers and sisters. Although separate countries have now been formed and we are considered “nationalized”, Arabs still have very strong ties with each other.

    The point is, America went to war in Iraq, fully aware that the country did not pose any threat to it. It doesn’t really matter that it was “Iraq”, to many Arabs, by going to war with Iraq, it is almost like going to war with the Arabs. Sadly, millions were killed, Arabs were tortured, an ancient respected city of Baghdad was looted, pillaged and leveled. Millions of refugees flocked to their neighboring country with nothing, and remain till today evidence of the destruction that America caused.

    To me, this is not about religion. It is simply about human suffering. And America caused a lot of suffering. And an apology is certainly in order. For those of you who think money can fix it, no amount of money can fix it. In fact, only reaching out with words and hope can begin to fix it.

  106. 131 Patrick - New Zealand
    June 5, 2009 at 10:24

    The British Government is about to collapse. How come the share market opens higher? I don’t get it.

    • 132 RightPaddock
      June 5, 2009 at 11:59

      @Patrick – New Zealand

      Because the British Government is irrelevant

      As Chancellor Brown outsourced economic affairs to the Wall St cowboys, City fly-boys and Zurich gnomes.
      Ted Heath and his successors have progressively outsourced domestic affairs to Brussels
      Churchill and latterly Blair outsourced foreign affairs to Washington DC

  107. 133 AKPANDARA,ANTHONY
    June 5, 2009 at 10:59

    We have been hiding behind the veil of truth for long and obama has been able to shift this veil to let us see part of the truth. we should commend him and encourage leaders from major stake holders to accept and work with the whole truth so that the peace of the world can be secured

  108. June 5, 2009 at 11:35

    Comments from the BBC’s Urdu Service
    If Obama had called for a withdrawal of its forces from Iraq, Afghanistan and other Islamic countries, Muslims would have welcomed it.

    Hamid Khan, Shefiled, England.

    A sugar coated speech to Muslim world just to get sympathies and to improve image of America. But this is just a useless effort. Why has he supported Israel? Israel has shown cruelty against Palestine. Just to bluff Muslims and nothing else.

    Bilal Mahmood, Rawalpindi, Pakistan

    He has given the message of peace to the whole of world. It now depends upon us to respond in the same spirit. I suggest to my brothers to come out of America Phobia and start thinking positively. Thanks

    Malalai, Battagram

    One statement in Mr. Barak Obama’s speech that “America-Israel ties are unbreakable”, root out the Muslim hopes. America must select one boat; either Israel or Muslims. There is no third option

    Shamshir, Dammam

  109. 135 Mark Sandell
    June 5, 2009 at 11:35

    Dear Joy,

    It is a shame you weren’t able to listen to World Have Your Say as we played the clip of the President criticising the rocket attacks and bus bombings, in both hours.

  110. 136 Cari
    June 5, 2009 at 12:04

    Hajib = government official
    Hijab = woman’s headscarf

    I’m a ‘cradle-Christian’ and even I know the difference and that what he ought to have said was ‘hijab’. Whilst it may have been a slip of the tongue, I also hope it would serve as a warning to others that respect for another culture extends far beyond being able to say the odd word in that culture or pointing to the heritage of one’s name.

    That said, I thought it was a good speech, well delivered, and timely.

  111. June 5, 2009 at 13:08

    I am an American midwesterner/southerner/African-American. Until Obama…I had no thoughts on the political/foriegn landscape. I have lived in a world devoid of interest in this topic but as I get older (mid 30’s) see an importance in my participation. You can associate the midwest with lack of interest and ignorance but not lack of education (I HAVE 2 higher degrees). Furthermore, I don’t claim to be heavily steeped in the foreign political affairs. I don’t claim to understand what I consider ‘fanaticism’. Here’s how I break it down as anyone should with common sense and no direct personal stake (although some would argue this point) in the matter: Obama/The U.S. CAN NOT be everything to everyone. What we CAN do is show understanding for each person’s belief whether we agree or not. Obama will NOT be able to break down years of hatred, dogma, and indoctrination in one simple speech. He can however, make an eloquent gesture (no matter how ceremonial) towards reconciliation, healing, discussion and peace-whether it is accepted or not. It is his duty. He must weigh the importance of relationships for the greater good. It is the common sense thing to do–to unite. I would be interested in knowing how many Muslim Americans support him. So many things to focus on that have been broken for years: national economy, political responsibility (at home and abroad), foreign affairs, civil rights, and the list goes on…he is ONE man. This is ONE term. It has been a little more than ONE quarter of a year. To take on this task….I question his sanity but support him fully.

  112. 138 Pat Wilson
    June 5, 2009 at 13:53

    Ohblahblah misspoke when he said the US was one of the world’s largest muslim countries. He meant to say (accurately) that we are one of the world’s largest Jewish countries. And proud of it.

