This is where I'm thinking of going over the next hundred days, for Part II of How the World Sees America. Bosnia & Herzegovina, Turkey and Syria to the Philippines and Indonesia to Colombia and Argentina. What do you think?
January 1, 2007 12:00 AM
January 1, 2007 12:10 AM
World Politics Review
PRINT AND WEB
Council on Foreign Relations: Changing America's Foreign Policy
Live Discussion: David Ignatius and Amar on Anti-Americanism
Religion Writer: Part I, An interview with Amar on British v. American religiosity
Religion Writer: Part II, An interview with Amar on religion and anti-Americanism in Pakistan
World Politics Review: An interview with David Ignatius on the Launch
Sree Sreenivasan: 'On the 23-Year-Old Global Reporter'
Indian New England: 'Voicing the World's Ire'
Harper's: On Amar's Interview with Ahmed Rashid
The Harvard Crimson : 'Big Men on Campus'
January 1, 2007 1:00 AM
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My Thoughts On This Project
Part Two Travels
January 23, 2007 2:10 PM
This year, for the first time as an adult, I was among the 2000 women who came to commemorate the 9th of Muharram at my grandmother's house in Lahore, Pakistan. Though I was born, raised, and educated in the U.S., these past five days in Lahore moved me deeply, and helped me find myself.
Widowed at 36 with six children, my grandmother named Hamida Bano Ahmed began to gather women at her home in Lahore for ten days each year to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The groups grew larger over the years. Just before she passed away 25 years ago, she insisted that the house continue to be used for this purpose. It has been.
Now a large mosque has replaced my grandmother's home but the same women continue to gather, share their grief, and pay their respects to God, the Prophet, and his family.
Only women are at the pulpit and only women are in attendance at "Ahmed House," as it is known around Pakistan. It is a place where the seemingly irreconcilable worlds of gender, religion, culture and passion come together, because here, they belong together. And it is where I, as an American born Pakistan, can blend into the crowd.
January 25, 2007 1:36 PM
Guest post by John Wehner in Kazakhstan
I'm on a Soviet-era train lumbering across the steppe of Kazakhstan. Out my window the world’s 9th largest nation stretches endlessly: white, flat, dotted with the occasional village or looming grain elevator. And because there’s not much to see outside, my attention turns to those around me; this is a great place to see how some Kazakhs and Russians view America.
On this 31-hour journey northward, I am joined in my compartment by a young Kazakh woman, an ethnic Russian man with his mother-in-law, and an elderly Russian couple. Our sleeping area consists of three bunk beds, arranged in a “U”, with a table near the window and a hallway running through the “U’s” base. There is no door, and very little privacy. But that doesn’t bother these Kazakhs, all of whom look well-fed and relatively cheerful, lounging in informal jeans, T-shirts or sleepwear.
It’s a diverse group. All ask endless questions about my American life. I’m 23, and I’m here to teach English to Kazakhs in the capital. I’ve been here over a year, and am used to the regular questions about politics, fashion, skyscrapers. But on this train ride, things get spicy when Kosovo comes up.
May 4, 2007 12:00 AM
Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive’s PostGlobal Launches
“How the World Sees America”
Site Explores the Love-Hate Relationship with America through Unique First-Hand Global Commentary
WASHINGTON, May 16, 2007 – Armed only with a journalist’s curiosity, a digital video camera, a starting point, a rough itinerary and few seconds to capture a compelling story; Amar Bakshi wants to know what individuals around the world really think about America – why some love us, why some hate us and how we affect their lives day-to-day. Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive (WPNI), the online publishing subsidiary of The Washington Post Company, today announced the launch of “How the World Sees America,” a new multimedia blog on PostGlobal, the online conversation on global issues moderated by Washington Post Columnist, David Ignatius and Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria. (http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/postglobal).
Through daily 30-second video clips and blog entries, PostGlobal correspondent and videographer, Amar Bakshi, 23, will ask readers to help guide his itinerary, interviews and questions as he puts a human face on what the global community really thinks about America.
