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@Scout Why is the Nobel Peace Prize anti-American ? Last year it went to an American, didn't it ? Or do you want to imply, that an American, who disagrees with the current US government is anti-American ? If that's the case you might want to split your country in two and call one half anti-America. @Pamela My grandmother equally dislikes Americans and British as well as Russians etc. for that matter. It's a trauma in her childhood, that is unlikely to be removed. She was a young girl in those days. She loved her home as she frequently talks about it. From a child's perspective, her parents can't possibly do something wrong. That's the way she remembers it. The Russians killed or wounded her brothers and suddenly came to her rural home, destroyed everything and made her leave. Then there came hunger, cold and the danger of being raped by a soldier. On top of that, half her family burns to death in Dresden. You can't reason with here about these things. You might say the Germans deserved what they got - they started the war - but from her perspective the others are the evildoers. I don't feel guilty about what happened in WWII in the sense that it is my fault - it happened 40 years before I was born. However, I do feel a responsibility to make sure something like that does not happen again and especially not here. I am in the fortunate position to still have my grandparents to tell me about those times. That makes it less abstract. The next generation will learn about it probably only from the history books. That's why a real effort is being made to keep that memory alive. In my school every 9th grade took a trip to the KZ Buchenwald near Weimar. There's not much left there, but you get the sense an scope of what happened. You really can't describe what it feels like to stand in front of a burning chamber. I was really moved then and most of the girls broke into tears. We have to live with the past and out of this comes the German tendency to pacifism. Btw. it's the same reason, why we frown upon people who like to have guns in their houses. @svetov Why is it an outrage, that Germany is the biggest trading partner of Iran in Europe ? Germany has been the largest exporter of goods in the world for the past years, so naturally it's the biggest trading partner in Europe for many countries. It's not like they were trading weapons. @garydausz "So, you didn't see the whole thing but use it as your point? Tells me a lot about how easy it is to find positive things about the US in german media" You asked me to name anything, so I took the first hit on google. The "Arte-Themenabend" usually conists of 5-8 ours of movies, documentaries etc. about a certain topic. So no, I didn't watch the whole thing, but only one of the documentaries. "Really, how do you know? What are the latest opinion polls showing about that? How does the fact that you have crucifixes in your classrooms support this?" Well, I do live in Germany and encounter muslims in my everyday life. Especially those of my generation, who have been born and raised in Germany are for the most part completely assimilated. I know them as schoolmates, colleagues and friends. That tells me more about them than any poll - especially when you're familiar with the error margins those "polls" usually have. The cruxifices remark was directed to the notion that Germany will become a muslim country any time soon. "BTW, contrary to what many germans think it is a request, short for "May god bless america" and not an arrogant statement as in "God does bless america"." I know what it means. "And if you were a muslim and you would be offended by that you would be stupid in many ways. The first would be that christians, jews and muslims do believe in the same god." That's a very enlightened point of view, but unfortunately not shared by many in these groups. "Unfortunately it is still set in the mind of too many germans. It is showing itself in the tendency of germans to see everything that is done in a different way than the german as incorrect and stupid." That's completely wrong. There are so many things not only the government but German companies try to learn from others especially the US. It ranges from motivational Methods in a work environment, over the tv show, that's a 1:1 rip off from a US show, the girl who needs to dress exactly like to the reformation of our university system to match the US. "Thats how propaganda works: Take a small truth in turn in it into a big lie." How did it get turned into a big lie ? I don't believe that creationism is taught in all schools throughout the US. I never said the US was going to be a fundamental state and I don't think that has ever been said on any news. I said people feared it. Fear != Believe. I don't believe that earth will be hit by an asteroid in my lifetime. Do I fear it ? Yes. "That you are using the Iraq invasion as an argument for your personal fear about the US already shows me the influence your media had on you. Did you actually read who was the big source for "supposed" Iraqi WMD program? DO you know for which country the BND works? BTW, if it was a lie from the beginning why wasn't the Bush administration "making sure" that some WMDs were found?" I know who they work for and that the BND is in German public opinion not much more than a joke. Did I say I feared something like that ? I said there people who do, not that I did personally. I find it very hard to believe that even the US administration would have been able to "make sure" these weapons were found - especially in the amounts they claimed were there. Someone would have found out and then they would not have been able to say "we acted on false intelligence information." "Really? Made by the commentator or by people he interviewed or had as guests? If so, where?" I mostly watched CNN domestic and Fox News at the time. The remarks were made by commentators as well as interviewed guests. I didn't learn their names by heart. "This is the final proof how lost you are. Thinking that he US media is "controlled" by the government is so ridiculous. And the funny thing is that it comes from someone who is living in a country where political parties are allowed to be in possession of newspapers (DVGG) and where the public TV channels (of which there are plenty) are so politically influenced by the ruling government as they decide who is sitting in their upper echelons." You misunderstood my remark. I didn't say they were controlled directly, but think about it. A network boss, who realizes that is main viewership is conservative, might lean on his producers etc. to show a more pro-conservative view in the news - especially when he is a conservative himself. That's why I do not have a problem with political parties owning newspapers here. You know beforehand to whose political point of view you're likely exposed. If those public channels are controlled by the government, then how come that the shows most critical of our politicians and the goverment e.g. "Neues aus der Anstalt" air on those channels ?
