I don’t know if any of you know I used to go to archaeological digs in South and Central America as a hobby and as an author. Back in those days I would find myself away from the beaten path most tourist go to. As it turned out a few years ago, I was visiting Nicaragua. and while seated at a table in an outside restaurant having breakfast, I heard two young women talking about the states. I didn't say anything, I just listened.
Granada is an amazing place. Most of the buildings are over five hundred years old which fascinate me to no end. The people are living in insufferable conditions right now but when I was there it wasn’t as bad as it is right now. Currently, if you say anything about Ortega or the government, you will probably disappear.
Both young women were from Israel and both were bad mouthing America and Americans in general vehemently. I guessed them to be in their early twenties. They weren't loud mind you, but in an agitated way. At first I couldn't tell if this was directed at me initially or if it was for my benefit because I was seated near them, or if it was just talk between them. Their conversation was about the never-ending war in the middle east and the economic meltdown they saw coming to the world. They blamed America for all of it. They talked about relatives of theirs who were serving in the Israeli Army and quoted bits and pieces of conversations they had with them just before they left Israel for this trip they were on. Obama is so hated, according to those two women, and they seemed to sincerely believe he was a Muslim and considered him an enemy of their small country. It went on and on. I finally paid my bill and started to leave. I noticed they didn't give me a second look as I was about to depart, so I think it was just conversational between them. I got the impression it was just small talk between a few young women who were oblivious of anyone around them.
Just before I left the restaurant several more young people joined them. One was from Canada, another from Australia and the other young woman was from Germany. All of them, one by one, entered the conversation and made their contributions known. Not one of them had anything to say about America or Americans that was good. They called us fat, spoiled, greedy, insufferable bastards, and that what was coming down on America soon was more than justified in their opinions. It was going to be too bad other countries had to suffer the same fate with America. I was particularly bothered by this attitudes from the Canadian, the Israelis and the Australian. I was under the illusion they were friends of Americans, but after hearing what I heard, if those comments are prevalent in their respective countries, they are not our friends.
I realize of course that a conversation between a group of young women doesn't reflect world opinion to any major degree, but it makes me wonder how valid their comments were in terms of reflecting the views of people from their home countries. From my personal experiences, younger people adopt the attitude of their peers. As I sipped my delicious coffee two young men joined them. I heard that one was from Quebec Canada and the other was from a small village in France. I recognized the French named town because many years ago I visited that small village. They’re famous for their perfume and it is inland a few miles from the Riviera. The French guy was particularly boisterous about his hate for Americans. He talked loudly and was quite animated as he spoke. They all spoke in English fortunately for me I suppose, it depends on how you want to think about it. As I listened, one of the Israelis women spoke up again.
"We are going to nuke the Iranians, and we will do it soon. My brother is a pilot and he is saying the US has made it abundantly clear to Israel they are no longer behind them. Israel will stand alone in this great struggle that lays ahead and we'll see who gets wiped off the map." That caused a laughing fest among them.
They were quiet for a bit and then the Frenchman spoke up by saying, "France has turned her back on America and will not support a nation that continually tries to shove a doctrine of their form of government down the throats of smaller nations while they smother them in money. First, they try to bribe a country, then they try subterfuge, and when that doesn’t work, they go in and bomb the **** out of them. At home they are depriving their own citizens of basic liberties. The US has lost respect in the world and it is most obvious now, look at what they have elected as a President."
That got a big laugh from them. Then the girl from Canada spoke up, "The US is going to fall off a cliff as soon as they go the socialized medicine route, because it is going to sink them, and the stupid American public doesn't know it yet, but they will."
They were all laughing as I walked down the sidewalk toward my hotel room. I could hear them laughing for quite a while as I walked in the blazing heat. Their voices bounced off the cement walls of the empty streets. I was looking forward to being inside where the A/C would reduce the temperature. I was thoroughly disgusted with what I heard. It also opened up my eyes to a different view others have of Americans. I considered opening up with a verbal salvo on them but reconsidered. What was the point? If I had blasted them with a verbal attack they would have said, "See, that's a typical American." There was no valid reason for me to add fuel to that fire, I am not typical in any sense. I think if I were to put it in perspective, I felt hurt by the comments more than anything else.
My comment was when I started this "How do you think others see Americans?"
Do you know what others think of us?