how the world sees america

About How the World Sees America

America inhabits an increasingly hostile world. Polls show anti-Americanism reaching all-time highs. This project aims to put a human face on hostile numbers through snapshots of individual lives around the world that are affected by America economically, politically and culturally.

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What does America look like out there?

Each day I'll post short text entries and embed videos that take viewers from a madrassa in India to a pub on game day in Manchester. What does a young cleric in Britain think of the U.S.? How about a craftsmen in northern Pakistan? A pop musician's mother in Iran?

Readers are essential to the success of this project. I'll move around the world offering glimpses into the lives of interesting people with diverse perspectives on the U.S. I'll rely on you to guide fellow readers to in-depth material, flesh out complex debates, and pose questions to my interviewees. I'll provide a schedule of my formal upcoming interviews. I’ll bring some of the most interesting people I meet online to answer your questions live. And I'll happily follow your leads on where to go and whom to visit.

Through these travels, I hope to foster a community of global users who ask and answer questions of one another, not just about politics, but also about ways of life. The goal is to create conversations, to show the humanity of distant populations, and, perhaps, to promote diplomacy led by citizens and journalists together.

To start off, I'll be visiting the United Kingdom, Pakistan, and my parents' country of origin, India. Let’s see what we find out about how the world sees America.

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Comments (13)

Jose:

Hi there. Email me in Caracas, your project sounds interesting. I'm a journalist. joseorozco78@hotmail.com

M:

Hey Amar

Interesting blog -- I work with the Indian Express and would love to discuss this project with you. What email do you use? Drop me a line at mahima.kaul@expressindia.com

Very insightful stuff! Coming to Delhi?

Mahima Kaul

Mahima :

Hey Amar

I work with the Indian Express, want to talk to you about your project. What email do you use? Drop me a line at mahima.kaul@expressindia.com

Very insightful stuff, and you're lucky you are getting to travel! Are you coming to Delhi?

Cheers,

Mahima

Amar:

Hi Muhammed,
For a while I'll be traveling around the world trying to get other people's perspectives of the U.S. but it'd be great to turn the project inward and look at communities of Americans and what the country means and is to them. As far as the type of people I choose, I try to pick out themes and obtain some balance and variety over the long term. Always open to suggestions. I'm keen on meeting Arundhati Roy here, if possible, and if I do do something within America, it'd be cool to meet Michael Moore and others too! I'm open to as many views as I can get.

Muhammed Afzal:

The American ruling elite's view of how the world should look and behave like is not agreeable to a large number of people in the world including a significant number of Americans themselves. It is that simple.Therefore Amar, aren't you starting with an assumption that the other guy is always at fault?
Amar, you should pick and speak to ordinary Americans in America and the ones living abroad by choosing people for your project using the same criteria by which you have chosen the english professor and communists in Kerala in India or probably later the cosular officers in the US embassy in India. Why not Michael Moore for a start? Or some family members of the soldiers died in Iraq? You have enough leads on this direction I hope. I am afraid you would say, this should be a different project fit to be sponsored by Al Jazeera or Iranian TV and Radio.
Strange are the ways of the world and those who run it!!

thomas:

I'm hooked on this, seriously, and I'm Canadian, though I'm more curious about how the world views america than canada right now. things are good up north.

Jily:

How the world sees America is a vital question for our day and age. Thank you for exploring it.

Scott Callahan:

Amar,

While you are looking at how others feel after dealing with our consular services, perhaps you should also look into how and why our consular services are shaped by the people and issues it is dealing with.

I would never suggest that US consular interaction with other citizens cannot be improved, but again one cannot look at those services in a void. One must consider them in the context of the world and situations to which they are a reaction.

Practices which annoy or irritate may, nonetheless, be necessary and/or perfectly reasonable.

Regards,
Scott

Scott Callahan:

Zoltan,

Don't infantilize the rest of the world. It is not simply reactive to US stimuli. Likewise, much of what the US does that supposedly "inflames" other parts of the world is itself reactive to what is going on there. The US is not the ultimate driver of all events and feelings in the world. Quite the contrary to what you say, the world is NOT simply what we make of it. Would that it were so.

Nor does the US create a hostile world. There are parts of this world which are predisposed to hostility towards the US and US values, and we would be remiss if we did not react in some way to that hostility. We can argue about what those reactions should be, and whether those reactions alleviate or exacerbate the situation, but it is absurd to suggest that all negative feelings towards the US originate in US policy itself, and that if we simply behaved differently, hostility towards the US would disappear.

Regards,
Scott

Amar C. Bakshi:

Thanks Zoltan,

I think that's definitely an interesting proposal: looking at how citizens of other countries feel after interacting with our consular services abroad. I will certainly look into that over the course of the project, perhaps in India.

Regards,
Amar

Zoltan:

I beg to differ:

"America inhabits an increasingly hostile world. Polls show anti-Americanism reaching all-time highs."

It should read "America CREATES an increasingly hostile world."

The "world" is not something per se, but it's what we make out of it. And yes, unfortunately for every-body, and may-be more for you Americans, you are creating an increasingly hostile world. Just watch the check-in queues in airports: for US destinations, there are much more security check-points, scans, questions, ...

But Amar, I like your idea. Hope you can make it for some time.

If you want a proposal to investigate, check how foreign people are received in US consulates: if they call, they are asked a credit-card number BEFORE anything else: a simple information is $15 or so. Talking about a hostile world ?

Amar C. Bakshi:

Thanks JRLR,

I'm all eyes and ears as well. Please send me your thoughts on the posts, and I'll do my best to minimize the impact of (or be frank about) my preconceived notions.

Regards,
Amar

JRLR:

Sounds like an interesting project, with humanistic overtones. Yet one usually finds what one was looking for at the outset.

I'm all eyes and ears...

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