June 4th, 2009
12:15 PM ET
9 years ago

World reacts online to Obama's Cairo speech


The world quickly began to react online to President Obama's historic speech in Cairo Thursday. (Photo Credit: Erika Dimmler/CNN)

(CNN) - Before President Obama had finished his speech in Cairo, Egypt, on Thursday calling for "a new beginning" in relations between the United States and the Muslim world, the conversation had moved online.

"I believed every word he said and I am sure he is sincere, but we wants [sic] action not words," read the text of a message sent from Saudi Arabia to a page set up by the administration at America.gov. "We want to feel that America is friend to us [and] not against us. We want to be treated fairly by you."

Obama revolutionized the use of technology during his presidential campaign, and his administration has aggressively used the Web, including popular online-networking tools, to spread his message since he took office in January.

Political observers believe that his administration wants to use the power of the Web to create a more transparent style of governing that will help win public support.

CNN Radio: CNN's Octavia Nasr and John Lisk review the president's speech

"In the spirit of engagement, we invited the international audience to submit comments via text message," reads a page at America.gov, which began sending out text updates as soon as Obama's speech began about 6:10 a.m. ET Thursday.

The service was available only for people living outside the United States. The signup form was available in English, Arabic, Persian and Urdu, and several posts to the site Thursday morning were in languages other than English.

Obama's speech, at the Great Hall at Cairo University to an anticipated crowd of about 3,000, was an effort to improve the image of the United States among Muslims. That image has been tarnished in the eyes of many of the world's estimated 1 billion Muslims who have been critical of the U.S. role in the Middle East over the past few years.

"I'm a Muslim & I'm Proud of You & Every Man Like You Whatever His Religion," read a post from Egypt on a page for the speech on the social networking site Facebook.

More than 1,100 people had signed up at the page by Thursday morning, and more than 100, many from the United States, had posted comments.

"I am feeling a bit bi-polar Mr. President," read a post from Waterloo, Iowa. "Some things you have done make me so mad ... but this made me so proud!"

Administration officials estimate that there are 20 million Facebook users in the Arab countries and is setting up live chats on the site to get a
conversation going online.

The U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem has created a page "[a]s part of our continued efforts to develop and strengthen cooperation with our
Palestinian and international audience."

Action at that page was slower Thursday morning; a discussion thread on expectations for the speech had drawn only four comments, and a post asking for responses to the speech had gotten none.

- CNN's Jessica Jordan contributed to this report.

Filed under: Middle East • President Obama
soundoff (250 Responses)
  1. Tired of stupidity

    ... And the last administration was good??? Why, because of the lies and deceptive tactics. I'm becomming convinced that narrow minded people don't have a clue as to what is a healthy choice for a candidate. Perhaps an inside lesson on how the government is REALLY run will give some insight. You call Obama a socialist but we've been practicing this for decades under previous admins (does welfare ring a bell?). Then your saying that he is apologizing.... well if the slicksters from past administrations had not been so two faced and non-trustworthy we wouldn't look like a crack addict asking for money or favors... deal with it, the country was run into the hole under the old boys club and anyone outside of that has their hands full cleaning up the mess....

    June 4, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  2. Maryann

    It feels fantastic to finally have a President we can be pruod of !!

    June 4, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  3. Moderate Democrat

    Mr. President...your words are beyond an inspiration. I believe we just witnessed one of the speeches that will be taught to our children 200 years from now.

    Thank you for making it impossible for the hate filled crap in this country to remain hidden. Thank you for inspiring even them to boil over with hatred to allow us to mark the trash and garbage that is behind all that is bad in this country. Your words inspire the best to move forward, and the worse to screech in terror as they witness their evil and vile hate filled souls emancipated by the good of mankind!

