Wednesday, June 27, 2007



It's safer to carry a Canadian one

At 15 I left home and hitchhiked to Florida to visit my grandparents in Miami Beach for Pessach. I was arrested on the New Jersey State Turnpike an hour after I set out and they made my (angry) father come pick me up. He gave me the bus fare so I could continue my trip. A couple years later I hitched to California. A few years later I flew to Europe, bought a VW van and drove to India. I spent over six years overseas, two of them in places like Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan... places where Americans were once feted and adored and are now... no longer quite so welcome. In fact, as recently as the 90's America was clearly the most beloved country in the world and an American passport was always a badge of honor. With the assumption of power by George Bush and the violent and aggressive clique of fascists around him that ended and was turned on its head.

According to tomorrow's Washington Post anti-Americanism has gotten much deeper. I notice it all the time in my travels these days. Everyone who travels does. If you look at my travel blog, AroundTheWorldBlog, it's a topic I often talk about. I didn't need the Post to tell me things have worsened, dramatically, under Bush. Right now I'm planning a long trip to India and I'm being less carefree about where I'm going and what arrangements I make.
The image of the United States has "plummeted" in many parts of the world, with mounting distrust of President Bush and U.S. foreign policy expressed not only in Muslim countries but also among traditional allies, according to a survey of global attitudes released yesterday.

...Respondents harshly criticized the United States for acting without taking the views of other countries into consideration. Support was strong for a U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq, and there was "considerable" opposition among those surveyed to U.S. and NATO operations in Afghanistan... Favorable views of the United States among Pakistanis dropped to just 15 percent, and among Turks to 9 percent.

After the theft of the 2004 election Europeans gave up on Americans at cowards who had been bought off and given in to tyranny. We are looked out by many Europeans as a people who didn't have the backbone to stand up to those who wrecked our democracy, as a people unwilling to risk our creature comforts-- or anything else-- in the face of the blatant destruction of our Constitution. Or maybe it's just the type of Europeans I hang around with.


You could ask that question almost anywhere in the world and get the same answer-- a four letter word starting with B. But that very same B. was addressing cadets at the Naval War College in Newport today and he got lots of applause and yucks when he said, "One day, the good Lord will take Fidel Castro away."

Castro, a man with some faults, like all of us, has been granted a long life by the Good Lord. He has protected his country from American corporate and military imperialism since the 60s. He has a great deal to be proud of and is one of the most admired men on earth. Bush, as everyone knows, is one of the most hated and reviled men on earth and certainly the worst president of the United States in history.



At 11:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think you will be unsafe in India, Howie. But if you happen to get into a little longer conversation with anyone, you could probably expect a bit of harsh criticism. It may even offend you.

- mahacactus

At 8:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just got back from two weeks traveling to London, Paris, and Brussels with 10 of my fellow Graduate students. While in Paris, one of my friends was dragged out of a cab after the driver realized she was American and screamed horrible names at her. While I was in London, I was asked by the leader of a walking tour I wanted to go on to not pay and leave as he hated Americans and did not want me there. Now, although I feel that their behavior was childish and scary- seeing that they know nothing about me- ten years ago while in Italy I was welcomed with open arms and constantly lamented and told stories of how our brave soldiers helped them during WW II. It is truly sad what this administration has done to this country.

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