Belgium for Barack

Thanks to Dominique Migisha for letting us know about the Belgian support committee of Barack Obama. He writes: "We are convinced that his vision, his program and his personality represent a revival for the United States... he could bring about a reconciliation of America with itself and especially with the world. The last two terms of George W. Bush have weakened the image of this great democracy in the eyes of most of the international public... However, Barack Obama wishes to engage his country in a multilateral relation with its partners and in particular with Europe... The Committee does not want to interfere into the American electoral process. Our civic initiative just wants to affirm our attachment of this great democracy that is the United States and the support which the committee brings to the Barack Obama is above all, moral." Supporters in Belgium include many leading politicians, such as Elio Di Rupo and Isabelle Durant, the heads of two of the main parties and both former prime ministers of the French-speaking region (Belgium is a federation between a French-speaking south and a Dutch-speaking north).

More international Obama songs

The phenomena of songs around the world about/inspired by Senator Obama has even caught the attention of Newsweek which runs this piece in their latest edition: "Even though they can't cast votes in November, artists around the globe are cranking out tunes in homage to the Democratic presidential candidate. Latin-Grammy-nominated Don Omar transformed Obama's surname into the upbeat Reggaeton song, "Como Se Dice," and collaborated with the Cuban band Yerba Buena and over a dozen other Latin stars on "Podemos Con Obama" ("We Can With Obama"). Jamaican crooners are particularly starry-eyed for the politician, with Tyrical's "The Obama Song," Cocoa Tea's "Barack Obama" and Mavado's "We Need Barack" (which mixes Obama's speeches with reggae beats). Grenada-born Calypso singer Mighty Sparrow is working on an entire album of Obama songs, following his hit "Barack the Magnificent." On the other side of the Atlantic, Boy George released "Yes We Can" (a tune by the same name is sung by American hip-hopper will.i.am) while Irish band Drew Hardy and the Nancy Boys proclaim "There's No One as Irish as Barack Obama." And in Kenya, homeland of Obama's father, affection for the candidate has fueled the popularity of Tony Nyadundo's 17-minute ditty that describes an imagined encounter with the senator. Looks like Obama's rock-star status is no longer just a metaphor." (Thanks to Ger from the Nancy Boys for passing this link on). We've already written about some of the songs mentioned above, but we've tracked down the others ones and added them to our YouTube page so you can enjoy them.

Obama's acceptance speach

Senator Obama delievered a stiring speach today at the Democratic Convention. It was largely focused on domestic issues, but interwoven with the values that we believe will make President Obama good news for the rest of the world, as well as for the American people. He did touch on foreign policy: "The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans — Democrats and Republicans — have built, and we are here to restore that legacy… I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future." (Full text, YouTube video)

Al Gore, the Democrat's candidate for president in 2000, said:"Eight years ago, some said there was not much difference between the nominees of the two major parties and it didn’t really matter who became president. Our nation was enjoying peace and prosperity. Some assumed we would continue both, no matter the outcome... Take it from me, if it had ended differently, we would not be bogged down in Iraq, we would have pursued bin Laden until we captured him... And we would not be denying the climate crisis; we’d be solving it. [Instead] we’re borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the future of human civilization. Every bit of that has to change... We already have everything we need to use the sun, the wind, geothermal power, conservation and efficiency to solve the climate crisis—everything, that is, except a president who inspires us to believe, “Yes we can.”

Postcards for Obama

Clarelynn Rose in Scotland has started an initiative to enable people around the world to send postcards to Americans explaining what excites them about Senator Obama. The postcards are passed on to Obama campaign volunteers in the US who send them out to voters who they think might appreciate them. Having this filter perhaps makes this initiative less intrusive than writing directly to unknown Americans. Visit their website for details.

Bill Clinton: Obama's multilaterism & the power of example

In a stirring and magnanimous speach at the Democratic Convention, Bill Clinton praised senator Obama and explained why he and Hilary are now supporting him, in spite of the hard fought primary (which, Bill quipped, had created so much heat it added to global warming). Almost a third of his speach focused on foreign policy, emphasising that Obama will move America away from the unilateral bully-boy attiudes of the Bush Adminstration. He painted a picture of an America that could lead the world not by its economic and military might, but by good example, generousity and cooperation. That is the kind of America that The World Wants Obama Coalition is looking towards.

"Our position in the world has been weakened by too much unilateralism and too little cooperation; a perilous dependence on imported oil; a refusal to lead on global warming; a growing indebtedness and a dependence on foreign lenders; a severely burdened military; a backsliding on global non-proliferation and arms control agreements; and a failure to consistently use the power of diplomacy, from the Middle East to Africa to Latin America to Central and Eastern Europe. Clearly, the job of the next President is to rebuild the American Dream and restore America’s standing in the world.

Everything I learned in my eight years as President and in the work I’ve done since, in America and across the globe, has convinced me that Barack Obama is the man for this job. He will work for an America with more partners and fewer adversaries. He will rebuild our frayed alliances and revitalize the international institutions which help to share the costs of the world’s problems and to leverage our power and influence. He will put us back in the forefront of the world’s fight to reduce nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and to stop global warming. He will continue and enhance our nation’s global leadership in an area in which I am deeply involved, the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria, including a renewal of the battle against HIV/AIDS here at home. He will choose diplomacy first and military force as a last resort. But in a world troubled by terror; by trafficking in weapons, drugs and people; by human rights abuses; by other threats to our security, our interests, and our values, when he cannot convert adversaries into partners, he will stand up to them.

