American Views Abroad

Friday, July 27, 2007
In The Lives of Others Ulrich Muehe, who died of cancer this week at 54, gave a brilliant performance as the Stasi officer who ended up betraying the system of East Germany to protect an artist. His portrayal was so moving because, as he himself said, he produced it from memory. He not only grew up in the system, but became ill through it as a member of the border police on the other side of the Berlin Wall and also as an actor in one of its great theatres. He knew 'the art of poetical, ambiguous 'mouthing off' to which the audience listened keenly for the slightest allusion critical to the system...' long before the Wall fell.
Ulrich Muehe -- Relentless in acting and anger at

Rent an American - US students are having a hard time in Germany as they find themselves having to justify Washington policy from day to day. A new pilot project in German schools is meant to help Americans deal with the endless drill at,1518,496731,00.html

Friday, July 20, 2007
Iraq is over. Iraq hasn't even begun -- Consequences from the disaster we could have avoided will plague the world long into the future by Timothy Garton Ash at

Life in the 'red zone' -- The hell of Baghdad by Anne Nivat at

Friday, July 13, 2007
'That's what I'm experiencing --- a national schizophrenia that results from our government carrying out an unpopular war. It's what I continue to experience with never lessening sharpness two years after my last trip to Iraq. The hardest thing, in the California sun with that cool breeze on my face, is to know that two realities in two grimly linked countries coexist, and most people in my own country are barely conscious of this. In Iraq, of course, there is nothing disparate, no disjuncture, only a constant, relentless grinding and suffering, a pervasive condition of tragic hopelessness and despair with no end in sight.'

Dahr Jamail, Iraq Reporter, Schizophrenic in Disneyland at

Monday, July 09, 2007
In the Idea section of this past Sunday's Boston Globe, Charles Marsh writes in his essay What It Means To Be a Christian After George W. Bush:

Why did American evangelicals not pause for a moment in the rush to war to consider the near-unanimous disapproval of the global Christian community? The world wide Christian opposition seems to me the most neglected story related to the religious debate about Iraq.

...Conservative evangelical elites, in exchange for political access and power, have ransacked the faith and trivialized its convictions.

...One thing, however, is clear: Any hope for a renewal depends on the willingness to reach out to our brothers and sisters abroad. We must reshape the way we live in the global Christian community and form a deeper link to the human family and to life. To do this, we must begin by learning to be quieter, and by reaffirming the simple fact that our faith transcends political loyalty or nationhood.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007
There was an interesting political cartoon in a local paper in Ohio over the Memorial Day weekend. A little boy asks his father why when it is a holiday to remember those who have died in our country's military campaigns is it celebrated with outdoor cook-outs. The newspapers were filled with articles about veterans of many past wars and certainly all the cemeteries were shrouded with mini flags. The bottom line, however, is that for most citizens it is a long weekend used to take a break from everyday routines. The newspapers were also full of ads for the holiday sales and most shops were opened. One shop that closed on Memorial Day, though, was Adli market. The ultimate German retailer has set down roots in Ohio and it made a point of mentioning in its ads that its shops were closed on that last Monday in May.

With each passing year, particularly these very recent passing years, Fourth of July fails to elicit feelings it once did. It's almost as if being caught in a time-warp. You go through certain motions. A few weeks ago in Annapolis, Maryland at a very funky breakfast place a bell rang at 9:30 on a Sunday morning ordering everyone to stand up and say the Pledge of Allegiance. Some things drilled into you early on come instantly into play. The button is pushed and you perform.

The lead editorial in the IHT on this July 4th is Through Others' Eyes at 'What the Pew poll reflects is a profound disappointment in America's failure to live up to its own ideals and standards.'
Further articles on this global survey can be found at

There are many US citizens who are as disturbed by present events as those abroad. Barbara Ehrenreich wrote This Land is My Land for The Nation recently. Not a bad idea to take a look at what she has to say about what's going on at home as well on this July 4th.

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