Saturday, November 8, 2008

Obama views from around the world

Barack Obama’s first few days as president-elect haven’t only been threats of missile bases from Russia and racist comments from Italy’s Prime Minister; honors have been pouring in from around the world as well.

To start with there was the note of congratulations from Ukraine’s President Victor Yushchenko that instead of using the appropriate “Dear Mr. President” salutation, instead was addressed to His High Excellency (Vashe Visokoprevoskhoditelstv), a term reserved for only the highest noblemen in Czarist-era Russia.

Czarist era titles weren’t the only honor proposed for Obama. The Caribbean island nation of Antigua is considering renaming its tallest mountain in honor of the president-elect. “Mount Obama” may replace “Boggy Peak” as the name of the 1,300 foot rise at the southern point of the island, if the nation’s prime minister has anything to say about it (apparently the attorney general is reviewing Antiguan law to see if he can make the change). Antigua also hopes Mount Obama may become a tourist attraction.

But that’s nothing compared to the African nation of Sierra Leone, where according to MSNBC, hospitals are reporting that 6 in 10 boys born in the nation’s hospitals have been named “Barack Obama” (and won’t that make for some confusing classrooms a few years from now…)

The Irish village of Moneygall, meanwhile, is trying to capitalize on Obamamania with their own slice of history. It seems that Barack’s great-great-great grandfather on his mother’s side of the family, Mr. Fulmouth Kearney emigrated from Moneygall in 1850. And the votes had barely been counted before Moneygall put up a sign proclaiming it to be the ancestral home of Barack Obama (or Barack O’Bama as they have taken to calling him). Obama did once make note of his Irish roots on the campaign trail, so the town’s pub is hoping he one day makes good on a promise to drop by for a pint.

Finally, some places are just celebrating, like the Japanese town of Obama. While Barack has no Japanese ancestry, apparently “Obama” means “little beach” in Japanese, and is the name of the town of 32,000. Obama (the town) has been eagerly following Obama (the president-elect) since he entered the race. Now Obama (the town) hopes that some of the fame of Obama (the president-elect) will turn Obama (the town) into a tourist destination. Dozens of people in Obama gathered to watch the election results and see a performance by a group of hula dancers calling themselves the Obama Girls.
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