Judging places you haven't been to

December 22nd, 2004  
A Can of Man

Topic: Judging places you haven't been to

I think the topic with Chewie and the US went off topic so I decided to make this thread to carry that discussion on.

I have to say, to really understand a place you have to go there. You have to go there and you have to interact. You don't neccessarily have to live there (though it helps) but you should certainly be there longer than one month to get a general level of understanding.
I am a foreigner who lived in the US for 4 1/2 years (now due to leave in a matter of days) and I'll tell you, a lot of things people say about the USA are absolutely inaccurate and don't understand the level of diversity involved in a country that sports the size and ethnic diversity of the United States. It is unbelievable and actually maybe with the exception of Russia, makes the US quite unique in this aspect.
By all means you can be critical of the US, after all their priorities could go against your priorities but it's important to keep to the facts.
If you haven't been there, the next best thing is having met lots of people from that area. But still that's a distant second to having actually been there.
I also know this from my Indonesia experience. Many people had inaccurate assumptions or just didn't know about it. But I know, not really by spending years studying it, but just by living there.
December 22nd, 2004  
lol. you beat me to it redneck, but better coming from someone else tho!

for the record, my finances & my education came before travel. but that shouldn't mean that i don't want to travel. i am very interested in world events and tend to have strong views on global politics.

and a variation on a theme, to understand the beef that someone has with you sometimes you have to look at it from their point of view.

a friend of mine made what i admit was a huge over symplication not long after the start of the war in afghanistan...but it DID fit in my mind.
(i also realise that this statement may touch a few nerves, but i want to put it out there as an example)

after 9/11 the US was like a drunk in a bar, sure that someone pushed him, but unsure exactly where they were, so, might as well just come out swinging.

just to bait the bear, how many US citizens have been to a muslim country? and in a non-military fashion? my G/F is in saudi at the moment, so i am familar with what it's like there, if only second hand.

p.s; i promise to play nice

December 26th, 2004  
Charge 7
Well, 13th Redneck that was very well said. Nice to know that despite our sometimes disagreements we can find common ground. I've long felt as you stated. I get irritated at frequent US bashing, not that we are anywhere near perfection, but that it seems like "the thing to do" for many folks here and I don't see much of the same for any other countries who are not anywhere closer to being perfect than we are. That isn't a call to start bashing Britain, Russia, France et al - rather a wish to tame down the flaming the US.

I have been to a Muslim country but not in a non-military fashion. It may interest you to know that the dearest friend I have on this earth is a Muslim from Tajikistan. He's also a former Soviet soldier. How's that for detanté?
December 26th, 2004  
Well, in all honesty, some places can not be visited by some people, like me, a White, Christian, Male American, trying to visit Mecca during the pilgrimage, sure only a tiny fraction of Muslims believe the same beliefs as Osama but that is just enough to cause problems, lots of them. And how about these anti-US rallies? Are they sending mixed messages when in a country of 58 million only 1,500 people show up to an anti-US rally and it is the biggest yet which is supposed to send a message to the US to get out of their country? When so few people show up that the percentage is approximately zero but yet it is supposed to be a dagger through the heart. Foreigners can not and should not have to shoulder all the blame for anti-US sentimant, the Democrats (Which I am.) should have to shoulder it too because a lot of hatred towards American's in the eyes of Americans is started by the Democratic media to try and get rid of Bush, we lost but we still do it, why?
December 26th, 2004  
I agree, Ive been to amreica, it was like home only bigger.
December 26th, 2004  
I think the difference comes from meeting people and interacting with them when you actually visit a place. Down deep, where it matters, we are all the same. And when you actually have the chance to get to know someone in their home country, and get the feel for a country from a person, rather than what you read, or see in the media, your perspective cannot help but to be altered.