I admit...

...it feels very good that George W. Bush is no longer President of the United States of America.

And that the election of President Barack H. Obama is watershed event in the history of the fight for civil rights in America, and that the speech by Reverend Joseph Lowery was exceptional.

Many would like to look forward into the Obama era, and tackle its many problems. But I don't think you can do that until you fully examine what happened in the last eight years - not just the obvious stuff like the invasion of Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Dahlangate and the egging on of Israel during the wars in Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza recently. There is a collective guilt for having aided and abetted the Bush administration amidst most of the American political class and a good part of the American public that preferred to look the other way.

I hope President Obama will not be the same person who voted in support of Israel's bombing of Lebanon in 2006 (and who would have probably voted in support of Gaza two weeks ago if he hadn't been elected to a higher office.) Let's hope he rises to the occasion.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.