how the world sees america

Debate & Dance, DC to Diyarbakir

Dance-with-Amar-Bakshi.jpg

It's been two weeks since I met many of you at Gazuza Bar over strawberry hookahs and banana mojitos. To all of you who came -- and especially those of you who stayed out till 4am talking and dancing -- thanks for the sound advice, and the next day’s headache.

Since that night, I've been thinking hard about how to make Part Two of How the World Sees America even better than Part One. Bobbie Neal started it. She's a quiet, strikingly smart reader who's been following this site for the past three months. She's curious about the world, especially after 9/11, and isn't satisfied with headlines that read, "Ahmadinejad-Says-This" or "Bush-says-That.” Poll numbers don't do it for her, either; she wants to do the thinking for herself. She wants to see and hear real people, not more pundits. She wants rich settings and personal stories. She tells me I'm most effective when I get out of the way of the stories I’m telling.

Still, offering up a wide range of voices isn't enough for readers like her. She needs to know why, when, and where they came from. That’s a tricky balance. She thought my Part One posts were disconnected: rappers one day, a drag queen the next, an Imam the third. She wants more context and continuity than disconnected stories -- usually about the people I happened upon that day -- can offer.

I like her suggestions, and I’m going to take them by: (1) thoroughly explaining why I chose the places I did as I move between them, and (2) staying within given communities for longer, posting five pieces on one neighborhood, or even one household, to give a sense of the place.

To do this in Syria, for example, I plan to spend my first week living among a community of Iraqi refugees in Damascus, and my second with a group of Syrian businessmen reportedly doing deals along the border with soldiers in northern Iraq. Rather than making just one post on one refugee or one industry, I'll make five, finding a different but related story each day within a single site.

This is more ambitious than last time. The community has to be interesting enough to sustain more posts. If it isn't, I'll move on. Again, I'll be following my nose. There'll be the same spontaneity and day-to-day discoveries. But whenever possible this time, I'll explain the frameworks guiding my explorations, even if one day I find myself thoroughly lost.

What do you think? If you have other suggestions for how to make Part Two bigger, better, and stronger, I hope you’ll let me know through comments below or over email. That should help get the project, and all of us, work together more coherently. It gives you a chance to let me know what places or topics I should be exploring -- especially within Turkey and Lebanon coming up next -- focusing in on, or just skipping.

And if you find yourself in the same part of the world I am, it should give me a heads-up so we can meet, talk, or -- especially if we’re in Beirut together -- dance.

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Comments (35)

Chaz:

It constantly amuses me to see the number of posters to any WaPo board who insist that the official Washington Post position is whatever is the opposite of their own viewpoint. Apparently, the Post is either liberal or conservative...take your pick. Can't wait to see what dastardly liberal/conservative viewpoint they take next! LOL

Mike:

Nice. Yet another Bakshi post telling us who wrong America is.

Can't the Post get outside of its liberal prinicples for just once and find a blogger who doesn't hate America, religion and/or conservatives? Would it offend the Post's staff so greatly to find a poster who doesn't share their own prejudices.

Shalini Razdan:

JRLR wrote: "Now all that remains for us to do, Amar, is not to take ourselves too seriously and relax…"

Amar, IMHO, the above is the key to your efforts and EXACTLY what I'd like you to do in this round[thanks JRLR for supplying the words:-)]. I too think the England reports were your best work - the enjoyment/pleasure you seemed to be getting from your encounters with people came through and not just informed, but animated, both the subjects and your writing. Don't get me wrong, your later reports were pretty good too, but a touch pretentious and laborious, methought.

You have one of the coolest jobs in the world, I'd like to see an appreciation of that reflected in your reports!:-) So, absorb the zen stuff JRLR is spouting and go have fun.:-)

JRLR:

Moving right along…

Two points to begin with, Amar (just to make me feel better…): 1. honestly, “How the World Sees America” is your adventure and you make it what you want; 2. regardless of all possible improvements one might consider here, there are many pieces of yours that, as you already know, I enjoyed immensely, just as they were.

What I liked about the episode in England? It was full of life! One could feel the newness, the curiosity, the awakening, the enthusiasm, the youthfulness, the enjoyment, the fun, the love for what one was doing, and for the people met. I would dare say that is probably why “England worked best”. Your greatest asset was and still is to be an enthusiastic young man celebrating life.