@garydausz I just picked the first page that caught my eye on google. I actually watched part of the documentaries on Arte. The one I saw followed a few US artists, who expressed themselves in very different unique ways. I really liked it. I don't think that the title suggests in any way that it's about a smaller part of America - it's just a different angle. It appears to me you want do find something negative in everything. Are you sure that our anti-Americanism is more pronounced than your anti-Europeanism ? I also said, that I didn't believe that crap about a fundamentalist US, you don't have to tell me about that. The notion that Germany will become a Sharia-state is equally absurd. Most of the muslims in Germany are not only very friendly but pro-West and you said yourself, we do have crucifixes in our classrooms. In my experience they were mainly used for student's pranks and the one time a student in my school felt uncomfortable with the cross in his classroom it was simply taken down - he wasn't even a muslim but an atheist. As far as segragation goes: I believe the US president frequently uses the words "God bless America". Which god does he mean by that ? If I were a muslim in the US, I might be offended as well. "Am deutschen Wesen soll die Welt genesen" is a pre-WWI slogan, brought to life by a deluded aristocratic state. My tenth grade history teacher used it as evidence for the illusions of grandour the "Kaiser" had 100 years ago. If a policitian or any public figure today would utter something like that, he/she would not recover from it. "If germans really think that overconfidence or pride have been the reason for the third Reich it would show me that they really haven't learned the right lessons about the Nazi era" I didn't say it was the reason. I said it fueled both wars. I heard about the national pride in school, of course, but I learned most of it, when my grandfather told me his experiences in the war. He told me about the pride he felt and the cold splash of reality the day in Leningrad he got a shrapnel in his face that he took to his grave. "Perfect example how germans are misled." Misled ? As I recall all big US news agencies covered this as well, because I always read news concerning the US from both perspectives. @GringoTex The tax is indeed voluntary. If you don't want to pay it, you don't have to. While I'm not religious, I do pay the tax. Why ? There are many good institutions the churches finance to 100% from these taxes. These range from day-care for children to shelters for the homeless. I don't know how this is handled in the US, however if the tax wasn't here in Germany, every single one of these institutions would have to compete for charity. I think it simplifies matters. The state is in this case only a middle-man that takes care of the red tape. But if you don't want that, you don't have to pay. "That a substantial number of Germans would believe such nonsense about the US shows 1) an abysmal ignorance about the US, and 2) a woeful lack of critical thinking on the part of many Germans" I didn't say, that many believed it. I said, they feared it. That's an important difference. Fear is something you can't control. Your head tells you one thing, your gut another. The US today is defacto the only real world power. Today it seems friendly, but what about tomorrow ? The US already lead a preemptive strike against Iraq and was not bothered by the UN. As I take it from your comments you've also listened to your media, that tell you, that Europe is ready to fall into muslim hands. If president Bush got up tomorrow and told the nation, that France had to be invaded in order to liberate the French, because the rioting muslims in Paris' suburbs had taken over the French government, how would Americans react ? Would they question him, or would they once again believe and rally behind him, when he sends his troops to war under false pretense ? Have you never seen a movie that showed an unlikely but frightening scenario and worried that it could be real afterwards ? Well, we've seen the real deal happen to another country. In 03 I was desperately clinging to the hope that Bush would finally present the proof that Iraq had WMDs. I watched Powell's speech in front of the UN on CNN where he presented his "evidence". I wanted to be convinced. I refused to believe, that any US goverment