SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


To be a good citizen
By Laine Chanteloup


July 13, 2007
Friday PM

When I read the piece by Bob Harmon, I feel very skeptic. Is he joking? Is he sarcastic? I hope so, but I have very little hope for that. If you were joking, Mr Harmon, do not read the rest of this letter. But if you were not, please take a minute of your time to read it.

Mr Harmon, you were a teacher.
I hope, for the number of generations of children (that you had the chance to educate), I hope that you had more humanity and that you were more realistic. Otherwise every child would have been probably misled.

When I read the letters from Valerie, I just read some good intention and a will to move and not to be control by our TV world. She just call people, American children to do something good and right of their life and not just waste time watching a TV controlled by a Western point of view with only capitalistic value and western notion developed in it.

According to me, she calls people to have an open mind. Instead of spending human life and money in stupid war, she asks for good feelings : education, research for renewable energy, sponsoring to develop medicine in Africa...

Maybe, it is foolish to think that humans can still help other humans. Probably it is foolish to have just the will that our world could be better. Certainly, it is impossible to save everybody in this world, because the planet Earth is just dying of overpopulation. But I am sure that to have this kind of good feelings such as Valerie has, I am sure that it doesn't harm our human condition. It changes nothing, but it gives just confidence in human spirit : there is still good thinking at least.

For me, your letter Mr Harmon is just a blind view. As you said you "sound nice but you need to realize that" the US is one of the most selfish and proud countries that exists and it is due to point of view such yours. I am not against the US, there such great things and people here. Alaska is a wonderful wilderness state or instance. I met some wonderful human being in the US. Your diversity is a chance. You can be proud of that, it is true.

What do you think? The billions of dollars in aid to poor countries annually are pure generosity from your great nation? Do you think that the World Bank gives some money to develop corn in Africa just because Africans deserves to eat corns instead of Manioc? Do you think this pure generosity is not supported by an American company of seeds?

What do you think? "Your navy and army at tremendous cost in lives and money" defend really human rights around the world by pure love of freedom? It is not to develop your own company in the Middle East, and your military corps? No, just pure love of freedom. Why do you not act in Darfour, where there is genocides, why are you not involved to help some Tchechens?

What do you think? Many poor nations are the only ones responsible for their own problems? Europe and the US are absolutely not responsible to have destroyed, and to continue to destroy, their cultural roots, their local crops, their local beliefs , their own languages, their village and elders knowledge....

Sure Western country are not responsible for the mess between Israel and Palestine, they are not responsible for the Pakistan situation or all the wars for lands and religion in Africa. No the US, this perfect country ( where as your letters sounds - has no poor people, no cultural problems with native population, no problems with gangs) , sure The US and European countries are not responsible at all. After all colonization was 50 years ago; the investment of the World Bank, to sell your genetically modified crops in Africa begin 10 or 5 years ago, the constant imposition of the Western values and notion ( such as the development notion) is every day. But sure, the poor countries are collectively responsible for their own problems. It is their fault if they have a bad government ( there were no pressure during the cold war to settle some kind of government), the education and religion problems are entirely their faults too ( the colonization and the Western domination of the world does not destroy fundamental ethnic roots to build its own personality, and values).

And perhaps Mr Harmon , you can educate me on this point : Why the Iraq people prefer to fight every day instead of working? After all, it is so fun to go out to do your shopping praying to come back alive and not kill by a bomb or some shot. It is probably more fun, than going working as a gooooood American citizen, isn't it?

What do you think?

And about the European nations. What a good idea from you "to look at France for example" : I am French. So, I will speak for France.

France let in huge numbers immigrants invade my wonderful nation during the 60's and 70's. What a shame!

These immigrants came to help the reconstruction of my country, to do some jobs that nobody at this time wanted to do. Immigrants arrived because France called them, and guess what ? They stayed!!! They dared to stay! Moreover, they would like to have their family with them!! Incredible isn't it?

And, some connections with some African country such as Cameroon, the Ivory Coast, Morocco, Algeria and others exist with France. I don't know from where but a specific history links France with these countries. From colonization, no??? French exploited them, no? Killed their own believes, used their culture and resources, develop its language, tv , and values. So, I don't understand why now, some illegal immigrants want to invade MY country.

But, it is probably true, illegal immigrants are trouble and it is probably them who burn our cars, and make riots. Because an illegal immigrant will have some profits to develop terrorism and to be investigated by the police. They will have benefits to burn trash and cars in the street. It is their responsibility if in France it is sometimes such a mess. It is not the responsibility of some politician who accuse people living in inner cities to be vermin, it is not the fault of our great new president N. Sarkozy who prefers to develop billy police than the local police close to young people. No, all the mess come from illegal immigration because our administration during a time was not strong enough. If my car burns it is an illegal immigrant, or at least an immigrant. It is not a French young person who is lost in this world, who just feels disconnected from the society because he doesn t see any future for him , and because after all, he is just a vermin. No???

So, Mr Harmon, what is for you the definition of a good world citizen?

When I read your letter, I am just pissed off that a good world citizen is a good product of Wallmart, a selfish person who cares about his so great free nation that is the US, the citizen who gives his life for Iraq where it was obvious there were mass destruction weapons.

But, I agree at least on one of your idea hidden in your letter. It is impossible to look after everybody. Americans should look after their own problems before giving lessons of freedom and capitalism everywhere else. The US government should look after medical care for US citizens, limit poverty in their own cities, try to limit gangs problems ( Mr Harmon, you probably agree, gun shots every night is much better than our burned cars in France), invest money in renewable energy (and not use this money to develop - for the interest of Iraqi people only, I am sure- some oil company in Middle East).

So, perhaps you are all right and the US government should look after its legal US citizens and leave the rest of the world in peace. Or, such as Valerie, you can open your view and heart and just have good thinking for the humanity.

What is best ? You are your own judge. For me, I prefer the dreaming view from Valerie, probably because I am " a nice lady".

Laine Chanteloup
Ketchikan, AK

Received July 12, 2007 - Published July 13, 2007

About: "I'am a french student, so excuse my poor english. I came in Alaska, as an exchange student, because I love the wonderful environment of this state. During one year I change my mind about American citizens. Some are true, open minded, passionate, peaceful, generous. I discover behind Mc Donald that there is a bunch of nice people. I cheer people to travel to open their mind."

Related Viewpoint:

letter Good World Citizens Protecting Our Home By Bob Harmon

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