Ray Bradbury once received this note from B. Berenson, the great art historian: “Dear Mr. Bradbury: In 89 years of life, this is the first fan letter I have written… It is the first time I have encountered the statement by an artist in any field, that to work creatively he must put flesh into it, and enjoy it as the lark, or as a fascinating adventure. How different from the workers in the heavy industry that professional writing has become!” ***

That said, to “focus on human stories, telling them as succinctly and meaningfully as possible”, as you summarized, is probably an excellent starting point. It is a matter of bringing to the readers’ attention how America and Americans are seen, THROUGH THE EYES OF… someone. Here, the judicious choice of that person is what really matters. Like the character or the hero in a novel or in a play, that person must have something meaningful to say to us, something most (ideally all) of us can relate to, given that person’s situation, life history, etc.

The choice of a given person may dictate the theme to be presented, e.g. how one perceives American GI’s (and America) today, compared to how one perceived them during WWII. Or it may be the other way around: the choice of a theme may dictate who, on that theme, would most likely be the best at giving us a meaningful perception of Americans and of America.

Now should themes be revisited? I would say that if, by doing so, we were to provide a broader picture to the readers, on that theme, we might want to revisit. But on “How the World Sees America”, there seem to me to be so many themes to explore: the typical day in the life of…, foods, drinks, health, diets, exercise, obesity, sex, the family (“old” and “new”), the parents’ roles, city and country living, geographic and social mobility; attitudes towards plants and animals (all living creatures, Nature itself, the environment), hospitality, children’s general education, schools, individuals and groups, learning foreign languages, studying abroad, success, wealth, influence, respect, power, ageing, old people’s life, death, rituals, ceremonies, history (on remembering), traditions, institutions, the future (individual and collective), literature, music, arts, science, technology (gadgets, automation…), essential beliefs and values, philosophical outlook (world’s view), myths to live by, religious values and the practise of one’s religion, peace, love, what is a “good” citizen, creativity (!), etc. Cultural manifestations are boundless, Amar, and the world is so vast! Why revisit unless we enlarge the picture?

I believe multimedia should help develop this craft into a new art form. I personally enjoy videos (and images). I can see people “in the flesh”, so to speak: who they are, what they look like, how they speak, move, react, giggle, laugh, get all excited, … or look all tired, sad, bitter, afraid, terrorized. Well-chosen, appropriate videos, images (and links) are the LIFE elements that illuminate the piece. Generally, they are not meant to explain but to SHOW. Now what is most important, it seems to me, is that the text does not repeat, word for word, what is said in the video, or that the video be a reproduction, word for word, of what one finds written above or below it. Let’s take the controversial piece on American cinema that took place in England as an example. As I see it: either things could have been said in the video and the write-up would have given those guys a chance to analyze further what they had said on the video; or vice versa. As a matter of fact, in this case I would have probably preferred the first option: live comments and written analysis might have seemed to me more appropriate, and potentially more effective. Things could then have been presented to readers as follows: “Just listen to this, ladies and gentlemen, and then read on…”

Let me conclude with this from Ray Bradbury: “Now while I have you here before my platform, what words shall I whip forth painted in red letters ten feet tall? WORK… RELAXATION… DON’T THINK! … make contact with that thing in yourself that is truly original… What we are trying to do is find a way to release the truth that lies in all of us… The surgeon does not tell his scalpel what to do. Nor does the athlete advise his body. Suddenly, a natural rhythm is achieved. The body thinks for itself… For if one works, one finally relaxes and stops thinking. True creation occurs then and only then… At last the surge, the agreeable blending of work, not thinking and relaxation will be like the blood in one’s body, flowing because it has to flow, moving because it must move, from the heart… The time will come when your characters will write your stories for you, when your emotions, free of literary cant and commercial bias, will blast the page and tell the truth.” ***

Now all that remains for us to do, Amar, is not to take ourselves too seriously and relax…

I’m off motorcycling, with Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” in my pocket. You may want to buy Bradbury’s before leaving and take it with you to Turkey. It sells for $6.99. Ask for a WP subsidy, Amar, you deserve this one.

Have a safe journey.

All eyes and ears…

JRLR


*** Bradbury, “Zen in the Art of Writing”.

The Celsus:

The videos make it worth coming back to your blog amar -- I am really excited about the panorama idea!!

