Tens of millions around the world watched Barack Obama take the presidential oath of office Tuesday with a mix both of hope that he’d bring peace to a war-torn world and skepticism about what one man could accomplish.

In Jakarta, Indonesia, where Obama lived as a child with his mother for four years, about 1,000 excited people crowded into a hotel ballroom in the Indonesian capital to watch the ceremony.

Among the most excited was Ati Kitjanto, a former classmate of Obama’s at the Muslim Jalan Besuki school.

“We’re very excited that somebody who was in my class and lived in Indonesia has made it this far,” Kitjanto said in a telephone interview. “We feel like some of his personality was molded somehow when he was in Indonesia.”

Obama’s message sparked a different reaction in the Middle East, where Arabs said they didn’t see much change on the way for a U.S. foreign policy they blamed for unpopular actions such as the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the recent Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip.

Ahmad Abdul-Raheem Mezel, 30, a resident of the Iraqi city of Fallujah, voiced a common view, that Obama would do little to improve the lives of everyday Arabs.

“I do not think that Obama will bring any good or prosperity to our life since the former administration spent six years promising that without making any of that come true,” Mezel said.

In the Gaza Strip, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were still digging out of the rubble of Israel’s three-week war on the militant Islamic group Hamas, few people shared the rest of the world’s hope for change under President Obama.

Official Russian media struck a similar tone, predicting the state of U.S.-Russian relations would remain shaky for years to come.

“In my opinion, Russia does not trust the United States at all now,” read a newspaper opinion piece by the head of a pro-government research organization.

Obama’s inauguration didn’t strike such passions – at first – in a Cairo restaurant, where mostly Nubians from southern Egypt chatted in small groups over cups of cardamom-scented coffee and the bubbling of water pipes.

When the cameras showed Barack Obama strolling forward to take the presidential oath, however, the chatter stopped and all eyes were fixed on the monitor.

“I, Barack Hussein Obama . . .” the new president said. The dining room filled with gasps and laughter.

“Hussein! You see? Hussein!” the manager yelled, coming out of his seat. “He said Hussein, right?”

“Yes, yes, he said ‘Hussein,”‘ the waiters assured him.

“Hussein. Ha! They have a president whose father’s name is Hussein!” the manager crowed.

The waiters and customers traded high-fives and hugs. The manager passed out cigarettes in celebration.

As “The Star-Spangled Banner” played, customers returned to their spicy chicken dishes, and the restaurant staff began clearing teacups.

Mohamed, a young Nubian waiter with dimples and gelled hair, said he was proud of Obama but would reserve judgment until he’d seen what the new president could accomplish in office.

“I like him now, but I still don’t know him,” Mohamed said with a shrug. “We’ll wait and see.”

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