Barack Obama also will not allow the world’s problems to obscure its opportunities. Everywhere, in rich and poor countries alike, hardworking people need good jobs; secure, affordable healthcare, food, and energy; quality education for their children; and economically beneficial ways to fight global warming. These challenges cry out for American ideas and American innovation. When Barack Obama unleashes them, America will save lives, win new allies, open new markets, and create new jobs for our people. Most important, Barack Obama knows that America cannot be strong abroad unless we are strong at home. People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power." (Full text, Youtube video)

Joe Biden, accepting the vice-presidential nomination, added: "Folks, remember when the world used to trust us? When they looked to us for leadership? With Barack Obama as our president, they'll look to us again, they'll trust us again."

John Kerry, the 2004 Democrat presidential candidate, said: "Our mission is to restore America’s influence and position in the world. We must use all the weapons in our arsenal, above all, our values. President Obama and Vice President Biden will shut down Guantanamo, respect the Constitution, and make clear once and for all, the United States of America does not torture, not now, not ever. We must listen and lead by example because even a nation as powerful as the United States needs some friends in this world. We need a leader who understands all our security challenges, not just bombs and guns, but global warming, global terror and global AIDS. And Barack Obama understands there is no way for America to be secure until we create clean energy here at home."

Bridges for Obama: global montage

The Bridges for Obama movement, initiated by Meredith Wheeler in France, has really caught on as a way of rallying people around the world - both American expats and non-citizens (including many people linked to TWWO Coalition) - to visually represent Senator Obama's ability to bridge divides. There have been rallies now on almost 100 bridges in over 40 countries. Some of the photos have been compiled into a video montage, which Barack's sister Maya was able to show to him last week, and we're told he loved it.

(another version is here, for more info see here).

Malcolm in Denver: An African perspective

Back home in England, two sets of good friends got married on Sunday. I chose to be in Denver and with the Democrats at this time, but it still makes me a little sad to be missing these happy occasions and time spent with friends. So mazel tov and I’m thinking of you Danny, and Arry & Keith.

But something does connect these friends, Denver and Obama: Africa. Africans. And the audacity of hope. Arry I first met whilst living in Tanzania; Keith when campaigning on drop the debt and other international social justice issues; and Danny on the British Council’s Interaction leadership programme, which has at its heart the philosophy of ubuntu and the celebration of what’s good from and we can learn from the continent.

Danny and I spent a week in Zambia, attending a conference with 200 community leaders from across Africa. That was back last October, and already the positive support for Obama amongst the delegates there was papable. They were proud of Obama - his Kenyan roots, his dark skin - and they were excited by his message. And the ‘audacity of hope’ that Obama wrote about was very much part of their lives and resonated hugely with them.

That overwhemingly positive reaction continues to this day. Even the Senegalese taxi driver who i just got a lift from on Sunday evening enthused about Obama and the opportunities that his presidency might open up - in foreign relations, in community relations, and in the self-worth (and maybe even real-worth) of Africans.

Posted originally on www.sixfiftyblog.com

Malcolm in Denver:daily diaries

Michelle Obama was absolutely fabulous last night. Just listened to her speech again and can see why we were all loving it so much at the time. I'll hopefully catch her live this afternoon, at an Emily's List event.

You can read my daily round-up of my Convention experiences at www.sixfiftyblog.com

Speaking to a variety of bloggers and activists yesterday, most seemed surprised and impressed when I relayed tales of UK and global interest in this election and support for Obama. One journalist remembered The Guardian's Ohio letter-writing experiment from 2004 and was pleased to see the Brits learning the lessons from the backlash that activity generated and doing something more positive and consensual.

Malcolm in Denver: VP Biden

I thought it would happen while I was on the flight from London to Denver. But I've arrived and happened to still be up, checking my emails and the blogs 1am Mountain Time, and saw the speculation on Obama's VP become hard fact. Obama has chosen Joe Biden. The Obama website confirms it all. So we now have someone with huge foreign policy experience on the ticket. Is that a good thing? Does it not really matter, as it is Obama's face and rhetoric that has and will continue to make the most positive impact worldwide; rather than policy specifics and diplomatic networks?

Our man in Denver

Keep an eye on The World Wants Obama over the next week, as our correspondent Malcolm Clark will be blogging from the Democratic Convention in Denver. He'll be based at the Big Tent, meeting, talking with and learning from fellow bloggers, Obama activists and pressure group campaigners.

Malcolm is the coordinator of Make Votes Count, which works to enhance democracy in Britain; he has a particular interest in how to apply Senator Obama's 50-state strategy to other countries (like Britain) where electoral systems have also meant that campaigns focus on a few swing constituencies and essentially render the rest of the electorate irrelevant. He'll be on the ground in Denver from Friday evening and contactable there on his UK cell: +44 7733 322148, skype mjc1977, or malcolmclark@mail.com