“With ‘How the World Sees America’ we are promoting a new type of global commentary. By combining in-the-field reporting and emerging technology, PostGlobal can now share multimedia stories about people and places in the news. We can connect America and the world in a new way, and explore the reasons for America's growing unpopularity in many countries,” says David Ignatius award-winning journalist and moderator of PostGlobal.
“Bakshi has the opportunity to get behind the rhetoric and interview real people for insight into how U.S. policy, events and culture affect the world.”
The first leg of Bakshi’s exploration takes him to the United Kingdom, Pakistan and India. Subsequent destinations will be dictated by world events and reader suggestions; perhaps Egypt and Iran, China and Japan or Mexico and Venezuela. One day Bakshi may feature interviews from a protest rally on the streets of Islamabad, another may offer perspectives from an underground rave in Manchester, and on yet another day, he may share insights from a factory worker in Bangalore.
“This is a significant break from other forms of online journalism where a videographer spends three weeks making a 5 minute clip,” states Amar Bakshi. “Everyday readers can follow my journey in detail. The idea is to get them involved in some of the decision making that goes into ‘How the World Sees America’,” he adds.
PostGlobal provides a running discussion of important issues among dozens of the world's best-known editors, writers and journalists. Now, through the “How the World Sees America,” project, PostGlobal offers readers an even more immediate response to those issues. Through glimpses into interesting lives, reactions to world issues and events and diverse perspectives on the United States from shopkeepers, students, small town officials, entertainers, booksellers and carpet makers, readers can interact with a cross-section of the global community.
“The goal of ‘How the World Sees America’ is to foster a global community of users who wish to create an open dialogue with one another. Not just about politics, but also about each other’s everyday way of life.” says Bakshi. “It is an opportunity to explore and engage in conversation about topics that may otherwise not receive exposure in mainstream media. Ultimately, this project will show the humanity of distant populations.”
Since its launch in June 2006, PostGlobal has offered a dynamic running discussion of important issues. Each Monday and Thursday, they post a question for responses from members of a diverse network of more than 40 commentators from 32 countries in six regions around the globe— from China to Iran, South Africa to Saudi Arabia, Mexico to India – wherever news is happening. Natalie Ahn is PostGlobal’s Editor/Producer.
# # #
Donna Drew Sawyer
May 6, 2007 11:59 PM
Heard any songs about America sung by non-Americans. Share them here. Use the comment thread to put link to music clips or YouTube videos. I'll keep updating the list. I just found this Mr. Perfect about his request for a visa to the U.S. being denied.
Mr. Perfect: "Amerimaka":
Hugh Laurie: "America":
May 7, 2007 12:00 AM
Are you an American living abroad. Have you had experiences that are a result of your being American, both good and bad? Share them with me and your fellow readers. Thanks! Amar
May 8, 2007 12:00 AM
May 8, 2007 12:05 AM
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.
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.
May 21, 2007 10:49 AM
June 9, 2007 2:23 PM
Guest blogger for How England Sees America
by J. Clive Matthews of Nosemonkey/Europhobia
While Blair got on well with both Clinton and Bush, giving the US/UK friendship its most cozy love-in since the Thatcher/Reagan era, Brown is a bit of an unknown quantity.
Concerns have already been raised over some of Brown's ministerial appointments -- notably that of former UN Deputy Secretary-General Sir Mark Malloch-Brown as Minister of State with responsibility for Africa, Asia and the United Nations, whose critical comments about the attitudes of some sections of America towards the United Nations last year led to a strongly-worded official complaint by the then U.S. envoy to the UN, John Bolton.
Likewise, Brown's new right-hand man and campaign leader, Jack Straw, fell out of favor with the U.S. while Foreign Secretary under Blair for comments about American policy towards Iran, with some suggesting that he was removed from his post at the request of the Bush administration.
It's also pretty much a given that such is the unpopularity of the Iraq war and the Bush presidency in the UK that to move away from Blair's heavily pro-U.S. approach is likely to be a vote-winner.
