Short Cuts

Adam Shatz

Barack Obama is the first American president who has made history simply by being elected. His Swahili first name – which is derived from the Arabic baraka, or spiritual wisdom – means ‘he who is blessed’, and the world seems to think he is. Obama’s victory, Bono said, is the realisation of ‘the Irish dream, the European dream, the African dream, the Israeli dream and also the Palestinian dream’. Gerry Adams turned up at the inauguration, as did Doreen Lawrence. Even those who aren’t thrilled by Obama’s agenda want a piece of him. Canadians, according to a recent survey, are ‘lukewarm’ about Obama’s desire to renegotiate Nafta to protect US jobs, and they’re not keen to send more soldiers to Kandahar, but this hasn’t diminished their love of Obama or their ‘collective Obama envy’. ‘So we are in love with the guy even though we don’t care for his ideas,’ one blogger complains. ‘What does that tell you about the cult of personality?’

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