  113. 139 Andy
    June 5, 2009 at 15:21

    You have to understand that this is the first time in eight years we’ve had a president with a high IQ so similar to those of us in the liberal elite. That is of course after you deduct points for pure evilness, which brings Dick Cheney’s IQ down to about 80 or so. How refreshing to no longer feel so dreadfully embarrassed by the failed leadership. I certainly hope I don’t get Karma for being prideful now that I can finally start to feel pride again.

  114. June 5, 2009 at 17:58

    eric – it is precisely this mono-theistic/mono-religious viewpoint that causes the level of unrest within this great nation, and in our foreign affairs. The founding fathers went to great lengths to not only insure separation of church and state, but to keep Christ out of it. God is mentioned [to include all mono-theists] but Christ is intentionally absent. Stop trying to rewrite history to fit your fantasy filled belief system. This “mine belief is the only belief” thinking is the close-mindedness that fanatics like you propagate at the expense of the entire world!

  115. 141 Wendy
    June 5, 2009 at 18:05

    I don’t believe Obama is “trying to please everyone”. Rather, I am seeing a genuine effort to be clear-eyed, objective and balanced. The message I heard contained facts concerning rights and wrongs on both sides of the Israel/Palestine impasse. Other remarks were equally balanced; America has had its share of highs and lows, just as other countries have. I welcome the fresh breeze of honest appraisal.

  116. 142 Joel Banks
    June 6, 2009 at 22:06

    Before we get carried away by Obama’s rhetoric, we should note 2 points about his audience in Cairo:
    Frist: it applauded EVERY time he said “holy Koran.”
    Second: it was silent when he called for muslims to man-up and
    rein in violent Islamic extremists.

    Cairo showed us a population passionately committed to Islam, and to the supremacy of this religion. This does not bode well for peaceful interactions
    between the Muslim world and the Judeo-Christian West. I fear a struggle
    for religion based superiority.

  117. 143 D. Torres
    June 7, 2009 at 06:07

    I voted for John Sydney McCain.

    However, I am very glad that President Barack Hussein
    Obama is President of the USA.

    I think he is trying his best to reach out and heal wounds.

  118. 144 logic 'n reason
    June 7, 2009 at 12:43

    It is a shame that the world has to observe the US decending into communism. It is more the shame that our elected president is leading the effort.
    He is without a doubt the worst possible person at the worst possible time in the worst possible position.
    He needs a muzzle, then to be impeached and removed from office.

  119. June 8, 2009 at 09:19

    My comment is awaiting moderation? Please explain.

  120. June 8, 2009 at 10:05

    Arabs including Osama and Khatami must know by now that its true that not only speech can bring solutions.its actually the holy spirit that can do that even in just a vowel.therefore,there shouldnt be a wastage of time in terms of propaganda and funny ideologies when such people hear speeches and continue being ideologists yet they know everything.they should be coming up with ideas.its only after you get understandings that you become a human being who is beyond hate and thus can lead the world from even the slums..BEYOND ORDINARY

    TAMBUA VILLAGE(tv)
    HAMISI(vihiga),KENYA.

  121. 147 ani
    June 8, 2009 at 17:30

    Obama’s speach is a good starting point for reconciliation between America and the Islam world. We need peace in the world.

  122. 148 Tom D Ford
    June 8, 2009 at 18:38

    @ World Have Your Say
    June 5, 2009 at 11:35

    “Comments from the BBC’s Urdu Service”

    Thanks for those. I have often wondered what information non-English speakers get and what they think about it. I don’t know what could be done in real time about translations back and forth but I’d welcome some tries at it. Maybe WHYS could try one program with sound bites and then simultaneous translators of the actual speakers.

    Heck, for that matter I have not heard most languages in the world and it would be very interesting to hear them and then translations.

    Hmm, I wonder what is possible.

  123. 149 Maria C. Costa
    June 8, 2009 at 19:49

    In our view, President Obama’s speech contains important historical references, and directly opens a new way towards the Middle East atmosphere. It is clear his empathy to people, his emphasis on values, his sharing of concerns as well as hopes and aspirations for the Muslims, America and the world.
    He focused on common principles to share: justice and progress; tolerance and dignity. Regarding Islam, he promised to fight against negative stereotypes, and was cautious on distinguishing Muslim society in general and just some extremists.
    He sounds humble, truly democratic, wishing to reconciliate peoples, directly stressing what is legitimate and illegitimate for their own development and peace.
    Beyond his recognised eloquency, we believe he is a man of action, seeking to prove it with necessary, urgent deeds.

  124. March 9, 2010 at 19:29

    Mr. Obama presents a real opportunity to make a bold shift from the old political games and ideology that have failed to produce significant change in the middle east. How much longer must each incoming generation live in fear of nations that dislike each other historically and culturally. Change can only come through mutual respect. These nations do a grave disservice to every child and citizen that is born within its boarders. I say its time the younger generation forge a new path starting with questioning everything that is unjust, get involve in the political process and hold your leaders accountable for their actions, ideology and decisions that put the world in jeopardy.


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