Amar C. Bakshi:

Hi Sri,

I will definitely keep making the videos. I'm glad you're able to see them without any problems.

sri-jaggu-gandhi:

Amar,
I liked your videos - I watched all of them. Looking forward to seeing more of them, if you are planning to make them, that is.
- sri-jaggu-gandhi

HASAN CAN FROM TURKEY:

to section 506:

we as Turks beleive that we are in the center of the world. (not europe or asia) take the world map (int. edition), put a big "X" on it and u will see Turkey at the center :)
Honestly if u go to west of Turkey where Turks live, people would say that we are in europe but if u go east where Kurds live, they will say that they are in middle east.

Anonymous:

why don't you ask them to condemn the US genocide against native americans. That would turn the table on us (deservedly so).

metin talks turkey from newport beach:

Being a member of the EU is not a prerequisite to being European or a part of Europe. In fact, Europe will be around looong after the EU folds. And becomes part of the United States of Eastern America.

dkm:

A thought on the visit to Turkey. When, not if, you get comments there about the American government interfering in Turkish internal matters by calling the matanza of the Armenians genocide, you could suggest that the Turks, instead of getting all hot and bothered, introduce a resolution in their own parliment condemning the US for just about anything from the genocide of the Indians to the killing of peasants in Guatamala and Nicaraugua to the slaughter of civilians in Iraq.

Section 506 (Before moving):

You should ask people in Turkey if you're in the Middle East.

The government says Turkey is Europe. The Europeans say that it is Asia. What do the Turkish people think?

ABRAHAM:

Be sure to visit Istanbul and Izmir. Turkey is one of the places in the world which has minimum racisim.

Amar:

JRLR, that's a deal. I look forward to your response.

JRLR:

So you put me on the overtime shift, Amar!.... After jotting down some notes, I feel I'll need to give some further thoughts to the questions you raise. For better results, let's both sleep on it, shall we? I'll try and write again, before you leave.

Greg Riley:

Ask them why their country is named after a bird? :)

No seriously, see if you can find out why talking about the Armenians is such a difficult subject. The Armenian's are never going to let it go so long as the Turks refuse to even discuss it.

Thanks,

Greg

Anonymous:

welcome back my man; it was too quiet without you. id say keep it rocking

HASAN CAN FROM TURKEY:

1) VISIT IZMIR (SMRYNA) IF POSSIABLE. IT IS THE KEY CITY OF SECULARS AND TURKISH DEMOCRATS ON TURKEY.
2) IF YOU TALK TO AN KURDISH IN THE STREETS THEY WILL JUST SAY THAT "THEY ARE BEING TORTURED , THEY HAVE NO RIGHTS ETC..." BUT MANY OF OUR PRESIDENTS WERE KURDISH. AND THEY HAVE EVERYSINGLE RIGHT THAT A TURK OR ARMENIAN OR GREEK HAVE.
3) PLEASE DONT LET KURDS TO FOOL YOU. I HAVE SEEN IT 1000 TIMES. KURDS CRYING TO AMERICANS AND TELLING LIES, LIES AND LIES.
4) TALK TO TURKS TOO. DON'T FORGET YOU ARE IN TURKEY NOT KURDISTAN. MANY JOURNALIST WHO CAME TO TURKEY DONT TALK TO TURKS. THEY ONLY TALK TO KURDS AND TAKE THEIR PICTURE.
5) IF U PLAN TO COME TO IZMIR LET ME KNOW. FREE ACCOMODATION WILL BE AVALIABLE!

LEARN TURKEY FROM TURKS . PLEASE. I BEG YOU!

Baqi Barzani:

I am on cloud nine that your next trip is Turkey.

An independent and ingenuous journalist setting off to Turkey to discover the unseen truths in that state and let the entire world know about it.

You have chosen the best and right place.

Please pass through the Turkish Kurdistan and try to meet its people. Inquire about their views regarding the U.S. and see for yourself in what state they are living in.

See their sufferings and agonies. See for yourself how they have been neglected by the Turkish regime. See the level of suppression and oppression, the economic and social inequality, the extra-judicial executions, human rights violations, political prisoners, the ethnic cleansings, massacres, the destructions, genocides all being carried out against a peaceful and peace-loving people short of any international condemnation or intervention.


I hope they will allow you to carry on your job.

I wish you a safe trip. Good Luck !

Paul:

I was in Turkey last summer for a few weeks. The common man there (as in most low- and middle-income countrie) does feel resentful and envious of U.S. power and economic might. But Turks are also extremely (and justifiably) proud of their country. Istanbul is my favorite city after San Francisco, and I've traveled a fair bit.

