Nowadays we can often hear a question: “Why Do People Hate America?” Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies in their book of the same name bring up this question and try to find possible answers to it; they examine deep roots in searching the answer to this complicated question. This book is very interesting and important because knowing the roots of the problem it is possible to find a way out and we can do it with Davies and Sardar’s help.
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Ziauddin Sardar is a critic, writer and director. His autobiography gives us an answer how he could analyze this problem so thoroughly. He was born in Pakistan, but then he moved to Britain. He specializes in global culture, politics and Islam and so draws analogies easily. He has become famous all over the UK having written a great number of books and articles in numerous magazines and newspapers. Merryl Wyn Davies is a former television producer on the BBC channel. Their cooperated work came up for the creation of a book “Why Do People Hate America” that has opened some people’s eyes and pushed them for serious reflection. At first, it was published in the UK in 2002.
The authors of the book do not just express their position or thrust their opinion on people, they rather examine and discuss a number of topics, which are of current importance in the context of modern globalization. They present us some reasons why foreign people could hate America and its culture.
America is a powerful and prosperous country and it is obvious that its economy and popular culture affect people and countries all over the world and not always in a positive way. The influence of US policy is often spread not only on the country itself but also on other countries, as a rule. This influence is explained by the fact that America nowadays is the world’s superpower, “hyperpower” as it is called.
People in the countries of the Middle East and in the developing countries as well as in Europe hate America. Latin Europeans, Americans, Africans and even Canadians do not admire American policy. How has it happened? Where does the answer to this problem lie? Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies see the answer in the global influence of America on all spheres of life of people. American dominant position in the world and Americans’ perception of their country as the only leading country of the world gives cause for possible hatred. America imposes not only economic tendencies of development but also cultural system of values on the world and it is another reason for negative attitude to this country. “America also exports its value systems, defining what it means to be civilised, rational, developed and democratic - indeed, what it is to be human. Meanwhile, the US itself is impervious to outside influence, and if most Americans think of the rest of the world at all, it is in terms of deeply ingrained cultural stereotypes" (Sardar, Davies, p. 145).
Among another reasons we can also name the following one: America’s support of Israel that leads to misunderstanding and hatred from the side of Palestine and Lebanon and other Arabic countries. American government also support cruel authoritarian and in some cases totalitarian regimes such as Egypt or Saudi Arabia, such position cannot be accepted by most countries. It is also necessary to mention American intervention into developing countries, which are not able to resist America’s power and might. The bright example is American military intrusion into Iraq. American mission to establish the democratic regime in this country is not suitable and understandable for native population. Another reason for hatred is the fact that Americans control the International Monetary Fund and World Bank and it restricts the freedom of other countries in such a way. Before loaning money, each country has to make a list of changes in their economy. “They must eliminate subsidies for domestic agriculture, eliminate tariffs on imports, sell state industries to the highest bidder, cut public spending and crush independent labor unions” (Sardar, Davies, p. 137).
There is one contradiction in the perception of the American culture. On the one hand, the entire world is fascinated by American movies and TV shows, Hollywood is a life long dream for million of people, but on the other hand people state that American way of life and cultural standard have a terrible influence on the further generations. What is possible? It is necessary to look for the answer in the peculiarities of the American mindset. Practically all
American western movies insist on the fact that their enemies are evil and there could never be something positive in them. "It is this American propensity to eulogize violence and not to contemplate its human cost, not to empathize with the human experience of the consequences of violence, that strikes fear and enmity into the hearts of people the world over” (Sardar, Davies, p.21).
America is proud for its television series The West Wing, which won nine Emmies in the first season. It presents American liberal and democratic values and in the field of vision are such topics as global politics, domestic problems, scandals, ethnic dilemmas and others. After tragic events of the September 11 there appeared a special program of The West Wing, where prominent people shared their opinion.
On the one hand, this program is very useful but on the other hand, it shows a strict opinion that does not accept other opinions. For example, speaking about Islamic terrorists, the participants of this program identify all Islamic people of faith to this group. This preconceived opinion is not based on any arguments or logic evidence. Nevertheless, this program has a great influence on people’s opinion and American policy in general, so it can have unpredictable consequences.
American myth that American nation is the most powerful and the most developed nation and American’s suspicious attitude to the developing countries and Middle East is reflected in Western movies and programs. Nowadays mass media has become part of our life and it influences not only our actions but also governors and leaders’ actions and so the whole country.
To my mind the book “Why Do People Hate America” by Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn is worth reading not because everything is true there but because it makes people conscious of the fact that there are people who hate America. If there are such people, then there are some drawbacks in American policy and it is necessary to pay attention to them. Without any doubts, America is very powerful the only question is how it will use this might and unlimited possibilities.
The most frequent reason for hatred is America’s support of Israel and brutal regimes in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. American control of the International Monetary Fund and Bank disables other countries to loan money. American policy of double standards is not appropriate in the modern world. Western culture with American mark left on it is becoming inappropriate. All in all, the most important reason is Americans’ unwillingness to recognize other countries’ power.
Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn have done a good job, because they have not only named possible reasons for the hatred foreign countries have to America, but also they have mentioned possible causes and roots of this factor.
1. Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies. Why do People Hate America. Cambridge: Icon Books, 2002.
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