WASHINGTON, D.C. Obama Fever Strikes Polish Embassy. At the Embassy of the Republic of Poland here on January 16, 2009 - just four days before the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama - the Embassy embraced the spirit of the occasion by featuring the only Obama biography now available in Polish. The book is titled Barack Obama - Czarnoskory Kennedy, which translates into English as Barack Obama - The Black Kennedy.
Cultural Counselor and host Mariusz Brymora introduced author Christoph von Marschall, U.S. Correspondent and Washington Bureau Chief of the German daily newspaper Der Tagesspiegel (Daily Mirror), who was accompanied by his wife Zofia (nee Wojna, formerly from Tarnow, Poland). An early association with Poland occurred 1983/84 when von Marshall had studied at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow.
Embassy Showcases Obama Book in Polish. The only Barack Obama biography currently available in Polish, Barack Obama - Czarnoskory Kennedy, was recently featured at the Embassy of Poland. Author Christoph von Marschall is pictured above- right displaying the book. He is assisted by Cultural Counselor Mariusz Brymora (left) who is holding editions of the book in Japanese and German.
The book was first published in Germany in December 2007. During the summer of 2008 updated versions of the original German language edition became available in Polish and Japanese at book stores in the respective countries. Presently, there is no English edition. The publication is much more than just a ‘plain vanilla' biography. Since mid-February 2007, when Obama first announced his presidential candidacy, von Marschall has been observing him from a rather close distance. His interesting experiences and very thoughtful observations and predictions are well expressed in his writings.
The evening's fascinating lecture by von Marschall, "Barack Obama - As I Know Him," mirrored what was expressed in his book. It was followed by a presentation of pertinent slides, with personal narration, that he snapped during Obama's campaign. Many pressing and insightful questions were asked, and professionally answered, during the closing Q&A period. The evening's unique experiences were very well received by the appreciative audience.
As a foreign journalist living in the U.S. for the past three and a half years, von Marschall has some special perspectives on Obama; the following is an abridged sampling of them:
..A Welcome Message to the World: Obama was not high born and knows America from top to bottom, from the poorest citizens to the millionaires. Atypically for American politicians, he has lived abroad. And he knows more than the average person about Islam. The world looks to him for enlightened leadership and joint cooperation in many critical areas.
..Multicultural Experience: He knows about the world, which does not work according to American rules, values and political mechanisms. His will be a different perspective.
..Social Justice: Barack has a high drive for it, having twice sacrificed prestigious careers, with high salaries, to improve the living conditions of poorer citizens.
...Strategic Thinker: He had planned long ago for this time, he was and is prepared.
And he is not a gambler and rather risk adverse.
..Main U.S. Priorities: Create jobs, jobs, jobs. Deal with the financial crisis. Obtain health insurance for all Americans.
...Main World Priorities: Iraq - Obama will not pull out completely, just reduce forces there. Afghanistan - His promised new strategy remains a riddle for now. Fight against climate change. Negotiate with Iran. Work from the first moment on a Middle East peace.
...Poland: Obama shows less affection to Poland and more understanding for Russia than President Bush did, and he will not press for the Missile Defense Plan. As Polish soldiers prepare to leave Iraq, Poland will become less critical to the White House. Poland could not get admitted into the Visa Waiver Program under the Bush presidency, and it is difficult to imagine quick progress under the Obama administration.
...Conclusion: Change is coming to Washington, but Europe should not expect too much change. Obama is an American, he will be president of the U.S.` and not become Europe's counter-president. He will not change directions by 180 degrees. U.S. foreign policy will not shift a lot. President Barack Obama understands, and will protect, the national interests of the United States.