Arab media reacts to Obama's speech

Obama warned that "one single speech could not eradicate years of suspicion".

    Egypt's press lavished praise on Obama for ending the 'clash of civilisations' but other Arab newspapers cautioned that he may have won their hearts but not their minds [AFP]

    Arabic newspapers have dedicated their front pages to the speech of Barack Obama, the US president, to the Muslim world in Cairo on Thursday.

    The following are reactions from some of those newspapers to the speech: 

    "Obama's speech in Cairo was an unprecedented display of rhetorical power, coming in an important context: the last eight years of neoconservative policy based on the clash of civilisations mentality.

    'Obama's speech was an unprecedented display of rhetorical power ' [AFP]
    "This week the leader of 'the free world' projected his country's peaceful side, to around 1.5 bn people in 50 countries."
    The Daily Star, Lebanon.

    "Obama speech is the first ever critical, international, and indeed American reassessment of US position towards the Arabs Muslims.

    "But even though it included important points, it fell short of a genuine reassessment of the legacy of the American historic blind support for Israel."  Walid Shokair, Al Hayat (Saudi) newspaper, London.

    'Irresistible charm'

    "Obama’s irresistible charisma and eloquent rhetoric stirred the hearts of his audience but failed to address their minds. In form it was an attempt to depart from the Bush legacy.

    "Yet in substance it was no more than a public relations campaign aimed at marketing the US policies." Editorial, Assafir newspaper, Lebanon.

    "The US President ushered a new era of reconciliation with Arabs and Muslims from Morocco in the West, to the Indonesia in the East, from the Central Africa in the South to the coast of the Mediterranean in the North.

    "The historic reconciliation will strip the (Islamic) extremist groups of its cards as it lays the foundation for a new relationship between America and the Muslim World."
    Editorial, Al Qabas newspaper, Kuwait.

    'Crimes against Muslims'

    "Obama wants to start a new page with the Arab and the Muslim Worlds. He wants to extend an olive branch. Obama’s intentions are sincere. Obama’s gestures are welcome.

    Obama reiterated his support of a Palestinian state in his speech to the Muslim world [AFP]
    "But he has yet to apologise for all the crimes that America has committed against Arabs and Muslims. Good intentions are never enough. Unless there is action all the good well that Obama’s speech has garnered will quickly dissipate into thin air."
    Abdel Bari Atwan, Al Quds Al Arabi newspaper, London.

    "In form and substance Obama’speech has successfully breached the wall of  hatred and suspicion towards American foreign policies in the region. We now await with anticipation the translation into American policies, especially, but not exclusively, towards the Palestinian question.

    "We expect initiatives that will lead to the establishment of an independent state, a total withdrawal of American troops from Iran and an end to war in Afghanistan."
    Tareq Adwan, Al Arab Al Yawm newspaper, Jordan

    Analysts respond

    "Whatever wounds America has inflicted on the world they are very deep and they cannot be erased away by only one speech," said Siraj Wahab, a Pakistani political analyst, speaking on Aaj TV.

    "It was very positive. A president with the middle name of Hussein being in Cairo talking about collaboration means a lot for Muslims," said Malek Sitez, an international law expert in Kabul, Afghanistan.

    "There also hasn't really been any other Western leader who has expressed such commitment to fighting negative stereotypes regarding Muslims," said Chandra Muzaffar, president of the International Movement for a Just World think-tank in Malaysia.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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