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Why do people hate America?

FROM A DISTANCE - Carmen N. Pedrosa () - November 7, 2002 - 12:00am
That’s the title of a best-selling book written by Ziuddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies and published in the UK. The title came from a distraught American after the attacks on 9/11. The authors take up issues and questions against America sidetracked in the heat of anger after the attacks. They discuss US refusal to sign the Kyoto protocol as well as the founding of the ICC. The sheer volume of information available to make sense of the question of what makes people hate America and what brought about the attacks makes it difficult for ordinary persons like you and me to make judgments based on an understanding of the facts. Sardar and Davies have attempted to do just that – condense the information in a book and exhort readers to open their minds to as much information as possible and then use their intellectual skills before making rash conclusion.
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Filipinos do not hate America. They’re not well-informed enough nor led well enough to be able to arrive at such a definitive judgment. Indeed as surveys showed, unlike other Asians, they welcome American troops in the South to ‘get things done’ which in their view, their own government seems unable to do. So the Bush government should be pleased, the work of getting the Philippines to play their tune in the fight against terrorism, on the whole, is easier than say, the Malaysians, Indonesians or the Thais.
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But to go back to Sardar’s and Davies’ book. On the surface, it looks like an attack on America. It is not so. For thoughtful people, it only means putting 9/11 in a wider perspective and that may be America’s deliverance, too. America will have to learn that its self-serving actions and policies alienate people in varying degrees. That may be difficult for Americans but keeping a correct perspective may be the only way to cope with the violence the attack unleashed. The first thing to admit is that terrorism develops as a political strategy against a perceived wrong. If that wrong cannot be redressed through other, less violent means, terrorism is resorted to. It is an act of desperation. That is one way of explaining the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
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The foreign policy of the US government, backed by its military strength, has unprecedented global influence as the world’s only superpower. I thought the recent picture of Gaddafi surrounded by bathing beauties said it all. It is a good illustration. how America was able to convert the Libyan strongman to its value systems from number one terrorist to a democratic Lothario. It is hoped that other alternatives can be found besides terrorism or a surrender to America’s superficial values. Exploring that middle world is not possible when America is unwilling to allow the development of systems and values other than its own. Many people do hate America, in the Middle East and the developing countries as well as in Europe say Ziuddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies but this has more to do with America’s perception of itself rather than its enemies.
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Halloween as US cultural domination. Mike Farrell from Cagayan de Oro wrote to say that no one in his area celebrated Halloween anyway. I was surprised at the mall in Cagayan de Oro that they were selling costumes and masks. However, I have seen NO SIGN that ANYONE paid any attention to Halloween. (There may have been a private party or two, but I doubt it.) He was more interested in another item in my column on Filipinos who were fired as airport screeners after 9/11. What’s the beef? He asks how many non-Filipino citizens are employed as security inspectors at airports in the Philippines? I’ve never seen any. IF we are BOTH concerned with the rights of residents in a foreign country, I will expect to see a column from you commenting on the number of foreigners working for the Philippine government. If not, why not? (CNP: The issue is not about employing aliens but why Filipinos were singled out as security risks after 9/11.)

On the other hand, Ms. Elma Marie Heredia-Miller, M.A.,Preschool Teacher, Ridgefield School, Hillsborough Subd., Muntinlupa City, wrote back with a word of caution to village Halloween celebrators: "Halloween is just one of media’s tools to capitalize on consumerism and your voice is necessary to counteract this. Thank you for allowing me to share this piece with you and I fervently hope we don’t lose our children to things that make them just a part of a mob."
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9/11: Filipinos still in jail in Mansfield, Texas. If we were a strong a nation the most important fall-out of 9/11 should be the imprisonment of 10 Filipinos in Mansfield, Texas. They were jailed for no other reason than being Filipinos and for American security officials they’re from al-Qaeda country. Our efforts as a nation should be focused in freeing these airmen. If we were to go by this official reasoning, we should also be wary of all Americans because of the Oklahama bombing or more recently the sniper? It might be more difficult approach but we have to confront wrong American policies even if they come from the world’s only superpower. Kristie Carlos, wife of one of the Filipino airmen jailed in Mansfield, Texas is keeping the issue alive and moving heaven and earth to free her husband whose only crime is being a Filipino. Here’s her letter to this column: I was happy when I came across your article and mentioned the almost forgotten news about the aviation mechanics in Mansfield. It’s now more than four month since my husband was forced to plead guilty because of the indifference of his public defender, so he’s losing hope and also because of his physical condition which most worry us. He is diabetic and hypertensive aside from his plastic knee cap replacement…He hasn’t been able to take his medicine, and his diet being closely watched. Inspite of his having pleaded guilty, we’re again encountering another problem which make it more painful because the cause of our problem is not the US federal court but the RP consulate in LA according to an immigration lawyer, my husband could be released earlier if his papers are in order. Unfortunately, my husband’s passport expired. We seek the help of the DFA about his expired passport.

Award for Marietta Primicias-Goco: My friend and co-convenor for Constitutional Reform Now! will be in the United States to receive the Eleonor Roosevelt award for her work in the Presidential Commission to Fight Poverty, an award from the Stone Soup Leadership Awards. As interim co-convenors of constitutional reform advocacy, I became close enough to see Marietta’s work among the basic sectors which would be the backbone of civil society’s initiative to change the Constitution. By January 2003 the group will convoke a political summit with the highest officials and representatives of the basic sectors for a constitution that would address the people’s concerns.
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My e-mail address cpedrosa@edsamail.com or c.pedrosa@qinet.net.

AMERICA BY JANUARY CENTER CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM NOW ELEONOR ROOSEVELT FIGHT POVERTY HILLSBOROUGH SUBD MANSFIELD ZIUDDIN SARDAR AND MERRYL WYN DAVIES
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