I'd like you to ask them why they're so obsessed with holding on to northern Cyprus. I understand the history and the dispute, but it causes them so much trouble internationally (impeding EU accession, among other things). The Armenian genocide is even more ancient history, but then no country wants to be accused (much less guilty) of genocide, and the years involved were among those leading to Turkey's major achievements under Ataturk---so not wanting to besmirch that period is easier to understand. Ataturk and his secularism continue to play a massive role in the nation's mindset, thank goodness.

Enjoy your trip! I'm jealous. Cheers, Paul

P.S. If you're walking alone through Istanbul and someone (male or female) approaches you and asks for the time, then starts pressuring you to join them for a drink, absolutely don't agree to it. It's an unfortunately common scam that happens to solo male travelers. It happened to me at least once every time I went out, and was the only black spot on my visit. (I fell for it the first night because I was jet lagged, and ended up much poorer and endangered by the experience. Those who approach will often say they're visiting too.)

Cat:

It is quite admirable to put yourself in this position around the world. I'd be curious to see the if there is a difference in perceptions regarding America, Americans and the current administration. In reality, I think also that the links to a Turkish intervention in northern Iraq against the Kurds and the passing of a resolution about the mass killings of Armenians are more for political posturing and justifying the inevitable. The war effort and Turkey's role in supporting the American troops has never been popular but the strengthened Kurds are even less so despite being the most stable part of Iraq right now.

Shekran:

Thanks for the replys to our posts, Amar! When you spoke of avoiding "Anti-Americanism," it was a golden moment. Too often, all we see are the protests and the jingoistic slogans from other countries that throw a wide net over all Americans and America itself, as oppposed to what the U.S. Government or specific politicians may say or do. It's frustrating when these same countries are telling the U.S. people and media we should've judge their people or cultures because of single issues or political posturing. Personally, I am all for trying to see beyond the soundbite of the day or the political grandstanding that occurs. I have good friends from everywhere in the world, and we all agree that governments stink and should just let people be friends with whoever they want. Enjoy the beautiful people and landscapes of Turkey while you can...between Turkish and American politicians (and the Armenian lobby), looks like another wedge is being driven between friends just for politics as usual.

Neelima:

Hi,
I have a very basic question to ask the common man of another country. "Why do they care about America; what it does or does not do as a government?"

I know this sounds daft, but I'm asking because we have heard all the cliches, such as, they are envious or they look up to us because of our world-power status. But, I'm not sure that a common man of the street has actually articulated these cliches.

Thanks.

Amar C. Bakshi:

JRLR, those were very moving comments. I can't thank you enough for them. I often felt the same way, that England was the pithiest. It moved the fastest (five posts per day) and didn't really delve as much as later posts into the politics of the place I was in. It was more about the impressions of people. That came first.

As time went on, I tried hard to add more context, thinking what I was missing was a sense of the place the people were speaking and acting in. That might have been in part because it's easier to place Britons for Americans (like myself) than Indians. But later posts started getting longer, and losing focus on that core theme, How the World Sees America.

I think the most consistent pieces were from England. India went from highs like Fourth of July or, I think, Inside an Indian Madrassas to lows which were basically reports on he-said, she-said pundits. I agree, that's not my strength. I'll let pundits speak for themselves, or if I do interview them, I'll try to see back into their lives.

But now I have a question. Do you think England worked the best, and at the most basic core issues, because it was the first time I addressed them? I think I was afraid of returning to certain things, like the accents, or soccer, or something else after I posted on it once. Does returning to these themes add richness you think? Perhaps it is impossible to avoid coming back to some common perceptions of the U.S.?

I have a few other questions too: were the videos useful? People were more likely to read the text than watch the video (and videos take lots of time to make), so I wonder whether I should not post video, say 3 times per week, and use it slightly differently - rather than using it to capture a key quote and set up a scene each time, try balancing it more toward one side -- the character, or the other, the scene. This might be unclear. I'll try to come back to phrase this better.

And one other question. Would panoramas or more images add to your experience of the project? Are they helpful?

I think your take-away point, to my hears, is focus on human stories, or telling them as succinctly and meaningfully as possible, and leaving the big-think global theories, the news, to others. That sounds dead-on to me. It's tempting to try to wander into that terrain. Sometimes it feels safer to tread because it's so well-worn, but the purpose of the project is to offer a reprieve from that.

