Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

What People Overseas Think Of Americans -- A Personal Anecdote

As part of the coverage of the 5th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, there were a lot of words written about how the rest of the world hates Americans. In response, I'd like to offer a personal experience that shows that there are still parts of the world where America is admired.

So there I was -- on a TAD trip to Warsaw, Poland, back when I was at CENTCOM in early 2004. I had finished up work for the day, so the U.S. Army major I was working with and I went to do a little shopping for the home folk after changing into civvies. We walked into a department store, and split up after a while to look for stuff. I had a question, so I went up to the clerk and gave her my best "Dzien dobry"; in response, she said, "I can speak English". I was a little disappointed, because I'd been working hard on the five or six Polish phrases I'd learned from the liaison officers in Tampa, so I asked her how she knew I wasn't Polish. She explained: "I knew you were an American when I saw you walk into the store, and you were talking with a black man as an equal."

So, there are still some places outside the U.S. where people know that being an American is something special.

11 Comments:

Blogger Ferris said...

Great story.

I was in Chile a few years ago for work and had a similar experience. I had gone down about a month before the rest of my crew got there and took one of my co-workers out for coffee to get caught up. While we were sitting there a college age guy came up an asked if we were Americans. This was just after the Iraq invasion and I saw my co-worker was a little worried about where this might go. I hadn't run into any problems and simply said, 'yes we are'. The kid smiled and ask if he could shake our hands. Naturally this was a little odd but we did and he turned to leave. I called him back and asked him what that was about. He simply said, "I love America, I want to visit someday and I've always wanted to shake hands with an American. Thank you".

Pretty amazing and humbling experience.

9/15/2006 9:29 AM

 
Blogger ninme said...

Who was this black man and why were you talking to him!? Don't you know we're a racist, segregated society with a heavy burden of the history of slaver and oppression still upon our shoulders?!

We had an exchange program with Chile in high school. Every year there was a new boy with a name like Jaime for the girls to coo over.

9/15/2006 10:36 AM

 
Blogger Skippy-san said...

I'll bet you never expected to go to Poland when you went to CENTCOM.......

9/15/2006 2:56 PM

 
Blogger WillyShake said...

woah. Great story--thanks!

9/16/2006 6:10 AM

 
Blogger Alex Nunez said...

Best thing I've read all week, Joel.

9/16/2006 7:36 AM

 
Blogger Bubblehead said...

Thanks... it was a pretty good feeling.

And Skippy: You're right. I fully expected to go to Iraq instead. Still, it was nice to get over to Europe at least once (all my previous deployments had been Pac/IO/Gulf).

9/16/2006 12:15 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These have got to be the most pathetic examples of "why the world actually loves us" that I've ever heard.

9/25/2006 11:06 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The flip side of the coin is how the people feel in 140 countries where the US must have military installations for good.

Did you know that Germany for example is still occupied after 65 years, with nearly 100K troops in over 200 military bases. And that Germany is still officially considered an enemy punished with international sanctions. That's one of over 140 countries that all have been blessed by US protection.

The liberator story is a farce if the troops never leave.

It's one thing of meeting somebody in the world as a likeable human being, what most Americans are, and a completely different story when one represents or promotes the US foreign policies.

Go visit the countries as a tourist. Unfortunately, most Americans that have ever set food in another country have done so as a camouflage tourist. Not the same.

