UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Watching the Election from Afar

Asia Media staff writer Latifah RahmDel files this from Al Ain, Abu Dhabi —

On Tuesday November 6, believe it or not, America wasn’t the only country bracing itself for an historical moment- so was the rest of the world! I was invited to watch the U.S. presidential election results early Wednesday morning (6am-9am) by the American ambassador in the U.A.E., Michael H. Corbin. Yet unfortunately I wasn’t able to join.

That morning, I had a prior booking as a Teaching Assistant for a visiting American professor who kept his lecture commitment, though he had been transfixed at home watching the returns start to roll in. The final election result came out during the class and I couldn’t help but to shout out: “Professor! Obama won!” — and the professor, being a drama teacher, actually jumped out of his chair and paraded around the room thanking Jesus, Allah, Noah, Mohammed and all of them who are up there for the extra 4 years.

What caught my attention were the post-election result reactions I witnessed on different social media sites from this side of the world. It seemed as if almost everyone was thrilled for Obama’s re-election, and I believe that the photo of the re-elected American president hugging his wife circulated to each and every Arab on Twitter.

Over here people were congratulating the incumbent American president for the win, but I was deeply surprised by this. The reason behind my surprise was that a week before the final results, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine, who was as big a fan of this American election as I am myself. She is Ayesha Sayed, and we both agreed that the whole world should have a say in who the American president should be. Yes, we laughed at the thought but let’s face it, America is the country which history placed on the top of the world’s pyramid and so somehow had earned the right to have a say in other countries affairs.

We already had a taste of Obama’s foreign policies, especially regarding the hot topic “Iran’s nuclear power”. Well, compared to Romney’s approach, we’d definitely appreciate the first one! Iran is in the heart of the Middle East, and it is crystal clear that with any possible strike, the whole region will be affected.  As my father says, “Who needs a Third World War? The mini ones taking place around us are enough.”

As for me personally, I’m a fan of President Obama’s public speaking skills and his approach towards women’s rights, knowing that the further the United States pushes the wheel in that respect, the more likely the other developing countries will follow.

In this part of the world, people felt relieved with the election results, because we’re known to believe in a funny saying that goes like this: “Have patience with the crazy person you know and you’re dealing with – that’s better than having fate send a crazier one your way.”

And that’s my crazy view of the amazing U.S. election from the U.A.E.


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