June 21, 2007 12:11 PM
by Niall Conlon, a 23-year-old blogger in Dublin
Americans may be hard pressed to believe it, but it's tough for a European like me to hate America. After all, who could hate a country that gave the world John Wayne, Kurt Vonnegut, Fred Skinner and Tony Kushner? Look around Europe and you'll find American movies, books and music topping the charts. In truth, Europeans stopped looking at these products as American a long time ago. America is in the very air that we breathe, and because of this, we consume many of the myths that America feeds her young.
July 2, 2007 4:30 PM
By author and blogger Danny Bernardi
As an Englishman living in Italy my perspective is slightly different. Most Italians and other non-English Europeans think that because England and America speak the same language and go to war together they are one in the same.
If America was a person what kind of person might it be? If I were to meet Andrew or Anna America in a pub I would expect to meet a person louder and perhaps larger than the average Brit. Such a person might be very keen to tell you all about themselves and their achievements. Andrew or Anna America would probably also want to impress upon you that he or she was deeply committed to their family and might even let slip that they undertook good works in the community.
In other words they would always be ‘on’. Brits are ‘off’, in social situations especially, and find it troubling to reveal too much about themselves upon first meeting. They are also a bit suspicious of anyone who needs to be ‘on’. In other words … if you are successful, happy and worthy then you probably shouldn’t need to go around telling people. Most Brits would also think that Andrew or Anna may not know how to laugh at themselves. Laughing at oneself is seen as being an extremely important quality. If Andrew or Anna could not manage a little self-deprecation then the average Brit would think this, ‘a very bad show’. Understatement is widely respected in the UK.
God Bless America and all who sail to her. If America were a person he/she would probably be no better or worse than anyone else…just different. Your environment moulds you and perhaps in a young nation, such as the USA, knowing who you are is more important, but you don’t need to impress us. We already are. We look with envy at what can be achieved by someone with a little hard work and a good idea in the USA.
July 9, 2007 2:19 PM
I'm traveling to discover people's stories about their connections to America first-hand. But more stories shared in this forum will only help to understand how the world sees America. From personal anecdotes to political analysis, feel free to send in up to 500-word pieces to email@example.com or post them on the comment thread below. I'll check them out, learn from you all, and post the best every week or so.
August 22, 2007 11:03 AM
Washington, DC - After 100 days abroad, I fly home to Washington D.C. scrutinizing an old copy of a Pakistani paper called The Daily Times to pass the late hours. America appears in 15 articles across 12 pages, only once with kind adjectives. Unsurprising. Then an article on A12 grips me:
Headline: "11 polio workers abducted in Khar, campaign halted"
Excerpt: Tribesmen in the Bajaur tribal district bordering Afghanistan refused to allow the [polio] vaccinations to take place after hearing rumors that the drive was a 'US plot' to sterilize Muslim children, residents said.... Health officials had been trying to dispel rumors -- sometimes spread by radio stations or from the loudspeakers of mosques -- that the polio campaign was a Western conspiracy to reduce Muslim populations.
I shudder. The two burly men squishing me from either side open their eyes into slits, grunt, and then pass back out. In the darkness, one word lingers in my mind: “Conspiracy...”
September 21, 2007 11:58 AM
We're moving again. First to Syria. That much I know. Then, perhaps: From Damascus north by car (past a burning nuclear site?), to talk to Kurdish communities. Then onward by road to Istanbul, Turkey.
Next, board a plane headed to Jakarta, Indonesia. Island hop, and then move to the Philippines. Venture south for separatists.
After that, take the long flight to Colombia. Travel past FARC-infested forests to Medellin and then move swiftly up to Mexico. Up, up again to the border with good ol' Texas. Linger there, then cut across it, and drive back to D.C., returning home soon after New Year's. 100 more days.
That’s the preliminary plan. It'll unfold organically, as they say.
October 15, 2007 3:00 AM
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.