would risk something as wrong as war without good reason, because that would open the door to unspeakable evil. Yet, that's what happened. Now if the actions of the latest US administration stirred fears like that in your "allies", what do you think happened in the countries, that were actually enemies of the US or even in the Axis of Evil ? It's interesting that you bring up the "Dolchstoßlegende". The propaganda many believed after WWI that the fighting soldiers had been stabbed in the back by the striking communists at home. That was one of Hitler's central arguments in his rise to power. In early 03 before the Iraq war began, I was discussing the Iraq issue with conservative Americans on a board called libertynewsforum.com . It still exists and while I don't post there anymore (mainly because I always get banned for having an un-American opinion), I read the comments with interest. After the war had begun, everyone there, who expressed a critical opinion was un-American, didn't support the troops or stabbed them in the back. You see the parallels there ? I've seen many such comments on US tv shows at the time. Did the Americans in this forum or the producers of the tv shows review their claims critically ? Or were the producers afraid to loose viewers, if they expressed a different view ? Did they even fear sanctions from the government, if not directly then indirectly via the network bosses ? @americanbychoice How much does the average American know about the political system in Europe ? If you thoroughly read those papers, you will find that Germans are especially critically of themselves when it comes to ineptitudes. If you're really so naive as to believe that there is still any way for the US to cut it's political and economical ties to Europe without taking a devastating blow you're as deluded as those Germans who want the Berlin wall back. I try to keep an open mind, that's why I come to places like this, to exchange opinions. I try to understand the reasons for all the bad blood, because I strongly believe that the West needs to stand united to deal with all the problems the world has these days. We are not that different, despite what the media may want us to believe.
@GringoTex I for one don't care what anyone else believes in. I don't think many people around here care about that. However, I can't stand people who try to convince others, that their religious beliefs are the only true ones, or rub that fact in everyone's face. I tolerate religious people, so I think it's fair, that they tolerate that I don't believe in any particular religion. 911 showed where religious fundamentalism can lead and I believe that people in Germany are a afraid that the US might become something like a Christian fundamentalist state, that tries to impose it's values of Christianity onto the world by force an throw us back into the time of the crusaders. I don't believe that will happen, but fear is not rational. Those feelings are not eased by the news that toy with them. In Germany both main churches try to interpret the bible in a less literal way. Then some newscaster tells us, that a US state wants to teach creationism in schools -> fear. As a German I can say that I am proud of my country only in certain contexts withouth being accused of being a nazi. During the football, sorry soccer worldcup in Germany 2006 there was a tremendous wave of pride in Germany. Not because our team did good, but because we presented us to the world as the modern and open country Germany is for the most part. There were flags everywhere, I had never seen this before. However, at the same time there were people afraid of that development. Both World Wars were fueled to a great deal by the pride and nationalism of the Germans. Since that time nationalism is generally frowned upon in Germany, despite all the things we could be proud of. The German people has learned the hard way where overconfidence and pride can lead and I think you can see why Germans are suspicious of similar developments in the US - it simply reminds us to much of our own past.
@GringoTex I also bought Stupid White Men - mainly because I was curious and so were many others. I was looking for a different perspective on US politics by an American. Of course I was disappointed with all the contradictions and nonsense in the book, but I did not know that before I read it.
