December 09, 2004

Worlds Canít Meet Worlds. But People Can Meet People.

I forget who first said that (the headline, that is) but I like it and I thought about it as I was walking around inside Libya, hanging out, and chatting with regular folks.

One of the most striking things, really, about meeting people in far away lands inside other civilizations isn’t how different they are, but how very much like me they are. It shouldn’t be odd, but somehow it is. Nothing busts up stereotypes better than travel. Common sense and mere mental effort can never compete with it.

It goes both ways, I’m sure. What must it be like for someone who spent their entire life inside a country (like, say, Iraq) where Americans were constantly demonized to come to the United States and hang out with regular people. It’s probably a bit like my experience in Libya.

Granted, Libyans as people were hardly formally demonized in America. But almost every one of my friends and family members thought I was crazy to go there. The unspoken fear was that the people might kill me.

Well, no. Nobody killed me. Nobody even looked at me funny. I knew that’s how it would be from everything I read in advance, but it’s nice to actually experience that and have the old adage “people are people” proven out through experience.

This is a long intro for something I want to point out.

Omar and Mohamed, the two Iraqi bloggers who write at Iraq the Model, are travelling around the United States with Jim Hake from Spirit of America. Jeff Jarvis was lucky enough to meet them. And oh, how I wish I had been there.

It occurred to me it had been a while since I’ve look at their site, so I hopped on over and found this entry from Omar.
I wanted to say that I only knew about the left side of the blogosphere months after we started. I thought that the right side was the whole thing, as in the beginning I thought we were just posting our thoughts 'into the darkness' and get lots of visitors without having any idea were they come from except Iraqi blogs. Later we found about the major blogs such as Instapundit, Andrew Sullivan, Buzz Machine, LGF, Tim Blair, Roger Simon, Right Wing news…Etc and for long months I thought these were the only major bloggers! I didn't know because these were the sites linking to us and from were we get lots of visitors and when I used to go to their sites I would find a somewhat similar list. It turned out to be that the other side top bloggers rarely if ever mentioned us or other Iraqi blogs except for the very anti-American ones. I realized lately that the blogosphere was divided into two major parts with very few bridges.
I think that’s sad for all kinds of reasons. But here’s his next sentence:
When I started looking at the 'enemy' I found out that most of them were not that horrible!
Exactly. Exactly.

Most people just aren’t that horrible. Whether they’re red-staters, Libyans, Iraqis, liberals, whatever, people are people.

Everyone knows this already, I know. But sometimes I get the impression when reading political blogs (and the comment section on my own blog) that liberals think neoconservatives have horns, and that heartland Republicans think Bay Area hippies have two heads, both of ‘em tattooed and pierced.

When I peruse the Guardian it sometimes seems like left-wing Europeans actually believe Americans have scuff marks on their knuckles and permanent drool stains on their shirts. Reading right-wing American magazines I sometimes wonder what on Earth some conservatives would think if they hopped on a plane to Paris and discovered that French people don’t have little beady red rat eyes.

Nothing distorts reality like politics and war. Those of us who spend our time on this stuff should try to keep that in mind once in a while. If you’re in a cocoon, try to get out more. It’s good for you. And it feels good, too.

PS - Don't forget to vote for me in the Wizbang awards. Patterico is running neck and neck with me, and I hear he really does have little beady red rat eyes. We can't let a guy like that win this thing, people.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at December 9, 2004 07:43 PM
Comments

Boy, does that need to be said again, and again, and again . . .

Posted by: Todd Pearson at December 9, 2004 07:53 PM

Yeah, he's got those beady eyes, but what's this about you and women's undergarments?

Posted by: chuck at December 9, 2004 09:13 PM

I think it's time for a group hug.

Posted by: David at December 9, 2004 09:32 PM

Nothing distorts reality like politics and war

So true. I'd always heard that, but had never lived it personally until immediately after 9/11, when all of a sudden everything became "us and them." So weird.

By the way, it seems possible to vote multiple times using different browsers. I think I voted for you three times today using Firefox, IE, and Opera. I guess it's cheating, but this business of voting every day also feels like cheating. Blah. Hope you win, but it doesn't feel like a very serious thing.

Posted by: Kai Carver at December 9, 2004 09:36 PM

As Todd said "Boy, does that need to be said again, and again, and again..."