You see I write long and rambling on my first go at it. It always takes me many many drafts to cut down the length to what appears on the site. Not usual for an online-guy, but crucial, somehow to finding art in this craft. Thanks again JRLR for the comment and the thoughts it's brought up for me.

And Shekran, I'll work hard to push away from minority extreme points of view. I'll present them, but not get sucked into publishing them because of sensational value. I am no survey, but I will try to interview ordinary people from within communities, with their own stories, illustrative of the world they occupy. One key point for me, starting part two, is to be careful about using the word Anti-American. It sounds so pat, so simple; it's part of the with-us-or-against-us frame. And very rarely is so clear a distinction useful. For most of the world, there's ambiguity. And I think it's key I cut toward that.

Thanks again. I'll be here reading your thoughts and responding as I prepare to go.

Amar

Shekran:

Keep up the good work. As painful as it is sometimes, it's good to hear how the rest of the world sees us. The only thing I can ask is that you make sure you are spreading out and interviewing all kinds of people, not just the one's who have an axe to grind one way or the other. Kind of like Tommy Birchfield's earlier comments. Let's leave the "It's all GWB/Cheney/Republican's fault" at home. As far as I can see, it's the Dems that are pushing us away from Turkey. Politics as usual...on both sides.

K F Khan:

I would like you to ask people why the U.S. was attacked on 9/11.

I would like to gather what percentage thinks it was a 'jihad' assault to spread Islam, or an attack to avenge something?

TOMMY BIRCHFIELD:

YES.......GOOD TO SAY HELLO....MY NAME IS TOMMY BIRCHFIELD LIKE YOU I LOVE WRITTING AND LIKE YOU I LOVE MY COUNTRY.

WELL, WHEN YOU GET TO TURKEY AND SYRIA TELL THEM THE REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN THE ONES RUNNING THE UNITED STATES THE LAST 12 YEARS AND MANY AMERICAN'S HERE ARE PISSED OFF MYSELF INCLUDED WE DON'T LIKE WHAT THE REPUBLICANS HAVE DONE TO OUR COUNTY'S GOOD NAME AND IF WE GAIN ALL THREE BRANCES OF GOVERNMENT NEXT YEAR WE ARE GOING TO PUT ALOT OF THEM IN "JAIL!

NOT ONLY HAVE THEY RUINED THE UNITED STATES, "LOOTED THE U.S. TREASURY, THEY ARE NOT DONE YET!

WHEN YOU GET TO TURKEY, TELL'EM THIS AMERICAN LIKE MOST EXCEPT FOR REPUBLICANS WANT GOOD RELATIONS WITH THE WORLD, THE REPUBLICANS WANT WAR!

THEIR PARTY IS FINISHED IN AMERICA AND THIS WRITTER INTENDS TO TELL AND WRITE ABOUT IT WRITE UP TO THE ELECTION!

IN CONCLUSION, TELL SYRIA, ISRAEL OVER REACTED, AND THE U.S.KNOWS IT, TELL TURKEY WE WILL ALWAYS REMAIN FRIENDS NO MATTER ABOUT WHAT TOOK PLACE 100 YEARS AGO, WE CARE TURKEY AND ARE GREATFUL FOR ALL ITS HELP TO THE U.S.

TELL THEM IN SYRIA, TO MEET WITH ISRAEL AND RESOLVE PEACEFULLY THEIR DIFFERENCES AND TELL THEM FOR ME......"WE ARE ALL RUNNING OUT OF TIME!

SINCERELY, TOMMY BIRCHFIELD, VOTER, VET USAF,
CLASS 2007 EAST TENN STATE UNIVERSITY

.....Master's Program, ETSU.......fall.....2007

JRLR:

Hi, Amar, I have been wondering what you were up to, lately. Rightly of wrongly, I liked to believe you were finally taking a break from it all and really resting. That gives things a chance to sink in…

You write: “What do you think?” and you ask for suggestions.

I have been reviewing Part I and here are my conclusions.

The challenge for anybody in your situation seems to be to move beyond both:

1. The “news” (e.g. the “burning nuclear site”, “the imminent war on Iran”, “the Turks and the Kurds”, “Indonesian separatists”, “Columbia’s FARCs”, Mexican-US border security and “illegal immigrants”, etc.), and

2. The stereotypes, explicit or implicit (e.g. the worn-out, corny, American portraits of the “communist” and of the “terrorist” – repentant or not --, the Madrassa, the “axis of evil”, crude anti-Americanism, all caricatures of extremism, etc.).

