'In Kurdistan, some Iraqis were inspired by Obama’s historic rise, 44 years after racial segregation was outlawed in the United States. “America has opened a new page,” said Tawana Othman, an intellectual in Sulaymaniya, Kurdistan. “Today, a black man has reached the White House.”
Some Kurds pined for Sarah Palin, McCain’s running mate, famous for her pointy glasses and snug red dresses. “Obama’s victory froze my heart. I liked Sarah Palin, her leadership, with its mix of innocence and courage. She was beautiful and sweet,” said Shadman Rafiq, who works in a computer repair shop in Sulaymaniya.
Rafiq believed that McCain and Palin would protect the country’s Shiites and Kurds, but he feared Obama would abandon them.
In the ethnic powder keg of Kirkuk, people rallied to Obama because he has promised an end to the American intervention in Iraq. Mohammed, a 54-year-old Turkmen, said: “Obama's victory means the U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq, and he will implement his promises to the American and Iraqi people."
Some looked to Obama’s rise as a lesson for their own nations about overcoming discrimination and bigotry. “This is a historic event. As far as I know, there is a silent sectarian war between blacks and whites, like the one in Iraq between the Shiites and the Sunnis, but I think Obama’s winning proves that there is no difference between the white people and the black,” said Ammar Makiya, a 24-year-old barber, who worked in Baghdad's Bab Sharji market.'