READ THIS AND WEEP SOME MORE:
An Open Letter to America from a New Zealander
EDITORS NOTE: Due to the volume of hate mail received by Mr. McDougal of Canada in retaliation for expressing his opinion in his Open Letter to America from a Canadian, the Chronicle has elected to omit the writers name. We will thus have to take whatever heat this letter generates. But that is a small price to pay in order to present to the US public the unvarnished viewpoints of people who live outside our borders.
I read with interest your editorials and note the considerable reaction to the contributor who penned the Open letter to the US from a Canadian."
The reaction from some Americans to that letter is one of pointing the finger back at Canada, claiming that things are not so squeaky clean there either, and some people are asking, "What gives a Canadian the right to give an opinion on America?"
Things may not be well in Canada, and the same goes for almost every nation on this planet. However, Canada and most other nations are not war-mongering or pursuing imperialism/global corporatizing like America is. There is the difference.
Whatever happens in America and to America has an effect on Canada and that gives any Canadian the right to speak out. The same goes for my small country, New Zealand. America dips its toes in the water and my nation gets flooded by a tidal wave...such is the power and influence of a once-great nation.
Much of the rest of the world is abiding by the UN and the World Court and the Geneva convention. With every US breach (and the US has been found guilty by the World Court for atrocities over the Gulf War), the US is steadily falling out of favor with the citizens of friendly foreign nations. Even the governments of some of those countries are beginning to question their associations and ties. Not that long ago, this was unheard of.
So people of America, if this is what your foreign friends are doing, what do you think is the effect on those neighbors who never liked you in the first place? Do you think they find it easy to begin to become compassionate when all they see is a bully nation bombing another in the name of finding one Bin Laden for a crime they are not convinced that he committed?
By the way, 9-11 did not change the world. There have been bigger atrocities than that and some of them committed by the US on other nations, though your heavily censored media would have many of you not know about them. One might like to wonder what another nation could be so angry about to inflict that sort of carnage. In other words, what previous action would create a reaction like that? The 9-11 bombing was a consequence of what? What did American foreign policy do to invite that sort of reaction?
In New Zealand several years ago, we too had a bombing by the French on our soil. The New Zealand Greenpeace vessel "Rainbow Warrior" was blown up while docked. It was a boat used to peacefully protest the nuclear tests at the French Muraroa Atoll.
New Zealand did not go to war with France, nor did we round up all the French citizens residing in our country and throw them in jail for later questioning or prosecution. We did not decide that it had to be the work of one foreign leader and invade that country to get him. The French bombers were treated in accordance with international law and a trial was held. (You see, many of us could not be convinced that, if caught, Bin Laden would be given a fair trial in the US. I know that sounds ironic in the land of the free, but that is how we have come to view America now.)
Americans hopefully will come to realize that while we of other nations do not live in America, we are very much affected by what happens in America and what Bush decides to do. I have come to the conclusion that the American influence in and dominance of this world has grown quite beyond the comprehension of many U.S. citizens, as witnessed by some of the comments on this forum.
When more Americans are aware, they will be less prone to criticizing those who are now questioning America and they will realize that we all have a very real right to be concerned with and afraid of what is happening in America.
To fight evil, it helps to be good, and that means abiding by established written and moral codes. American policy does not seem to do that these days and that leads us of other nations to wonder why. It helps when fighting evil to not lower oneself to that level. It helps set an example for others to follow.
If Bush admitted that Afganistan and Iraq have been targetted primarily for plunder and control of natural resources, how many Americans would support that? How many Americans are not prepared to compromise their lifestyle and would support war if it meant that they could maintain their lifestyle?
A question that we of other nations ask is, "what does America stand to gain by invading Iraq?" The answer appears to be control and wealth, the two spoils of war, and that raises considerable cynicism amongst us.
What if Saddam has weapons of mass destruction? So do other countries. What makes Iraq any different or more of a threat to the U.S? Is it the possibility that Saddam might be insane? It could just as easily be argued that Bush and Blair are lunatics and they have more and bigger guns.