Leave the “news” for the likes of Seymour Hersh to review, Amar, they are experienced and excel at it. Leave also the stereotypes (more particularly all the political ones) aside, for present-day Bushmen to fondle.

Your grandmother was no stereotype. Neither was how she viewed America a series of stereotypes. Sid Grant and Peter Underwood were no stereotypes. Neither was Kumar Chellapan… not even your Indian American, on the 4th of July… Telling your readers how each saw America was what you were best at, i.e. what you wrote that was most personal and most original. It came from your soul. The rest, anybody can -- and does -- constantly write about; that includes all the poor, repetitive, pathetically boring, look-alike pundits.

I may be wrong but after going through Part I, I had the distinct impression your work in England was, overall, and by far, your very best on “How the World Sees America”, and on the most varied selection of basic, essential, concrete, day-to-day topics relative to how Americans are perceived living: US English and accent(s), higher education, soccer, beauty pageants, the environment, the media, cinema, travel (on passports), tourism, service and tipping, the flag, democracy...

“She tells me I'm most effective when I get out of the way of the stories I’m telling.” Tough for the ego to admit, but she is right. When it comes to genuine creativity, moving and staying out of the way is probably the first law; the most difficult to abide by as well! One does not need to meditate for decades or be Basho, the immortal Zen poet, to understand that. The great Ray Bradbury, for one, knows all about that law: he has indeed insisted that his stories were true to life (I’d say, more true to life than life itself) only when he stayed out of the way.

You are writing under the title “How the World Sees America”. Well, above all, cling constantly to your subject, Amar.

Rumi writes ("Unseen Rain"):

"Listen to presences inside poems,
Let them take you where they will.

Follow these private hints,
and never leave the premises."

Then and there, delve as deep as you can, Amar. Do not EXPLAIN but SHOW what Shakespeare calls “the method in the madness”. Show your readers WHY people hold such views. WHAT in the world makes them say what they say, feel the way they feel, do what they do? More depth ought not to make your pieces any longer: only right to the point. To achieve that is extremely difficult: it implies you lived through that moment when your trade became an art form.

The talent is there, Amar!…

Let me conclude on this little true story, as it reemphasizes Bobbie Neal's point, i.e. what you wrote above that has the most value for you, Amar:

“One day I asked the Master: “How can the shot be loosed if ‘I’ do not do it?”

“‘It’ shoots”, he replied.

“I have heard you say that several times before, so let me put it another way: How can I wait self-obliviously for the shot if ‘I’ am no longer there?”

“‘It’ waits at the highest tension.”

“And who or what is this ‘It’?”

“Once you have understood that, you will have no further need of me. And if I tried to give you a clue at the cost of your own experience, I would be the worst of teachers and would deserve to be sacked! So let’s stop talking about it and go on practicing.” ***

In that particular case, I am happy to report the pupil became a genuine master.

Regards, always.

*** Source: Eugen Herrigel, “Zen in the Art of Archery”.

Stick:

I would ask the Turks why they cannot move past the Armenian issue; we have managed to come to grips with our treatment of the Indians and don't get bent whenever someone mentions it?

Same issue with the Kurds. Let them establish Kurdistan in the north of Iraq and then let the Turkish Kurds move there. Why is this so difficult?

Anonymous:

Welcome back to the world of extreme commentors. may you bring some sense to the debaters

Mike:

No. 1 - No the US is not pressing the Turks to make war on the Kurds, just the opposite in fact. Just a cursory look at the facts will show this. Easy.

No. 2 - The US has never systemacally set out to destroy a specific race of people, though our record with the American Indian probably came the closest. To suggest that we are guilty of genocide against any of the countries listed is foolish and shows a very minute grasp of history. The best I can suggest is to leave the US since you'll not be missed and clearly you hate the country you live in. That way you'll be happier, and so will we. Again...easy.

Jeremy:

Glad to have you back! I was wondering where you went and can't wait for Part Deux to kickitoff abroad!!

RSVP:

Should our (US) house pass a resolution condemning our own genocide in Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq, etc, etc, etc. What would Turks say?

Eric A:

I see on facebook you're planning on going to Turkey next. Very exciting. Do you think America is pressing the country toward war with the Kurds? I find it all very confusing. Looking forward to your posts.

Anjali:

Travel safe!

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