The arguments why that all is needed are just as screwed up as the arguments on why
- you cannot see off your spouse to the plane anymore
- you cannot carry more than a few K in cash
- you have chips in your passports
- you cannot carry a gun freely
- you are told what you can and cannot eat
- you are openly lied to by politicians (not unique to the US)
- you cannot grow food at home
- you must be reported for moving more than 10K, buying certain bathroom cleaners and house chemicals, large quantities of food or matches, buying millitary surplus items and MREs, ...
- you cannot go from A to B with any public transportation without identifying yourself
- you cannot open a bank account without tracking
- you cannot perform in many occupations without all kind of constrains
- you cannot ask a police officer for his ID without repercussion
- you can no longer speak freely in a public place
- you can no longer assemble peacefully without repercussion
- you are manipulated as a juror in court
- the police doesn't claim to protect and serve "you" anymore
- you cannot trust in justice anymore "innocent until proven guilty" is a thing of the past
- everybody is monitored and treated like a potential terrorist and suspicion is enough to strip you of any right you ever thought you have
- you cannot own a piece of land (in allodium anymore)and not owe anybody a thing, even if you where never to leave that land.
- you are given rat poison (fluorite) in the water and be sprayed with chemicals
- you cannot communicate in private
- you live in the land of the free, which has the highest per capta imprisionment rate in the world. Possibly more than there were slaves at one time.
.... the list goes on and on.

You might want to ask yourself what you are supporting or are so proud of. In the light of the points above, terms like Communism, 3rd Reich, Communist Russia come to mind.

It looks like America has been occupied as well. People just don't see it.

I got a little off topic. It just shows what comes to mind. I hope some day people will wake up and realize that we are all one in nature and overcome their need for surrending their faith to selfish rulers.

1/13/2012 3:02 PM

 
Anonymous www.encontactos.com said...

It will not succeed in reality, that's exactly what I think.

3/22/2012 8:55 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do i think my comment does not matter ? YES Do i think i shouldn't say it ? YES . Not all people hate america , but definetly there are ones that doo. I personaly do not hate Americans , but the gouvermant ( in my ayes ) and its desisions are the factors that determine my view. I live in A country in Balkan ( you could say Europe ) . I know , firs hand , what is it like to ask your mother as a child , crying for hours , " mother , why are they doing this ? " no child white or black , big or small, american , russian , african..... should ever find it's self in such a situation. While u hear detonations and feel them thrue cold concrete walls u do NOT understand, all u know and recognise is fear. There are no rules in war , I agree , but when one imperior colective bombs a city (that has no more then fue hunderts of soldiers) with weapons that are defines as inhumane , what can u think of those people , what can u wish them , ask your selfs. I love my country , i love my people, not gouvermant. I survived, it was not that horror like , but i am one of many that where lucky back then, some wern't , They bombed hospitals ( civilian) , food centers etc.... that is how America presented it's self in my eyes, yet i do not hate u people , cant say that i love u i love my family and those close , but definetly do not hate u. In every state in the world there are things that need to be solved. We live in a time where we know that are children WILL HAVE PROBLEMS, that IS the direction of this world . We need to stop them using us all as tools for there sick ideas and ideals, we are one ,yet they have manages to turn us against each other.

If u ask me Americans are not liked by many, i dont think its because american people are the couse , rader the actions of there lieders.

I apologise for the gramer , English is not my first language.

8/19/2012 6:59 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. I barely agree with what the government is doing in America. Im an American girl who believes a lot of our politicians are corrupt. But a lot of Americans tour other places and point and luagh of the flaws in different countries. That combined with our government makes us seem really bad, but their are really good Americans here and a lot too! Not all Americans point out flaws or critize countries for how they are. I am one to get to know a pwrson or group of people in a foreign country and try to get to know them while admiring what the country can offer. I admire my country for the freedom we have because there are countries that unfortunately don't have the kind freedom i have. Unfortunately with freedom comes problems and America is like a breeding ground for negative behaviour. We don't have people there to tell us we can't think a certain way because we have freedom of speech, the right to bare arms, to write what we want. So there will be people who use that freedom badly. But not all Americans use their freedom badly. If people arw judging us for what some people do in this country, what does it say to the person critizing us. They arw just as ignorant, because they can't see the good people here. We are all human and we make mistakes. That is how we learn. I have a long life to make mistakes as im only 18. I can be wrong in my comment or close to the truth. But people can say what they wanna say because i know who i am as a person. I am not ignorant or stupid. I am but one American in the millions thar live in this country. I am proud to be American. :)

9/13/2012 10:43 AM

 

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