samedi, septembre 03, 2005

Freedom Fries and Lies of Freedom

First, I like to thank to all who participated on the comments (and welcome Bradi). Instead of replying in the comments sections, I will try to pick up some of your points here, in a new post.

Mauser*Girl, I think that YOU missed my point. YOU maybe only "wonder" about Europeans behavior, but in most blogs I read, people are not wondering - they harshly attack - with hateful words, as if WE did send you that hurricane.

I just wished that, instead of supporting this hatered without any difference you would have shown a more balanced view.

What I tryied to explain is, that there is nothing to be wondering about at all. Things just went in their normal way.

I remind very well the Tsunami. Even if it was clear at a much earlier time that it was a real huge catasrophe, calling for private relief and aid only started aproximatively 5 or 6 days after the impact. In fact not any earlier than for Katrina.

The US were critiqued because they (at least the official USA) waited far the longest to show some compassion. And I remember damn well several postings in US-Forums of people who complained that there is American aid at all.
One Jerk even wrote that after all, It were "just worthless Asians" and that the money better should go to supply US-troops in Iraq. That was the reason I left that forum and unfortunately lost a couple of friends.
I am still hurt of that time and that's the reason why I take this issue at heart. I simply cannot understand why in moments of grief, when we all should stand together, Americans, Europeans, Asians and whoever - old hatreds emerge. I simply don't understand that.

But back to Katrina: American ciritizism would have been justified if, even after several weeks the Europeans showed indifference and were unwilling to help. I can't but repeat it: You didn't even give us the time to realize what happened. We were condemned in advance. And without the slightest difference. I have no problem when specific politicians are critizised, such as Trittin, but if you speak of the "Europeans", you mean ME too.
And that offends me, because I think that you should know me at least this good enough that I would never been indifferent to whats happening in America and always feel compassion for battered people.

Even if you think that most European governemnts are a gang of morons, make a difference between individuals. Because generalisation is the poison that leads to hatred and intolerance.

How can you pretend that we were not feel sorry? Did you see in our hearts? You mostly know what you see in your news. Do at least consider that this may be only a part of the truth.

And don't tell me that Americans jump up at every catasrophe somewhere on the globe, desperatly searching for their money to send to charity-organisations within the first minutes.

The freedom-fries thing was real embarassing. I asked myself how much self-comedy one can manage without getting aware that he's making a total fool out of himself. Indeed, French Fries aren't french. The French haute cuisine despises those clumsy, BELGIAN potato sticks deeply. ;-)

However. I really have to be fair and do admit that there acrually also is a LOT of anti-american feelings, especially in France. A lot of french readers of my comic say to me that the comic would be good if I gaven't choosen a "dirty American President" as a hero.
And only one day after 9/11 our post-office employee said that the terrorists did well, because the Americans did also destroy cities at WW2. This makes my exremly sad and I fear the vicious circle. You say "fuck you" to me and I say "fuck you" to you and soon there's nothing but bitter foes.

10 commentaires:

Ross a dit…

I find it interesting how history gets twisted to suit someones hate mongering agenda, "And only one day after 9/11 our post-office employee said that the terrorists did well, because the Americans did also destroy cities at WW2." Americans were begged by the French and English to enter the war (WW2). It was the Americans that made the difference and defeated Nazi rule. Maybe that employee would be happier under the Third Reich.

The comment about Americans not responding to the Tsunami disaster is just plain hog wash. I am the pastor of an American church. I know for a fact that our New York community gave from their hearts, and children's mouths to send everything they could to aid the Tsunami victims. I might ask if the Frecnh people are taking anything from their children to aid the Katrina victims. Are any of the liberated countries of Europe, the people of those countries taking food from their children's moths or clothes from their backs to aid the Katrina victims?

It is easy for smug hate mongers to bad mouth America, but those very people are the first to scream for the Americans when their life, liberty, or hapiness is threatened! I am an American. I hate George Bush! I am a proud defender of this country and a United States Marine (inactive for a couple of decades) and a voting Republican. Yet I did NOT vote for Bush anbd fight every day to try and keep his insanity from doing irreperable harm. But that doesn't mean America is bad. It means that 49% of Americans were right and a few were fooled and some are stupid. It doesn't mean that we aren't a loving and giving nation.
I love Europe and I think the EU has a lot going for it. I found the French people to be a real friedly lot. (Not as friendly as the Germans, Austrians, or Swiss; but friendly none-the-less.) The last timeI was there, people treated me well, but admitted they were afraid that G.W. Bush was too much like Adolph Hitler or Musselini. They were right to be conserned. I too see the similarities, but that is not America and that is not representative of Americans as a whole. We correct our problems. Bush will be history in a few years (can't run again). Then we will clean up what he has soiled. Can Europe or Europeans make that claim. When you sully the watters, you just leave!
In conclusion. When the hate mongers who have so much angst against America start giving and helping others as uch as we givve and help, then they can stand in judgement. Until then, they remain... foul air./

Diana Kennedy a dit…

Ross, I have the feeling you didn't read my post carefully, or it was me who could not express myself properly.
I didn't say Americans didn't care for the Tsuami. I said that the official Governement reacted rather late.