I'm Canadian. I had never realized how different Canadians are from our American cousins until I worked in the US for 5 years. Yet, at the same time, I developed some strong friendships with red meat conservatives. In fact of the three Americans with whom I am still in touch, two are strong conservtives. Somehow our common humanity transcends our differences.

One of these conservatives introduced me to your blog, Michael. And I'd like to say that although you haven't made me into a conservative, your civility and thoughtful commentary have at least made me take the American conservative viewpoint seriously.

This is despite the rantings of some of the commentators on your blog. I know many of them think they are involved in a "culture war". I don't know if they consider this to be a metaphor or a real war. All I can say to them is: if you hope to win the "hearts and minds" of the "enemy" treat us as people, not caricatures. My five years in the US have forced me to abandon some glib assumptions that I had. Please do the same.

Posted by: A.Canuck at December 9, 2004 09:42 PM

A.Canuck,

Actually, many of us "conservatives" know liberals from a previous life: they were us. We contain multitudes.

Posted by: chuck at December 9, 2004 09:46 PM

A.Canuck: And I'd like to say that although you haven't made me into a conservative, your civility and thoughtful commentary have at least made me take the American conservative viewpoint seriously.
I'm not trying to make you into a conservative. I'm not a conservative myself.

I'd still be a liberal if it weren't for the limp-noodle response to foreign policy on the left side of the aisle.

Thanks for the compliment all the same, though.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 9, 2004 09:47 PM

People are people. Certainly true. I recently moved to Hong Kong from Blighty, and yes, its a culture shock, but in the end people are people - pretty much similar wherever they are.

Posted by: Benjamin at December 9, 2004 11:13 PM

Well I hate to ruffle the lovefest but SOMEBODY out there is doing all the torturing and killing that does on. Are they just folks too?

Posted by: ilana at December 9, 2004 11:49 PM

ilana: Well I hate to ruffle the lovefest but SOMEBODY out there is doing all the torturing and killing that goes on. Are they just folks too?

No, but they aren't the majority of the people in any one country, either. Nor are they "the liberals" or "the Republicans" or "the Arabs" or whatever. Most people know how to behave themselves. Even in Berkeley, Kansas, and Libya. Probably in Fallujah, too, for that matter, although at a somewhat (ahem) reduced rate.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 10, 2004 12:02 AM

“...heartland Republicans think Bay Area hippies have two heads, both of ‘em tattooed and pierced.”

Two heads? I wouldn’t know about that---but we can take it for granted that the vast majority of Bay Area hippies are objectively pro-totalitarian and adore Che Guevera and Mao. These folks readily agree with Michael Moore that the insurgents in Iraq are similar to America’s revolutionary war heroes. They want us to fail in our war against the terrorists.

Posted by: David Thomson at December 10, 2004 12:56 AM

Is anyone else getting tired of bloggers who clearly like each other and find each other hilarious having fake feuds?

Look Mike. Frank J. and Instapundit did it first (well, Frank J. did it first and Insty laughed and linked) and quite frankly, he at least made up the entertaining puppy blender lie.

So at the very least you could make up some entertaining lies about Patterico Pretty Boy. Say he abuses retarded bi-racial indian girls with an insidious combination of pixie sticks and Diet 7-Up or something.

Oh, and Canuck guy? I lived in Toronto- the notion that you are vastly different than we are is a portion of the Canadian mental pathology not related to life as it is experienced on this earth. One: no Canadian ever, the entire time I was there, caught on that I was from Texas. Two, yes your culture is wholly derivative. I know your entire identity is built up around not-me'ness and your self esteem demands treating us as alien creatures not based on carbon, but it gets boring very fast. Lastly, Michael Totten is a liberal, which we foreign devil's from below call the soft-left. You got confused because he doesn't rhyme all conservative names with Hitler as is the law in Canada and custom in LA.

Posted by: James Versluys at December 10, 2004 01:16 AM

Great post, great idea. Meeting other people is important.

My own take is quite different, though. People exist, buildings exist, Humvees exist (armored and not), guns exist.

Countries don't really exist, nor do corporations.
No company ever makes or signs a contract, nor does any country ever sign or keep the terms of any treaty.

Countries and organizations are "supernatural" -- in the sense that people "believe" in them, and act as if they exist. America never fought Japan -- American soldiers did fight, kill, and die in fighting Japanese soldiers.

All only people. Often following orders of other people, who follow orders of civilian politicians, who are just people elected by voting people (in the US).