@GringoTex I'm not saying that Germany is perfect or anything - far from it. Currently I'm really angry about several decision that have been made by our government. I often marvel how someone who attacks our constitutional rights on a weekly basis like Wolfgang Schäuble can still be our secretary of the interior. He is also no stranger to nazi-comparisons. The answer to that question is answered relatively easy: Germany is an overaged society and outdated opinions still have a solid basis in those people who are 50 or more years old. My grandmother for example is passionately anti-American. I often had arguments about that topic with her over lunch, when I was still in school. She belongs to a generation whose opinions can't be changed any longer - not even with reason. She lost most of her family (aged 13) in the allied bombardement of Dresden in the last weeks of the war when her family had come to the city fleeing from their homes in today's Poland. However, I also did not understand how Bush was reelected by the US people after he had lied to them about the reasons for the Iraq war (--> WMDs). I'm also certain that most Americans agreed with Rumsfeld's remarks, as well as I am certain that quite a number of people agreed with Däubler-Gmelin's comment - yet, support does not make a statement right. It's always nice when policitians get a little upset, because that's when they show their true colours. Rumsfeld, however, did not only offend Chirac or Schroeder - his attack was directed towards the people of those countries and this one statement opened the gates for all that kind of anti-American reporting we've seen. @garydausz http://www.arte.tv/de/Das-andere-Amerika/TV-Programm/1605494.html I don't know, wether you can read it, but Google should be able to help you translate in case you can't. "Michael Moore is not representing the media in the US. He is just a writer/moviemaker." I picked him just from the top of my head. Who is representative for US media ? I'm sorry, I don't recall the general's name. It's been 5 years. I remember that it was a German sounding name and he said that some of his ancestors were German. If you're that interested, I'll write an e-mail to some of my former classmates. Maybe one of them recalls his name.
@Scout "You cannot watch TV news or read a newspaper or a weekly (of any political persuasion) and NOT see some proper Ami-bashing on those points, and more." I just watched the news and the US wasn't even mentioned, so please don't exaggerate. Recently I've happened to zap into a really good political documentation about the pre-election campaigns in the US on Phoenix and in my opinion Senator McCain was shown in a better light than either Clinton or Obama. @GringoTex The woman is stupid, no doubt about it. She had to give up her office after her remarks about Bush. However, she is entitled to her opinion. As long as she does nothing illegal, there are no means to shut her out of the policital process as long as she got a few supporters. If there were, we weren't a democracy an longer. By contrast look at Donald Rumsfeld's remarks on "Old Europe", which greatly angered everyone in the addressed countries. Granted his remarks don't belong in the same category, but was he even reprimanded ?
@garydausz It's not true that everything American is shown in a bad light. Not even everything Republican. Like in the US the way things are reported varies from station to station. If you look for example at a station like Euronews, that reports everything matter of factly or my favorite part, when they just show images without any comment that's quite different from what you get on other channels. As I said before, I do watch US television. So I do know what they report and of course there are shows that are very Bush critical - if there weren't I'd be frightened out of my wits. You're right, when you call certain programmes biased. That happens frequently but by far not only when it comes to the US. Often inner-German problems get the same treatment. You just have to look at the "Killerspiele" (killer-games) discussion everytime a youth commits a noteworthy crime. It usually depends on the team that puts these shows together and when you watch television you learn to avoid work of certain people. It's the same in the US - just look at Michael Moore and his far-fetched conspiracy theories. Yes, in 03 a US general did a PR tour. I don't know how many schools he visited overall, but I know of 11 in the region I lived in then. The talk was limited to the higher grades because there was not enough room for everybody. He spoke for about an hour about the reasons behind the American actions. He damned the inactivity of the UN in face of the imminent terrorist threats all around the world. Something he emphasized with a world map that showed known "terrorist"-states as black. The world in black and white - literally. He then fell in the usual prevention rhetoric. "If somebody's pointing a gun at you, you don't wait until he pulls the trigger" etc. I didn't buy it. Iraq's WMDs were his central point of argument and as we know today they were more like Weapons of Mass Vanishing.
@Mike H. Valid observation. If I had intended to make a general point with that statement, I would have refrained from such a formulation. However, I meant it as an example. The friend is very real, but I don't disclose names of people unasked in comments - especially when they're being read by people who potentially could exploit that information.
@Scout Well, if your only arguments are insults, I really can't help you. I get the feeling your opinion about Germans is far more set than mine about Americans. I don't generalize, but you do. By the way, what US television stations nowadays broadcast (I do watch them do widen my horizon) about Bush is at least at the same level as the German media. People have very short memories these days. Look how the EU - US relation improved as soon as Schroeder/Chirac were out of office. I believe that opinions can change when people see a new face. People who are rabidly, incorrigibly anti-reason get left behind. In the end we all have to work together. I pity those who can't overlook cultural differences. As far as the propaganda-education goes: When the war in Iraq first began in 03 an American general on a PR tour visited our school and told us about the reasons for the attack. While I understood his reasoning, I doubted that a military strike would produce the desired results. So, if our school system is full of propaganda, then why allow a US general to speak uninterrupted in front of the student body ? Today I live 500 m from the army base the general came from. In the past years I've seen more than one wounded soldier limping our streets and wonder if all that could have been avoided, if people weren't as stubborn as they are.
