Obama Victory Heard Around the World

Dear Editor,

As anyone who has traveled will tell you, American culture pops up in the oddest ways around the world. My time in Ghana has shown me the power of American politics abroad, with the latest obsession in this country being President-elect Barack Obama.

I arrived in July and have encountered Obama one way or another every day since. On my first day, upon seeing our Education Abroad Program group full of Americans, an overly excited Ghanaian started jumping up and down, proclaiming, “Obama is king, Obama is king!” Later that day I bought a bracelet with Obama’s name weaved in the colors of the Ghanaian flag — red, yellow and green. One of the most popular songs in Ghana currently is “Barack Obama” by Blakk Rasta, a local reggae star and radio personality.

So why all this hype about a man who is the president of a country thousands of miles away from Ghana’s gold coast? The most common answer I get is simple — Obama is African. Although he has never lived in mama Africa, his father is from the continent and therefore people here feel that he will give Africa the attention it deserves and has been historically denied.

Ghana is having its own election in December and everyone says that they should use our elections as an example — peaceful, democratic and fair. The world stayed very attentive during the entire campaigning process, and waited eagerly alongside Americans to hear election results, and Obama’s mantra of “yes we can” was heard in homes in Ghana, Spain, Japan, Argentina, China … the list could go on and on. For the first time in a long time, the international community — and this means everyone — is truly excited about the next president of the United States. The change that we brought about last week brings hope for change abroad. As America takes a huge step forward the world will move with it, with high expectations and vigor.

— Joeva Rock
Eleanor Roosevelt College junior and study-abroad student in Ghana