There's an important theory about human beings, in government, making decisions. Decisions based on the incentives of those humans in decision making power. James Buchannan won a Nobel prize for it: Public Choice Theory.

It's all people. People with ideas. The "War of Ideas" is actually an attempt to influence the real actions of other people, by changing their minds.

Yesterday I, too, looked again at Iraq the Model (while voting for them, over Healing Iraq), saw the post, and looked at Kevin Drum's site (again). The Liberal who I can most easily take. It still seems to me that too many Liberals are bleating like sheep on Bush - bah bah bad baaaaadddd.

Look, imperfect here; look, imperfect there -- see how he's bad, terrible, evil. With little constructive thought about achieving democracy in Iraq, or in the ME. Too tiresome for me to read much -- even Patterico is better.

But TNR with the new threat of AQ and Peter Beinart might be getting interesting again. They're waiting for YOU, Michael; why not think about revisiting your Liberals should support Bush's War note of 2 years ago? (I just checked, it's still great.)

I still think the Dems are losing, and will be losing, based on anti-God; and the Catholics moving away based on the non-negotiable anti-Abortion issue. When I looked at TNR on Radical Fundamentalism, I read into it--including radical Secular Fundamentalism, which allows killing deformed babies (in Holland).

But please, Michael, help the Liberals get tough on terrorism, before the terrorists get a bomb, use it, and the undecided folk accept a real police state for security.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at December 10, 2004 02:57 AM

"Oh, and Canuck guy? I lived in Toronto- the notion that you are vastly different than we are is a portion of the Canadian mental pathology not related to life as it is experienced on this earth. One: no Canadian ever, the entire time I was there, caught on that I was from Texas."

But I'll bet you didn't go around talking like that. They would have caught on really quickly if you had - even in Toronto.

"You got confused because (Michael) doesn't rhyme all conservative names with Hitler as is the law in Canada and custom in LA."

Thank you. I wasn't aware of that law. As you know we like to submit meekly to all laws up here. I wouldn't want to miss out on that one.

Posted by: A.Canuck at December 10, 2004 04:36 AM

"But I'll bet you didn't go around talking like that. They would have caught on really quickly if you had - even in Toronto."

Outside of blogs, nobody talks like that.
I am constantly confused for being Canadian where I live. Why? Because American and Canadian culture at its core is almost identical. Like it or not.

Posted by: mnm at December 10, 2004 05:36 AM

"I am constantly confused for being Canadian where I live. Why? Because American and Canadian culture at its core is almost identical. Like it or not."

Interesting.

Do you live in the US or are you abroad somewhere?

If Americans and Canadians are very similar (and we are), what is it about your attitudes, accent, whatever, that make people assume that you are Canadian?

Posted by: A.Canuck at December 10, 2004 06:06 AM
David Thomson, you wrote:
Two heads? I wouldn’t know about that---but we can take it for granted that the vast majority of Bay Area hippies are objectively pro-totalitarian and adore Che Guevera and Mao. These folks readily agree with Michael Moore that the insurgents in Iraq are similar to America’s revolutionary war heroes. They want us to fail in our war against the terrorists.
Do you not even remotely begin to get the irony of making this comment on a post by Michael that was explicitly about not making vast assumptions and generalizations about people you've never met and are probably a lot more like you thank you think?

I mean, seriously.

Just asking.

Posted by: Blogtheist at December 10, 2004 06:13 AM

"If Americans and Canadians are very similar (and we are), what is it about your attitudes, accent, whatever, that make people assume that you are Canadian?"

I live in the Cayman islands where there are about 6,000 Canadian expats and maybe 2500 American expats.

The reason Canadian expats assume I am Canadian is because Americans and Canadians are so much alike. The Canadians here get offended when they are mistaken for being American, which happens everyday also.

Posted by: mnm at December 10, 2004 06:56 AM

Nazis were just regular folks too.

Posted by: David at December 10, 2004 06:56 AM

That was a wonderful post. Thank you.

Posted by: Ali. at December 10, 2004 06:57 AM

Ah Michael, good morning!

It was quite refreshing to read your post today, well stated and timely.

Of course people are just people.

If you are a creationist, then you know that we all came from Adam and Eve, the dead carcass of Tiamat, or from a couple of logs that Odin and his brothers found on the beach, turned into humans and named Ask and Embla.

If you're an evolutionist, you know that we all came from the same genetic mutations.

