Yesterday Indonesia was swept up in Obama fever as the US President returned to the country where he lived for four years as a child. Obama spent 18 and a half hours in Jakarta, squeezing a drop-in between visits to New Delhi and Seoul.
The President was originally slated to visit Indonesia in March but canceled due to issues at the home front (the whole health reform package thing) and then again in June (there was that small, inconsequential dollop of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico).
At the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, Obama spoke to a crowd of around 6000 people and gave what some have described as the most important Asian speech of his presidency, beginning with the words “Indonesia is a part of me.” He reached out to the Muslim world, encouraging them to join the US in the fight against terrorism and al-Qa’ida.
“America is not, and never will be, at war with Islam,” Obama said. “Instead, all of us must defeat al-Qa’ida and its affiliates, who have no claim to be leaders of any religion, certainly not a great world religion like Islam.”
Like every decent international tour, Obama’s visit to Indonesia came with a smidgen of controversy involving — naturally — a gay transvestite nanny. To read about that you’ll have to scroll to the bottom.
Here’s a look at how the visit was reported internationally:
Greg Sheridan: Leader finally reaches Muslims
Barack Obama was at his very best in his speech in Jakarta.
He had a clear message to Indonesia and a clear message to Muslims everywhere.
The message to Indonesia was that, despite cultural differences, the US and Indonesia are natural partners in democracy and development.
Peter Alford and Amanda Hodge: The homecoming king
Barack Obama’s door-to-door salesman tour of Asia has yielded mixed results.
More than any other contemporary statesman, Barack Obama believes in the power of oratory and yesterday he proved the point with the most important Asian speech of his presidency.
Peter Alford: Barack Obama reaches out to Islam
Declaring that “Indonesia is part of me”, Mr Obama challenged the nation to take a G20 leadership role by “embracing transparency and accountability” and held it up as the model for tolerant, democratic majority-Muslim nations.
Ewen MacAskill and Toni O’Loughlin: Barack Obama in Indonesia appeals for Muslim-Christian tolerance
Barack Obama was in wistful mood today on his return to Indonesia, where he spent part of his childhood. He reminisced about mango trees, flying kites, running alongside paddy fields, buying satay from street vendors and catching dragonflies.
Christian Science Monitor
Sara Schonhardt: Obama returns to Indonesia, and for some that’s all that mattered
The tinkling of a traditional Indonesian gamelan orchestra filled the air as President Obama and around 200 guests sat down to a dinner of his favorite Indonesian dishes – fried rice and meatball soup called bakso.
Barack Obama’s speech in Jakarta on Wednesday was the US president’s third address from a Muslim capital to the Islamic world. He reiterated two important messages: that the US is not at war with Islam, and that democracy and the Koran are not incompatible.
The Daily Mail
President Barrack Obama’s visit to Indonesia this week has revealed the kind of painfully embarrassing childhood details many of us hope to forget.
It might undermine his credibility a little to have it known that he was called ‘Barry’ in his youth.
He may be a little embarrassed to be reminded that his neighbour, Mrs Satjakoesoemah, referred to him as the ‘boy who runs like a duck.’