You ask: "Are any of the liberated countries of Europe, the people of those countries taking food from their children's moths or clothes from their backs to aid the Katrina victims?"

They would, if ENTIRE America was devasted. (or at least, most) For now its (how many percent does Louisina make of the whole US?) "only" a part. So we simply guess that the Rest of America would help out the victims with clothes. Is this such a wrong guess?

Again: Nobody also expects Americans send care-parcels for portugeese who have lost all because of fire.

Shit - why is exactly this issue so damn hard to understand?

A clothing send from Ohio to New Orleans probably also gets there faster than one send from Paris. But if Americans really are not able to take care of their own people, I'll start a collect.

Diana Kennedy a dit…

From Slim:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/trib/pmupdate/s_370190.html

Bradi a dit…

All of this talk of the lack of compassion reminds me of something that I wrote in my blog in January this year after the tsunami tragedy. Sometimes I like to write verbatim dialogue of my co-workers who are so insane. If you will indulge me, I will quote it here. What follows is the kind of blind hatred that I guess can happen in any country...

Just got back from lunch with my co-workers. I wanted to go to Hooters, but my co-worker B_______ is a fundamentalist Christian, so we are forbidden to go there. Like many Americans, we discussed the recent tsunami tragedy. B_______ looked on the bright side

"You know, something like 2500 Americans are missing. It's our problem as well," I said.

B______ pondered this for awhile and then added, "Well, 2500 is a small price to pay, if it means that 120,000 muslims are dead.Should we feel real bad that 120,000 muslims gettin' killed?"

"Well FUCK YOU!," I responded, "I've got family over there! You don't know anything about Indonesians. They're great!"

My boss, J_____ said, "Family? How many family members do you currently have?"

"Well, just one. And I guess my step-mother. She's Indonesian."

"Family donotes plurality." J____ said I was misrepresenting myself. He brought up the fact that I haven't seen or talked to my dad in about a decade. I've never net my step-mother. They then speculated that most Indonesians were symphathetic to terrorist causes.

I like my co-workers, but their extreme right-wing views are troubling.

And that's it! Pretty wild huh? I still go out to lunch with them, but last they tried to tell me that evolution isn't for real and mankind lived with alongside the dinosaurs, much like The Flintstones. That's another discussion, for another time.

mauser*girl a dit…

No, I understood your post quite well. I have no control over what other people write on their blogs, but the ones I read and have read were *wondering* where the response was, whether anyone had said as much as, "We're sorry this happened to you."

If other people out there were being hateful, why did you take that and bring it to my blog with your response? I said nothing to the effect of, "Screw Europe" etc. Other blogs did. I was wondering where the compassion was. But you chose to comment on my blog and say that "the Americans" are acting self-righteous expecting Europe to come act like babysitters.

I think you meant well with your comments but pointed them at the wrong person. I have no control over what others write. Obviously, there are morons on both side of the issue. There are those in the States who whine about Europe, and those in Europe who bash the States. I'm neither.

But somehow I ended up on the short end of the stick (or argument). And I think if you come to my blog to gripe about those people, I wouldn't be human if it wouldn't piss me off. I never said mean things about Europe. I just asked where the compassion was.

And no, the US were not criticised because they "waited the longest" to show compassion for the tsunami victims. The US wrote a check for $20,000 right away - the initial check. They had to wait for approval to send more.

And the problem is, when you have public officials like Trittin make statements like that on the international news, they're not just speaking as one person, they're speaking for their respective country. People understand that even though they are elected officials, they don't always represent the majority of their people - BUT, they're the public face in the media, and it naturally gets people upset when they get up and say something that stupid and hurtful.

And yes, American charities are all over the place. Heck, we're organizing Russian summer camps for some ungodly reason - there's whole organizations whose mission is to do this, like US Aid (http://www.usaid.gov/).

Diana Kennedy a dit…

I commented on your blog because you raised the issue there. When you run a blog and post controversy, expect controverse comments. Or disable the comment function or just write about cats.

You say:

"I never said mean things about Europe. I just asked where the compassion was."

Please understand that this was actually mean enough for my personal perception. I say it clearly and straight away: I will not left uncommented any complain about pretended lack of compassion against Europeans in the whole - not on front the incredible mess your own governement does:

It took FOUR DAYS for the US help getting there!! The president itself saw no need to cancel his vacations - until two days after the catastrophe.