We all came from the same base somewhere. The only difference is our perceptions, based on our experiences, our training and the indoctrination of dogma or catma. Robert Anton Wilson uses the term sombunall (Some but not all) as a conditional statement to seperate a subgroup of people from "everyone" in the main group.

Saying something like: "The Islamists support terrorists, because they aren't expressing their outrage at X", is simply wrong.

Saying: "Sombunall, Islamists seem to support terrorism, because the aren't expressing outrage at X" is much better.

The first sentence, is easily disproven. I have some Islamic friends, they have spoken out against Al Qudea. The second, states something from a single point of view, which applies only to some Islamists.

Language, as pro-censorship people quickly jump to point out, is a very powerful tool. If you say something long enough, even if its a lie, you can convience people that its true. In fact, without evidence, a good Polemist can convience people of nearly anything, using only words. Michael Moore is a perfect example. People tend to be easily swayed into neurolinguistic hallucinations that the words they heard equal the facts.

With such a powerful tool on the tip of our tounge, we would do well to think carefully about not only the jist of what we're saying, but also how we say it.

This isn't about political correctness, its about clear and concise discourse.

Thanks for the nice post Michael

Posted by: Ratatosk at December 10, 2004 07:30 AM

"explicitly about not making vast assumptions and generalizations about people you've never met and are probably a lot more like you thank you think?"

The fallacy in that argument is that he was, in fact, making assumptions. The possibility remains that he was not. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that many of the International ANSWER marchers have serious problems. Furthermore, as anyone knows, most political opponents don't think of themselves as wrong, no matter how far outside the mainstream they are. Thus, you can have a rabid Communist leftist who wants to string up the middle-classes who actually believe in religion, and he'll still think of himself as a nice guy.

Cruelty is not something that people can wear on the outside for a long time, but it can remain a strong force within and manifest itself in many ways. But if you're expecting a consistent performance, you'll be disappointed. There yet remains some force of shame in society that a consistently wicked person is ostricized, and to act wicked to a complete stranger risks that. But such social niceties are quickly degenerating. It's better to be on your guard and not reveal, like I am, that I'm a conservative Catholic. My co-workers in my liberal NYC law firm might retaliate against me because of that. The fact is, they have no idea what I really believe. I do not trust them.

Posted by: Sydney Carton at December 10, 2004 08:10 AM

Sydney,

Stop smoking weed... the paranoia is getting you.

;-)

Posted by: Ratatosk at December 10, 2004 08:15 AM

Ratatosk,

Easy for you to say.

Posted by: Sydney Carton at December 10, 2004 08:20 AM

Sydney,

Try being a liberal who works for the Department of _______ under Bush. Then cry me a river about hiding your political affiliation.

Posted by: Blogtheist at December 10, 2004 08:30 AM

Heh. Whenever I say that Americans and Canadians are practically identical culturally, everyone usually throws brickbats at me.

A couple of points - IMO, one major difference in our cultures is that Canadians have less paranoia about losing their freedoms than Americans do, and yet while living in a culture where a fair bit of government management of society is tolerated and expected, they seem to enjoy greater personal freedom on a day-to-day basis than Americans do.

Secondly, while our host may be a liberal by American standards, American standards are skewed to the right of most of the world. Our Liberal Party is solidly to the left of the Amercian Democractic Party, and our NDP would be what many commenters here would think to be far left. I have no idea how far left they would think our Communist Party to be, it's probably completely off the scale. So when A. Canuck mentions this blog as seeming conservative, that's probably from using the Canadian political scale.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 10, 2004 08:31 AM

Blogtheist,

if you don't follow Bush policies, you're likely to get fired. Naturally. But your beliefs and ideology are irrelevant.

That's a far cry from being un-pc at the Lib law firm. Your thoughts are HIGHLY relevant.

Posted by: David at December 10, 2004 08:33 AM

ps. Thoughts are highly relevant to a totalitarian. And wasn't it someone on this blog that said Libs are just soft totalitarians at heart?

Posted by: David at December 10, 2004 08:36 AM

Blogthiest,

Well, I'm not about to get into a pissing contest over who's the greater victim. A liberal will ALWAYS win that one, since being a victim is practically the core of liberal ideology. So piss away.

Still, your "cry me a river" remark indicates exactly what I'm talking about. People in face-to-face meetings are likely to be polite, and to observe the social graces. But their thoughts about the rightness of their cause and the evilness of their opponents will remain with them. As anyone familiar with USENET or any internet posting knows, the anonymous nature of the communication allows people to disregard the social graces and appear as they naturally would without such a cloak. It's more "in-your-face" than it would be if you actually met them face-to-face. But the person is still the same.

