Now all can dream of a fairer world

The US votes in a black president and now nothing seems impossible in the world.

The US votes in a black president and now nothing seems impossible in the world.

Barack Obama swept into the White House by offering voters hope for a fresh start after eight years of turmoil, despair and economic gloom.

The victory of a man whose father was born in Kenya also gives hope to hundreds of millions of Africans throughout the world.

He won fair and square by exciting the mass of Americans to the possibilities of a more just and equal order.

Not since John Kennedy in the 60s have we witnessed such a spontaneous outpouring of affection and hope for the realisation of the American Dream, which cynics in the US and abroad have long dismissed as Utopian fantasy.

Now comes the hard work.

Obama has raised expectations so high that any failures in restoring the US's broken economy while developing a more egalitarian society and a just foreign policy will bring out critics around the world with a vengeance.

Revolutions are staged by those with thwarted expectations, not the no-hopers.

Obama won his overwhelming victory by stressing multiculturism and not once playing the race card.

Maybe everyone in the US can dream of being treated equally regardless of race. But the realisation of Martin Luther King's grand dream has been spotty at best.

Every nation's foreign policy will reflect its interests, yet the world lives in hope of a sensitivity to local needs and values, and an end to the crass venality of the Bush era.

We expect the US to continue consuming far more of the world's resources than any other nation, but we hope it will no longer trash our globe in the process.

Obama must ride the wave of optimism he has engendered to take the hard decisions that will often clash with the immediate interests of his constituency.

But as many world leaders have learnt, these are difficult times that demand a new vision and a determination to do what is right by us all. And a son of Africa is the man of the moment who might just pull off that dream.