    June 4, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. Camilo

    We all must share this earth together, we all have equal freedom to pollute our land, kill our neighboors, and abuse the weak. I chose not to do that, simply because war and hate are the easy path, because peace and love mean hard work and deeper understanding about ourselves and others, and that to me is more rewarding. Words are not just words, speeches are not just speeches. Actions are the end result and I would love to see this landmark speech followed up with some action. There is a fine line between doing the right thing and imposing our way of life on others. We wouldn't want anyone telling the good ol US what to do, why do we think we are better than the rest of the world. Jesus Christ did not think he was btter than the beggar and Confucious knew he could learn from the peasent. My point is we have to coexist and RESPECT each other and we have to find peaceful ways to do so even if it is harder than simply wiping someone out that stands in our way. Bravo Obama, bravo!

    June 4, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  5. duh ray ray

    @TCM.I cant wait till you redeploy if your such a macho blood seeker.Whats holding you back girlyman.Your all mouth and no action.

    June 4, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  6. Ben

    Jessica: "but, keep calling him Hussein, it makes you sound extremely intelligent and im pretty sure only you and your fellow white supremacist friends find it funny"

    What's the problem with calling him Hussein? It IS his middle name, isn't it? Why do you Obamabots get so bent out of shape about it? You pepople can't handle any criticism of your hero, can you?

    June 4, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  7. sifto77

    I cringe whenever I hear that he is to make a speech to the "world". Our enemies are clapping their hands in glee–thanking Allah for his weakness and neediness. He seems to spend every waking minute reading teleprompter speeches–probably does them in the mirror the night before.......

    June 4, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  8. Julia Byrd- Hayden Idaho

    The GOP born-againers love war, they are about as far from true Christianity as you can get, in fact, they have one foot in hell and the other on a banana peel. Our President is a man of peace. God Bless him for all he has done to clean up the mess created by the right wing NUT CASES

    June 4, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  9. Independent Again

    Candy u said "911 happened on the conservatives (republicans) watch. How did they keep us safe.? "

    Just so u r aware 9/11 was planned and prep/dry run under Clinton's watch. The terrorists were here for 3yrs under Clinton and went undetected. With the Bush survelliance program (u know the one where Obama said he was going to discontinue and morons like u agree but now Obama pulled a 180 BECAUSE OBAMA KNOWS IT SAVED U.S. LIVES!!).

    So let's lay the blame where it belongs. Remember 9/11 commission said they (Al Qaeda) were at war with us and were were not. Al Qaeda declared war againsts US in 1998. Clinton was the Prez and had numerous opportunity to take UBL out and did NOT!

    So stop lying fool because we have not been attacked since and there were numerous threats and operation into play after 9/11 that BUSH THWARTED!!.

    Get the facts straight Candy and learn to think for yourself! Put down the kool aid!

    June 4, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  10. barbara

    Please do not pretend to tell me and millions of others what we deserve. I will tell you what I deserve as an American,.. the liberties, rights and freedoms granted to me by the most supreme law of the land (The Constistution). When the government starts taking these away from me, then the government will get what it deserves (voted out of office).

    June 4, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  11. Hillary B.

    It was a beautiful speech.

    June 4, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  12. obama support team

    The GOP doesn't know what they are talking about. All they do is make America feel negative. Even if our president is trying to build America back in good standings with countries abroad, the GOP credibility is null and void with All Americans. They act as though America is unpatriotic. Ask Sean Hannity the whiner who is a socialist because he tries to act like Rush controls this country. He is a coward just like the rest of the GOP.

    June 4, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  13. JT

    Reading over the comments, and as a former life-long conservative – The Republican party is obviously now condensed down to loons, racists, and religious nuts. It is amazing that most of their comments are loaded with jealousy as well. What an embarrassing way to sail at warp speed into oblivion.

    June 4, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  14. Ariana

    LESLIE: When you're born a MUSLIM, you'll die a MUSLIM. Being a MUSLIM doesn't have to be a follower of Islam. READ and EDUCATE yourself.