The real issue for analysis is, who is that person you're meeting? The polite guy, or the guy who rants on the internet? I'll bet it's more likely that his private rants will eventually conquer his public life. I'll make an addendum to what I said earlier: my close friends know that I'm a conservative Catholic. Only once I get to know someone can you trust them. With stangers, it's unclear if their public personas are masks for deeper wickedness. You've gotta be careful these days.

Posted by: Sydney Carton at December 10, 2004 08:54 AM

And of course, it goes without saying, that if a person in public actually acts like a ranting internet person, then you can be pretty sure he's gone off the deep end. People like Michael Moore, who in public act as if an anonymous person would, are pretty scary. He would feed people to the lions, for sure.

Posted by: Sydney Carton at December 10, 2004 08:56 AM

People like Michael Moore, who in public act as if an anonymous person would, are pretty scary. He would feed people to the lions, for sure.

Projection much? While I realize that everyone needs their demons, and someone who speaks their mind like Michael Moore opens themseleves up to demonization by those who don't share their their views, stuff like the above is a bit much, too much like blood libel.

Here's an article by Rabbi Boteach, a conservative, who sat beside Moore when he was booed at the Republican Convention:
When it died down, I bent over and asked Moore how he felt during the boos, whether he was ashamed or offended. He said, "Nah, I take it all in good humor. These people are Americans, just like me. They love this country, just like I do. I bet that if we all sat down together, we'd discover just how much we agree on all the issues."

Perhaps. But defending a tyrant is probably something that few of us sitting in that room would ever agree upon with Michael Moore.

Throughout the conversation, I was polite and respectful. I went out of my way to be so because I wanted to show the difference between people like me who support President Bush out of conviction but believe profoundly in showing human decency to opponents, and the many who support John Kerry simply because they hate President Bush and liken him to Hitler. Moore, too, was extremely friendly and said that it was important people understood that he didn't have horns or a tail.

Indeed, I was left feeling that he can have a charming side and is certainly not Satan. But that gives him little excuse to defend and validate those who certainly are.
Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 10, 2004 09:05 AM

"Nah, I take it all in good humor. These people are Americans, just like me. They love this country, just like I do. I bet that if we all sat down together, we'd discover just how much we agree on all the issues."

Was that before or after he called Americans the stupidest people on the planet.

Posted by: David at December 10, 2004 09:22 AM

Was that before or after he called Americans the stupidest people on the planet.

Missed that one. Did he say "stupidest" or "most ignorant?" Either way, being critical of something doesn't mean you don't love it. Or are you saying that America and Americans are beyond criticism? Or that if you do so, it means you hate it or them?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 10, 2004 09:26 AM

Indeed, I was left feeling that he can have a charming side and is certainly not Satan.

Oh but rabbi, Satan's greatest gift is charm. He's the Angel of Light after all. Do you think evil announces itself to the righteous with fangs and horns? No, it's lovely and seductive. Very charming indeed.

Posted by: David at December 10, 2004 09:27 AM

Missed that one.

Of course you did.

"They are possibly the dumbest people on the planet ... in thrall to conniving, thieving, smug pricks."

---Michael Moore to the London Daily Mirror

Posted by: David at December 10, 2004 09:30 AM

While many of you argue about whether or not I'm a liberal or a conservative, let me just remind everybody that I am neither one or the other.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 10, 2004 09:31 AM

While many of you argue about whether or not I'm a liberal or a conservative, let me just remind everybody that I am neither one or the other.

Good Michael. Neither was I just before I threw my lot in with the conservatives. I have high hopes for you.

Posted by: David at December 10, 2004 09:33 AM

David,

You wrote:
if you don't follow Bush policies, you're likely to get fired. Naturally. But your beliefs and ideology are irrelevant. That's a far cry from being un-pc at the Lib law firm. Your thoughts are HIGHLY relevant.
I'm not sure I follow. My thoughts are irrelevant because...I'm a liberal? Your thoughts are relevant because...you're a conservative? I don't get it.

Sydney,

I apologize. I wasn't trying to be rude, or engage in a pissing contest. I was trying to point out, in the vein of Michael's post, that people on the other side of the ideological divide (whatever "ideology" even means anymore) have similar experiences. Though I can't imagine that in either of our experiences, it's really as bad as keeping a secret journal of our respective dislike of Big Brother before the Thought Police come to take us away. A little hyperbole is a symptom of human beings in general, and isn't particular to either side.