Ask HIM about lacking compassion! The Mayor of New Orleans does!

Europeans are supposed to see the whole gravity instantly - but GWB of course, not.
WE have sunday now, Storm was on monday and half the world has pledged help to the US. This is actually as fast as for the Tsunami.

And The US WERE actually criticed for waiting so long at the Tsunami. I remember well the news.
You can discuss if the critics were justified or not, but the they actually were such.

Anyway, I should have been more diplomatic in your blog. I never meant to attack you or anyone, but in this issue it is real hard for me to stay diplomatic.
As I said, I was once a Storm Victim too. Sure it was not that bad as in Louisina, but bad enough for me having nightmares until today. And enough for having all the compassion you can think of for the Katrina-Victims. That's why being charged of lack of compassion really hurts.

mauser*girl a dit…

Fine. I tried being diplomatic with the last comment, but I guess I should just stick to writing about cats or turn off my comments then.

Kyle Miller a dit…

We have leaders that prefer to divide than to unite (if you don't believe me, you just have to look at some of the public statements made by Dick Chaney and Karl Rove at fund raisers - they're very clear to say that THEIR SIDE is doing the right things and the OTHER SIDE is bringing us to ruin. What's unifying about that?) Adding fuel to the fire are the pundits and talk radio hosts who scream and use unappealing labels to turn all who oppose them into a faceless menace. How does this foster civility? There was a time when we were all willing to work together, but now these folks are quite content to do without all that they disapprove of. I think it was Benjamin Franklin who said "If we do not stand together we shall surely hang seperately." This "go it alone" attitude is suicidal.

Steen a dit…

Hmm. Well personally, as an American, I was (pleasantly) surprised that other countries offered aid at all for the victims of Katrina. Not because I assumed other countries to be uncaring, mind you! I just had always assumed that the US and the others gave aid to Indonesia because that is a poorer area of the world that needed outside help in order to rebuild. America, on the other hand, seems rich enough to hold their own in this catastrophe. In my mind, I had always equated giving aid with giving money to poorer countries.

So when I heard about other countries offering us aid, I remember my immediate thoughts being, "Whoa. That's nice of them... this isn't their problem, they sure didn't have to do that..." Now obviously I expected the other countries to offer their condolences (as they did), but the aid completely blew me off my feet. I guess I never knew that we needed forgein aid.

But I guess I was kinda out of it and clueless about that. And I'll admit, I am very "out-of-the-loop" when it comes to how the world operates today, so don't bash me for my ignorance. I just want everybody to know I am very grateful for any aid at all, whether it comes from Americans or the people of any other country in the world.

I think it is tedious to "look a gift-horse in the mouth" and whine about when it got here, or how it got here, or why. I remember being very annoyed when people were critisizing America so harshly for not giving enough early enough to Indonesia (instead of being grateful for what we did give), and I am again annoyed when people are critisizing the other countries for "doing the same" to America now. Those are my feelings on this.

Marco a dit…

Hey Dianne.

Marco here, the Grittie guy.

Hmm. I'm not sure I have anything solid to contribute. I dont have as many facts about what happened in New Orleans, because all last week I was in a Florida Power and Light staging site (my employer), restoring things after Katrina battered florida on its way there. Not fun, 6 am to 10 pm shifts, and sleeping in the car, etc. Anyway, its over.

And I just wanted to say, that for everyone I saw and met in that camp... the linemen, the tree clearing crews, the patrolmen, us at logistics, everyone... nobody had time to discuss anything political. It looked as if nobody cared. Maybe we did care and had our opinions, but there was just like 40 minutes for lunch each day, to talk. And then they all had to jump back in the bucket truck and go fix some more poles and transformers and what not.

All I mean to say is.... .. I believe this is a time to pull together. And I felt sorry when I saw your post in the TWCL, saying you were retiring. If anything I could say matters, please dont. It would be a great loss. And it would be unnecessary too.

I have a little bit of experience with online fights, and falling in and out of online friendships over issues, because of a site I've been running, vaxia.org. And.. I've learned that in the end, almost no fight is worth quitting a community, and .. I've learned things posted permanently (even on boards or blogs) have like 3 to 4 times more strenght than they should have, because of being permanent. Often times the people who say the offense, didnt really mean it so strongly, and the ones who take the offense, wouldnt be so offended if it had been said over real life talk, or at least in a chatroom that scrolls off and leaves no permanent record.

Anyway. I'm just rambling now.

I just wish you will feel better soon, and dont decide to retire from a good thing, simply because of an offense that wasnt likely meant to make you retire. Thats my humble opinion.

You are very appreciated by me, and I'm sure, by others.

Take care,

Marco