October 16, 2007 12:00 AM
World opinion surveys show Brand America slipping. “So what should America do to improve its image in the world?” a few worried Washingtonians wondered over coffee,
The group fired off their own solutions: Elect Obama. Stabilize Iraq. Expand public diplomacy. Democratize the Middle East. Solve Israel-Palestine. Increase foreign aid…
But none of them mentioned what I’d put first on my list: Listen more closely to the world.
October 16, 2007 10:45 AM
Over the last three months, I asked scores of people how they see America, and one answer came back to me again and again:
“I love the American people, but hate their government.”
A barber in London, a doctor in New Delhi, and a drag queen in Lahore said those words thousands of miles apart.
Should Americans be comforted by their answer?
October 18, 2007 10:00 AM
Maybe if the whole world could vote for the next President of the United States, people would be a little less anti-American. That's what Pakistani-born author Mohsin Hamid says. He's the author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist which was recently nominated for the Man Booker Prize. Check out the video to see him describe America as a friendly giant, good for the world, but in need of occasional checks on its power.
November 22, 2007 6:37 AM
Now sixteen years later, I’m as American as any of my neighbors. I went through the same grueling college application process; I am now part of the U.S Foreign Service. But no matter how mainstream my life has become, my identity remains hyphenated -– I am Armenian-American.
To me, this is a point of an American affirmation. We have a unique truth to assert here.
January 14, 2008 10:04 AM
There’s a pause. I’m anxious. After my previous airport adventures, I fully expect her to order me into a back room for a talk with a burly interrogator. But instead she tugs back her sleeve, lifts a stamper in the air, and brings it down hard on my customs form. Cla-Clack. She hands me back my passport with a flourish.
I’ve been on the road for one hundred days since kicking off Part II of How the World Sees America. For the next week I’ll be in Washington DC, restocking, repairing broken equipment, and preparing for the next leg of the project in Venezuela and Mexico.
Though I’m looking south, it takes only a few moments stateside before I start thinking about the differences between how the world sees America and how we see ourselves.
I exit baggage claim and am greeted by dozens of TVs overhead recycling images of our presidential candidates. These candidates, in turn, recycle the same one word: “Change.”
January 18, 2008 7:30 PM
Our candidates define themselves on transnational issues. Fred Thompson burnishes his anti-illegal immigrant credentials. John Edwards blames big corporations for sending American jobs abroad. Rudy Giuliani, and others across the aisle, say our dependence on foreign oil exposes us to both financial instability and terrorist attacks.
Conversations at home are all about 2008. But even as the headlines pivot from the Iraq War and terrorism to jobs and health care, our view of the world remains central to many of our votes.
Do we combat, compete, cooperate? There is anxiety.
February 1, 2008 12:00 AM
Last week, Mexican President Felipe Calderón made his first visit to the United States, and broke a long-standing diplomatic tradition between the two countries that usually includes a presidential dinner and a speech to Congress for the visiting head of state. This time, Calderon didn’t even see President Bush. Why? In part, because of Bush’s political toxicity and the intensity of the ongoing U.S. presidential campaign. And in part for another less obvious reason: despite what people think, the Mexican right harbors a deep, historical mistrust for their northern neighbor.
The commonplace says that Mexican conservatives are enthusiastic supporters of the United States. While the Left rallies against McDonalds, the Right is often caricatured as the typical panista (the member National Action Party, Calderón’s party), a fat guy with a black hat and a Big Mac in his hand.
Yet the Mexican conservative soul has been traditionally distant, if not openly hostile, to the U.S.
March 2, 2008 12:00 AM
From the hills of Srinagar to the coasts of Beirut, I jumped borders fast, and posted often. Without the guidance of regional experts, local journalists, friends and kind strangers, I never would have been able to get my feet on the ground as quickly as I needed to, find stories, and get some grip on the complex dynamics that define each nation's relationship with the U.S.
For your time, your help translating, your leads, your edits, your warnings, your explanations, your patience and your encouragement, thank you. Thank you for making this the most exhilarating and enlightening year of my life.
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