Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hoping for a Friend

“A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed” that’s what we say whenever a friend come to help us solve our problem. And that's the kind of friend that our country needs right now to overcome the impact of international financial crisis.

Fortunately, last Tuesday, 4 November 2008, our hope for such kind of friend seems to become a reality when Barack Obama was elected as the next president of the United States of America. It is reasonable for us to have such hope considering the childhood ties that Obama has with Indonesia. As mentioned in his book “The Audacity of Hope”, Obama spent part of his childhood living in Jakarta from 1967 to 1971, with his American mother Ann Dunham, his Indonesian stepfather Lolo Soetoro, and his stepsister Maya Soetoro. At that time they lived in a house in Menteng which has no seat toilet, and his parents could not afford to send him to an international school so he went to local public elementary school in Jalan Besuki. Obama talked about Indonesia’s change from a village to a U.S politic & economic ally, about the economic crisis and reform. He also mentioned that 30 years after he left, Indonesia has changed to a distant country.
With this background, it is obvious for our leaders and other people in Indonesia to expect that Obama would be a friend of Indonesia. However, we should be realistic in this case, because the fact is that beside Indonesia, he also has two other countries which are perhaps far more important for him personally i.e. the United States where he will govern as a President starting January 2009, and his father’s country Kenya. Moreover, there are also other countries that Obama should pay close attention to, i.e. countries which have been considered as traditional allies of the U.S, such as the European Union, Japan, Australia and South Korea.

Only time will tell whether or not Obama will be an “ordinary friend” or a “close friend” of our country. For the time being we can only thank God for giving us a hope that the next President of the most powerful country on earth will treat our country as a friend. But let us not allow this hope to distract us from the fact that we can only make progress by discipline and working hard.

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