This week the US Embassy in Libya was attacked, and among the casualties was US Ambassador, Chris Stevens. It’s one of a number of violent anti-American protests across the Middle-east, and they’ve spread throughout the world, including my own country – one of the US’s oldest allies.
This is not like some youtube video that insults the prophet Muhammad, though that is another manifestation of the same problem smoldering in the background. This piece of youtube profanity is just another tinder of fuel ignited by irrational racial and religious fear and hatred. An innate sense of racial superiority, an unjust distribution of political and economic power, and a long history of shortsighted ill-directed and excessive exercise of military power are the causes of all this anti-Americanism. The only way it would ever end is if everyone, no matter what background, just didn’t feel the way they did about ‘the other’. Nobody’s been more violent, killed and terrorised more people, destroyed homes and communities more than “our” side. These people feel powerless to do anything about all the meddling the US has done in the Middle-east.
The US, like all historical super-powers, will wane one day. Some people think they’re on the decline now. The number of enemies they’ve racked up in their century of power is going to be overwhelming, and brainless, ill-directed violence will probably be exacted more and more against them, just as Americans have done really since their nation’s beginnings. Many in the US sincerely see and portray themselves as the great liberators of the past century and beyond, but the experience for an ever increasing proportion of the world is quite different.
I’m saying nothing original, there are many Americans who see it the same way I do. Nations are big and diverse things and it’s too easy to portray Americans as ‘being like this’, just as it is to see all Muslims through the narrow filter of prejudice.
The cold hard reality is, there is no nation more reviled and yet more loved than the US.