@garydausz & Mike H. I did not want to imply, that all Americans are like the people my friend had to deal with. I only meant to point out what happens if prejudice gets the better of you. I do have three other friends who are or were in the US. They all had a great time with the people they stayed with and even became friends. My point is, if we all do hate the Americans and the American way as much as you claim we do, then why do we keep coming to your country ? In my opinion the main difference is that Americans tend to see people who are critical of the goverment as Anti-American. I you were the criticize Mrs Merkel, I would not be offended, but probably agree. I think it's disgusting that our former chancellor got involved with Gazprom - so would I go and tell an American he is Anti-German because he pointed that out to me ? If you compare American and German media it's interesting to see that most of the news items are reported in exactly the same manner, however when it comes to Bush & friends the reports are quite different. I believe that whole Anti-Americanism issue will blow over soon after Bush is finally out of office.
The list pretty much sums up every clichè/prejudice there is about the US anywhere in the world. I wonder how that list would go, if things were reversed ? 1. All Germans a nazis 2. All Germans are communists 3. All Germans are islamists ... 10. Germans only drink beer 11. Germans only wear Lederhosen ... Feel free to fill in the gaps. Joke aside, the country where there are no common cliches about others still has to be founded. National mainstream media everywhere tends to exploit that. A friend of mine went to the US as an exchange student three years ago. He was greeted at the airport by his guest family with the words: "How's Hitler ?" Later on when they showed him their house they treated him like someone, who grew up in the jungle and new nothing else. When they got to their car (a BMW) and told him "This is a car, we can drive it to the mall and buy stuff", he couldn't take it anymore and replied: "Where do you think this car was built?" In my opinion this is a prime example how clichè and prejudice affect people - not just in Germany.
I completely agree with the notion, that overturning Bush's policies would make America more popular. With Merkel in power in 2003, Germany would have sent troops to Iraq - there is no doubt in my mind. It is a good thing, she was not. Talking about Anti-Americanism in Europe is greatly exaggregated. Last time I checked our cinemas, tvs, radios, shops were full of America. If we were really ANTI, we would have to reject all that. In fact we have absorbed America so much that now and then the media asks the question wether our own national identity will survive. What Europeans truly are is Anti-Bush. When he was first campaigning in 2000 the negativity in the German media towards him was already there. I did not know much about him at the time, so I decided to go online as well as watch some CNN/NBC in order to check him out. However, the more I read and watched, the more I disliked him. At first I only disliked him because of the way he presented himself. I watched one of his campaign speeches and got the impression, that he had to be some kind of trained ape. He always repeated emtpy phrases - some patriotism here, some arrogance there, maybe some ignorance and of cause everything with the blessing of the lord. At that point I thought - he's never going to be president, who will vote for someone like that ? I grew more worried when it became clear that he would be the Republican candidate and his obvious plan to up the military budget became clear to me. The night his election was officially proclaimed my mother said something that is still with me today: "Tonight the world has become a lot less safe. There will be war within 1-2 years."
It would be foolish to think, that anyone with a political agenda in the media would not try to influence the public by pointing to facts/statistics supporting his/her cause. Any medium will to some degree be biased - it can't be helped. That's why in my opinion it's so important to look at an issue from different points of view. The author of this article tries to justify the victims by pointing that their sacrifice prevented greater evil. In my opinion that's a disturbing point of view. Today the US are trying to prevent terrorist attacks or totalitarian states from becoming to powerful - but what about tomorrow ? If you go down this road it becomes more dangerous every step. For example should I prevent my 80-year old neighbour from driving his car and potentially killing other people ? The risk is there. How would I go about something like that ? Would I slash his tires or would I go to his house and kill him ? The war in Iraq sent no signal of strength from the US to it's enemies. Quite the opposite is the case - the US has weakened the bonds to it's allies. The goals in Iraq and Afghanistan have not been achieved, despite a prolonged struggle. Now, the support for the US goverment at home is failing and it'll be a lot harder to justify another possibly necessary war.