What I was trying to say in the first place was this: Michael wrote a post about how, once you actually meet people, you find out how similar you really are to each other. David Thomson then wrote that he took for granted the fact that several million people he had never met thought a certain way. I wanted to point out the irony of this:

"Oh yes, once you get to know people, you find out that they are very similar. Except for those people. They can't possibly be similar to me!"

There's a great two-wildly-different-convicts-must-learn-to-get-along-because-they're-handcuffed-together-as-they-escape plot line in here for a couple of people in here.

Posted by: Blogtheist at December 10, 2004 09:47 AM

I don't get it.

Blog,

I'm assuming you're not just being rhetorical and actually didn't get it. Let me clarify.

What I meant to say is that getting fired from a "Bush agency" would happen because you aren't following his policies. In other words, you aren't doing your job.

But Sydney is worried about being penalized for this thoughts, not his work product.

Posted by: David at December 10, 2004 09:51 AM

David,

That public presentation of charm is exactly what I think we should require confirmation of. Assuming that merely because someone observes the social graces, that person is good, is extremely naive. It's by the fruit that you shall know them. And Michael Moore, for all his public charm, has long been public with his wide-eyed views. He was upset about September 11 not because America was attacked, but because the wrong people died (blue staters) instead of the red-states who voted for Bush. The statememt was boarderline sociopathic.

But because Michael Moore was charming and can make some jokes, we overlook that? Which is the real Michael Moore?

Posted by: Sydney Carton at December 10, 2004 09:52 AM

Sydney,

nice is skin deep. And I'm more than willing to play along sitting at a Dem convention, or visiting a foreign country.

But what does Michael Moore stand for. That's what I'm concerned for. He is no less nice than I, nor is your standard Lybian. Nor evil for that matter. Evil lurks in the hearts of all men. But it's irrelevant. Their worldviews have evil consequences. That's what counts.

Posted by: David at December 10, 2004 10:00 AM

Blogthiest,

I think it's true that people who disagree politically can be very similar, and might exhibit similar characteristics (insert any characterization of geek behavior and it'll probably apply to people who would think they're very different). That's a no-brainer. Common humanity means that we're all potential Hitlers or potential Mother Theresas. But let me add this: even though people might exhibit similar behavior, individuals want to be thought of as DIFFERENT. And if the lessons of history are any guide, the in-group/out-group psychology of humanity is not going to change anytime soon, no matter how strong "tolerance" become a part of our social mantra.

I mean, honestly: what difference does it make that two people both have kids, both pay their taxes, both work at crummy jobs, both think they're unique, both struggle with earning a living, both live in the suburbs, and yet disagree on every possible political subject? Either that disagreement turns to hate of the other or it doesn't. And that hate isn't a product of the political disagreement, but the temperment of the individual, who may be charming in public. Your "nice" neighbor could hate your guts because you had a Bush sign on your front lawn. Is that such a surprise? No. Is it going to change anytime soon? No.

I'm a big fan of being polite in public and treating everyone fairly. Call me a pessimist, but I need a little more proof that your public charm isn't a mask for true sinister beliefs underneath.

Posted by: Sydney Carton at December 10, 2004 10:03 AM

Sydney,

It at least raises the interesting questions: why do these people disagree on these political issues? Why these issues, and none other (if they really do live their lives so similarly)? What would it take to comprimise, or agree? What is the best way of determining the best course of action on an issue, if logic and reason can't bridge the gap between these two people who are so similar?

I can't imagine I am very sinister, in real life or otherwise, but I like the idea of me sitting here, twirling my moustache as I plot my sinister dirigible attack on her Majesty the Queen at the World Expotorium...

And David: if you don't think that someone in government could lose their job simply because of their political beliefs, rather than their actions in relation to their work, well, you'd be wrong.

Posted by: Blogtheist at December 10, 2004 11:13 AM

And David: if you don't think that someone in government could lose their job simply because of their political beliefs, rather than their actions in relation to their work, well, you'd be wrong.

blog,

What I'm suggesting rather is that you have no evidence that anybody is suffering for their political beliefs in a "Bush agency" any more than people suffer in a "Clinton agency", etc., as you seemed to suggest.

