Sunday, October 03, 2004


Hello Readers and bloggers!
Here is something I thought would be interesting to post. Ed Marek is the President of MAREK, inc., which manages It is a very pro-US site, and I thought it my duty to give my 2 cents, and put things in a bit of a perspective. Here is what I wrote:

Hello Mr Marek,

You might remember me from a time, about 6 years ago, when I was 16, and writting to you about the changes in my country at the time (the DRC). I am now a recent grad of Earlham College (in Indiana), and I have been living in the US for 4 years and some. As you may remember, I respect your words and opinions, though I do not always agree, and I hope you take my criticism in that spirit.
As a caption to one of the pictures, you said "People everywhere love the idea of America". After living here, and as much as I appreciate many good things that I find here, I must say that I disagree with that statement. I would say "people everywhere love the illusion of America".

Granted it is a land of more opportunity than many places, including my country, but the image the US potrays of itself outside is that of an earthly paradise, which it is not, especially if you are not a citizen; and when you are a citizen, you had better be white, anglo-saxon and protestant. Being black, and speaking english well enough to sometimes make my Congolese accent disappear, I have had th chance of experienecing prejudice first-hand for being black, being from Africa, having a Muslim name (though I am Christian), etc. As my practical training I am working as a canvasser for the AFL-CIO, and the number of times some white people have pulled guns on me for the simple (and admitted!!) reason that they were afraid of having a black guy at their doorstep has given me a lot of food for thought.

Additionally, I am in all honesty sick and tired of hearing white people in this country talking about "The land that our fore-fathers built". A native-American co-worker of mine said the other day at the office : "excuse me, you mean the land that you fore-fathers exteminated mine to get, and then used slaves to build?" I mean, the US is a wonderful country, don't get me wrong, but the iritating aspects of it, are the constant attempts at claiming the totality of the moral high-ground, and scheming past the realities of their errors that need some level of reparation.

Which bring me to the 3rd point. And I am actually asking if you agree with me. Much of the reason why the US government can get away with half of the bad things it does in countries such as Congo, Mozambique, Chile, etc (I have an anecdote about that that I should share with you one day, but off the record) is because Americans are so oblivious to the World around them, that they build for themselves the arrogant notion that they don't really need the rest of the World to continue to survive. As a result of this, it creates kind of a chosen people complex, amplified by channels such as TBN, and it creates a notion that their government and their government system are so perfect, that they could never partake in such inominuous actions. All this when the United States is the one country that has used the Nuclear bomb, ditched the ICC, ditched the Kyoto Protocols, and basically maintaining its pre-eminence in the World at the expense of the particularities of other nations on the Planet.

Especially with W, the United States has succeeded in showing those people in the 3rd World that can afford not to dream of "a perfect promised land accros the Atlantic", that the US is simply trying to model the rest of the World at its own image, for its own interests, regardless of whether the people in Iraq, Afghanistan are ready for the processes they try to impose, or whether the Israelis (and I mean the Government not the people) kill 500 Palestinians defenseless civilians a day. Some people here tell me "hey, that's life, we are more powerful, just suck it up!!" Well fine. But then I don't want to here notions of America " Land of the Free, Home of the brave", or "One nation (Under Who?), indivisible, with liberty and JUSTICE for who?"

Now, I must appologize for bashing the country that has hosted me for the past 4 years, despite how hard it has been. This a land where the people can be nice, even when they ask me if I ride a lion to school. What I am trying to criticize, is that blind trust in the Just nature of the system, and the obliviousness to some of the realities that happen around them. I heard a white man telling me honestly and angrily that racism did not exist in the United States anymore... Makes me wonder if we live in the same country !

After 9/11 life became hell for most foreigners in this country, and most AMericans don't even realize. There are several American citizens jailed for the crime of being Muslim, or of Arab descent, for months. Civil liberties are at a record low. It is all these things that make me say that when people outside the US, and several White Americans see "the idea of America", what they see is an illusion due to their lack of exposure to certain realities. The ideals of this country are beautiful, but reviewing he History of this country in the past 300 years, when we talk about the self-less, progressive and all-encompassing ideals outlined in the various fundamental texts of the USA, it often seems like the US talks the talk a bit more often than it walks the walk (And I do not consider Iraq to be a self-less act genuinely aimed at helping the Iraqis, just so we are clear).
And I wanted to express that to you, just to put things in a bit of perspective maybe, and also to see what you think. I appologize for grammatical misakes.

God bless you, Congo, Africa and the USA!

Ali Malau Mamina

"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."
-Abraham Lincoln

Please tell me what you think. Am I totally offbase, or am I on the right path?

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