We of other nations remember that Bush was not your truly elected president. To us it seemed as though the recounts just kept on happening until the desired result was achieved, and that sent huge alarm bells to us. We at once became afraid, and asked the question, Who wants Bush in power so badly that they will do whatever it takes to get him there? I am surprised that more Americans did not seem to share our worry.
Within a few months of Bush arriving in office, the US has a war on Afghanistan under the guise of getting revenge on one man. I don't know how many people remember, but apart from killing untold numbers of other innocent families, Bin Laden is still at large. Americans can feel no better for the losses of their own in the US. The dead Americans are still dead, and now we have more Afghans dead, and America has just created some new enemies.
So Bush shifts now towards Al Queda and Saddam Hussein as being the bad guys, and it appears to us that he's doing whatever it takes to gear up support for another war: an invasion of Iraq. Bush talks as though his whole country supports him, and we on the outside suspect and hope that can't be true.
Please do not get me wrong. I like America and like Americans.It is just that in recent years I have come to realize that America was once a great nation, but is no more, and unless the people stop taking this crap real soon, Americans will find themselves out of favor with most of the rest of the world.
Please Americans, know that your government has in recent times arrogantly ignored the Geneva Convention, The United Nations, and the World Court. Your government refuses to accept the World Court ruling that Israel leave the West Bank to Palestine.
And instead of scolding the suicide bombers, look to the cause of that desperate action. What would drive a person to be so empty of hope and freedom that one would resort to suicide? Would you wish to live if you were that repressed? Can you imagine how bad it would have to be before you would kill yourself in despair?
Demand that your government respect the rest of the world and instead of declaring war on your own bat, seek the approval of your neighbors first. That is what the United Nations is all about.
The US has fallen out of step with its neighbors in recent years and is now looked upon by once friendly nations as being a bully and a tyrant, whittling away freedoms in the name of a war on terrorism and labelling every person who does not 100% support the US on every issue as a threat.
I would love to see citizens of the US form mass peace demonstrations so that the rest of the world has a chance to realize that the actions of the US government are not the express wishes of its people. Your president is your ambassador; we of other nations tend to see America exactly as we see Bush. I am heartened by a letter on this forum which points out that it took only 100,000 demonstrators to end America's participation in the Vietnam War. That is all it took to convince Lyndon Johnson that all was lost. Unfortunately, the voice of the people may not be heeded in the US today as it was then: in Washington, DC on October 26, 2002 there were 100,000 demonstrators against invading Iraq—but apparently few of your media reported the true magnitude of that event. And now we are grieved by the results of your recent election.
To us on the outside, there seems to be precious little difference between the state of play in the US and the state of play in Nazi Germany a few decades ago. Americans may disagree on that point, but that is what it looks like from the outside.
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so you in the US might like to think about that before casting the first stone missile or army into another country. Things have a habit of bouncing back. Remember that to do nothing is to support your government, and that makes you just as responsible for its actions.
People of America, celebrate the great things that your forefathers created. Claim back the freedom you had until recently, and make sure that your leader plays by the rules of fair play and peace for all.
Remember also that Hitler was revered as an international hero and a great hope for Germany before he got out of hand and wanted to rule the world.History shows that Hitler also created a situation to appear like an attack from enemies, in order to get his country to go to war. Don't let yourselves be fooled in this fashion. Make absolutely sure who and where the enemy is before throwing the spear.
Things are not always as they first seem, and those leaders who continually speak of God and Evil are the ones I am most wary of. Like crooked evangelists, they often hide their true intentions.
Americans might also like to ask themselves if they are satisfied with the promised full investigation into 9-11, and ask what Cheney could have to hide in those energy reports (could they have anything to do with attacking Afghanistan and Iraq?).
I hope that all Americans at least get to see John Pilger's "Palestine IS Still The Issue" and Michael Moore's film "Bowling for Columbine" and then ask themselves, "What am I doing or supporting to create this?"
We of other nations look to you to restore peace and get rid of the enemy within, and the rest will take care of itself. Draw upon the ideals of your constitution and your founding fathers, and once again, the US can be the leading light instead of Darth Vader.
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This story was published on November 9, 2002.