In a historic speech from Egypt on Thursday, President Obama called for “a new beginning” between the United States and the Muslim world, after years of mutual and deepening anger, resentment and hostility fueled by terrorism and two wars.
People all over the the Middle East — from leaders and radical groups to students and shopkeepers — reacted to Obama’s speech. See below for blogger reactions to the speech.
Shibley Telhami, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, joins Martin Savidge to discuss the speech, its intended audience and Obama’s other efforts to reach out to the Muslim world.
Blogger Noha Fawzy in Egypt reacted positively:
I was impressed with all that came in his speech. It felt as if he really feels our real and deep pains and what we suffer from daily. However, my only disappointment that he mentioned the nuclear power in Iran, but no mention of Israel that owns already nuclear power and can be threatening to the whole region.
I must say that his speech was structured, well presented and very well accepted by the majority of the people and his call for peace as in all religions is so much needed.
We, Egyptians, thank you Barack Obama for choosing Egypt to be your platform while addressing the Muslim World, well advised and Egyptians are the most sympathetic people who will wait for you to fulfill your commitments as you promised.
We hope you enjoyed your visit, we did and we look forward for longer visits.
I love Egypt and Egypt will prevail.
Peter Daou, a blogger at UN Dispatch, takes a more critical tone:
I know many will gush over President Obama’s Cairo speech and I’m likely swimming against the tide of the media and my fellow Democrats and progressives. But reading the transcript, I was struck by two things:
1. Aside from a few platitudes, it is disappointingly weak on human rights and specifically women’s rights.
2. It betrays a naiveté, perhaps feigned, about how the Arab world works.
I sometimes preface my posts by explaining that my Mideast perspective is that of an American-Lebanese-Christian-Jew who grew up in Muslim West Beirut at the height (or should I say depth) of the Lebanese civil war. The tumultuous and bloody intersection of religions and geopolitical interests is painfully real to me.
Yes, Obama is targeting the Arab ‘street’ and global public opinion – but to the corrupt regimes that dominate that region of the world, his oration means virtually nothing. Repression and suppression will go on uninterrupted. And to those whose abiding hatred of Israel (and thus America) is absolute, Obama’s words will be seen as empty and hypocritical.
Blogger “Ali” shares reactions from friends across the Middle East, including “Duha” in Jordan, who thinks the speech alienated many:
I think, he spoke to the average person, to the moderates and the educated, the silent majority if you may. He spoke to people’s minds and needs for peace and prosperity which are so much needed in the Muslim world, but at the same time I think he alienated so many against him mainly the extremists from all parties arabs, israelies, muslims, even in the US. I hope he stays safe, and more important I hope he delivers.
The same blogger posts a short reaction from “Noam” in Tel Aviv:
Liked the speech but might not be very realistic.
Further brief reactions could be found on Twitter: