Well, I’ve been talking about it for over 2 and a half years, and it finally happened. President Barack Obama. The reaction here in Europe, and especially in Italy, is an ecstatic one. The first thing I heard yesterday when getting on the bus was an older woman recognizing her friend who just got on with me, and said “Hai sentito!? Obama ha vinto!” And as soon as the words “Did you hear!? Obama won!” came out of her mouth, other commuters all around her started sharing their similar sentiments. Since we got here in May, everyone - from people we sat next to on trains, to our friends and family, and all the students we teach, the bank directors and the blue collar workers - everyone has been wondering (and hoping) whether Obama really could be the next President of the United States.
After months of wondering, the lede sentence of one of Italy's biggest newspapers, the Corriere della Sera, said it best today: "No one today can know what the new president will do, or what the United States will become in the era of Barack Obama. But everyone, even America's enemies dispersed throughout the world, has to understand and recognize that American Democracy still continues to demonstrate the best attributes that no other political system in the world possesses."
I’ll avoid getting into the politics of what happened with Obama's win for now. But I want to let the front pages of Italy’s biggest papers speak for themselves, to understand that this is how the majority of Europe feels in their newstands, on the buses, in the cafes, and on TV today. (Emily here - for the French reaction, click here for American expats in France with the French headlines )
The World Has Changed
Corriere Della Sera
Obama: I'll Change America
And a few pictures from Tuesday night at the historic Bologna library - Biblioteca Sala Borsa. They opened the library and turned on CNN from the U.S. for live feed. It was no night dancing in the streets of Brooklyn, but was amazing to see the public reaction from a foreign perspective. It was surprising to see more Italians than Americans there, but leave it to the Italians, (and of course the Americans abroad) to bring wine and set up shop in the library for the night - a very, very good idea.
At the beginning of the night (11 p.m.)
He came prepared with wine and a glass... note well taken.
3 a.m. still waiting....