    Actually NO, just because you're born Muslim doesn't mean you have to stay Muslim, you can convert to anything else you want. Therefore, being Muslim doesn't mean you die Muslim. And the last time I checked being a Muslim IS a follower of the religion of Islam. Just like a Christian is a follower of Christ. I SHOULD KNOW, I AM MUSLIM. Perhaps you should READ and EDUCATE yourself because you don't make any sense! It's really sad how ignorant and uninformed you sound.

    June 4, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  15. Oh Please!

    The speech would have been great if it were written from the standpoint of reality. Same Liberal Utopian philosphy as always. I too want peace and appreciate the gesture but it is nieve at best , dangerous at worst. I hope I am wrong ,but thousands of years of history say I am not. BTW, Bush did not create Muslim hatred for the U.S. Many of you on this board need to read some history , not just select the parts you like.

    June 4, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  16. Independent Again

    AmFem u would not know respect even if it slaps u in the face.

    Let's not forget all this ingenious talked that went on during the Carter Admin. Yeah that worked out well for us.

    I'm just laughing my butt off because all the Jewish folks that voted for this guy are really getting shafted.

    U ask for it, u got it! Obama!!
    or if u r Jewish,
    U ask for it u got it!! Bend over!!!


    June 4, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  17. Bob Evano

    Leave leslie alone, she is obviously missing some vital parts in the cerebrum.

    June 4, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  18. southerncousin

    For all of those who are knocking Leslie@, remember the strong cooperation that North Korea and Iran have shown the US, since Hussein started his apology tours. He in effect stated that Israel and Hamas are both the same, terrorist organizations..

    June 4, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. Melissa

    Leslie, why do you hate absolutely everything? The world is tired of the attitude you keep spouting. Its time for us to grow up, not continue to behave in the childish way you are promoting.

    June 4, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. Dale

    If you are comparing Obama to Ghandi, that comes off as a compliment. Since you obviously intend to tear down BHO regardless of the facts, you should try a different approach.

    Ghandi was a great historical hero... someday Obama may be too.

    In the words of another wise person, Steven Colbert, "Reality has a well-know liberal bias." 😉

    June 4, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  21. SteveD


    Obama is the poser per you and you're the hater. All the talk about War being the vehicle to peace I must assume you we be volunteering for military duty.
    Probably not. You're like the people you admire Cheney, Rove, Hannity, and Limbaugh that are all for miliary force, but never served and NEVER would. It's alright for others to do their bidding.
    Give up the hate it is bad for your health.

    June 4, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  22. patNY

    Dave, the truth teller June 4th, 2009 12:56 pm ET

    Obama and Neville Chamberlain are two peas in a pod. Muslims have shown that they are not willing partners in peace. They are little more than barbarians. Ever notice how Klingon and arabic sound so similar? Come to think of it, Libtalk and teletubbies kinda sound similar to????
    Umm....ultimately, the United Federation of Planets made peace with the Klingons without going to full blown war...the UFP gained the Klingon respect and honor when the Enterprise C defended a Klingon outpost from Romulan invasion....so, yes there is another way to gain peace without war....and gaining your adversarie's respect and admiration is a good start! Comparing Obama to Chamberlain is like comparing apples to oranges...we're not talking about appeasement to Germany. Get a clue!

    June 4, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  23. DN

    I w9ould rather have Lumbaugh as a leader than Rev Wright and Ayers

    June 4, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  24. Amy

    TCM, please go back to burying your head. You could use the view, the earth would benefit from the fertilization, and we would all do better without the incomprehensible negativity you so hysterically spew.

    June 4, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  25. Dave

    Candy in West Virginia ... and just why doesn't America deserve this man? Not that I like him. Sounds like you need to move to another country .... since America doesn't deserve anything you described as brilliant and divine. Make up your mind. Are you a true believer in love and peace, or as it sounds a hyprocrite calling Republicans "thugs" and spouting "hate" and "war." Reminder, Candy 9-11 was caused by Islamic murderers who killed thousands of "innocent" decent Americans. Question, why did Obama hide his Muslim heritage during the election?

    June 4, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
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