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Palestinian-American Teen Reacts to Obama's Cairo Speech


Originally published on Youthradio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe.

By: Samr "Rocky" Tayeh

On Thursday I went into the computer lab at my school to watch President Barack Obama's hour-long speech to the Arab world. While everyone else was watching music videos and socializing on MySpace I was watching Obama, full screen on YouTube.

It was difficult for me to contain myself throughout the speech. I applauded, yelled, cheered and almost got kicked out for breaking the "silence" rule. I wasn't listening as an American or a Muslim, even though I'm both, I was listening as a human being. But for some reason this Obama speech didn't create a buzz in my college.

Usually anything Obama says creates some sort of excitement, but this one went unnoticed. It was me asking everyone, "Did you hear the Obama Speech?" and the common reply was "No, when was it?"

This morning I saw a front page article in a New York newspaper about Obama trying to unite Islam with America, and it showed a picture of a Sep-11 memorial and another of an American flag burning in some Islamic country. It pains me newspapers would contradict Obama's speech with hateful stereotypes and propaganda.

The president wasn't someone my friends or I were talking about a year ago. We didn't feel included or a part of the political system. It seemed bigger than us. But with Barack Obama it's different, it feels like he's listening to our dinner conversations and actually knows what's going on.

I've long dreamed of a world where we all can get along. Where the beauty of religions allows us all to understand and accept each other. President Obama makes me feel like there are other people out there who share my crazy dream of treating each other with compassion and tolerance.

Can we live peacefully together? It's a question I hope people will ask themselves more and more, and it's a question I think President Obama asked on Thursday.

My sister thinks the speech was just politics at work. I see it as a fresh start to a better world.


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