Posted by: David at December 10, 2004 11:18 AM

I had a similar experience. This was back in 2003 when our country was gearing up for war, and anti-Americanism/anti-freedom was on the rise in many places around the world. I made a trip to Canada under this climate to attend a salesman convention. My wife opposed my decision to go. There were a few other factors involved in her opposition to my travel, but the anti-American climate and the rioting and flag burning she saw broadcast on CNN and other MSM outlets played the biggest factor in her decision. She feared for my safety.

“They’ll kill you over there,” she warned.

“Nonsense. Besides we’re Americans and we have to stand up for what we believe in.”

So I went. And guess what? Everyone was nice to me, polite and friendly. There was absolutely no violence and no trouble. It’s like you said, people are people.

Posted by: Kay Hoog at December 10, 2004 11:25 AM

David,

I never tried to imply that one suffered more than the other. In fact, I have been trying to go out of my way to suggest that the opposite is true, that the experiences of different people are similar.

I only referred to Bush because I happen to be a liberal working for a conservative.

Posted by: Blogtheist at December 10, 2004 11:28 AM

I made a trip to Canada under this climate to attend a salesman convention. My wife opposed my decision to go. There were a few other factors involved in her opposition to my travel, but the anti-American climate and the rioting and flag burning she saw broadcast on CNN and other MSM outlets played the biggest factor in her decision.

We had riots? When? And while there a great many anti-war demonstrations here, I never saw a US flag burned. Again, there's a big difference between being opposed to a policy of the US government, and being opposed to a nation. We too have troops in Afghanistan and the Gulf, despite being opposed to the Iraq war.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 10, 2004 11:36 AM

The biased MSM in our country painted a very different picture. As my plane was landing, I felt like a sardine being tossed into a crowded fish tank full of hungry gnashing piranhas. But the trip turned out to be a very pleasurable experience.

I know the United States has friends all over the world.

Posted by: Kay Hoog at December 10, 2004 11:46 AM

Kay Hoog: I felt like a sardine being tossed into a crowded fish tank full of hungry gnashing piranhas.

Wow, Canada really isn't like that at all. I'm glad you got to go and see for yourself. It's a nice place. I've been to British Columbia easily 30 or 40 times.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 10, 2004 12:00 PM

I think it's obvious why people who live very similar lives might have different political beliefs: individual temperment. An small example: If you're picked on by a bully, you either want revenge or you want to try to befriend him. Why the difference? Individual temperment.

I'm not a believer in the school of thought that says that people are a blank slate that can be remolded. I happen to think that human nature, and also the effects of tradition and culture, go a big way towards shaping our reactions to things (note: this "tradition" and "culture" need not necessarily be "conservative", since a longing for 60s revolution could be a part of it). Also, our parents and upbringing have a lot to do with things.

What would it take to compromise? It depends on the issue, as always, and whether a proposal runs against human nature, culture, tradition, etc. And it depends on who's doing the compromising and for what reason. I'm not about to compromise on certain things that violate American tradition and American culture (which is why I'll never be a card-carrying member of the ACLU). I will, however, compromise on putting up with a lot of CRAP from a person if it gets me a date with Adriana Lima. :)

Posted by: Sydney Carton at December 10, 2004 12:06 PM

I felt like a sardine being tossed into a crowded fish tank full of hungry gnashing piranhas.

Heh, I have an American kayaking buddy who's Republican, and he may have felt like that on one occasion. On a camping trip last summer he got into a campfire political discussion with a couple of rabid Canadian left-wingers (okay, one of 'em was me) where we went over in excruciating detail all of the flaws in the US administration's foreign policy under Bush.

We all had a good time, then we peed on the fire.

But the trip turned out to be a very pleasurable experience.

Excellent.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 10, 2004 12:45 PM

Great post. People do have a lot in common. The French don’t have beady eyes, and they’re as polite as any New Yorker. Guardian readers are capable of having a polite conversation, and moderate Muslims that I’ve met are very open and friendly..

..as long as the conversation centers around the food, the sights, etc. When the subject turns to politics, I’m sometimes surprised by the things that come out of the mouths of previously reasonable-looking people. That’s why I usually avoid politics in face to face conversation, especially when traveling.

Exception to this rule are taxi drivers – they’re pretty open about their political opinions, they’re usually not crazy and they’re okay with it if you disagree with them. That’s just my observation.

Another exception is Conservative Muslims. In Britain, conservatively-dressed (completely covered) women were able to travel without their husbands, but I was never able to have a normal conversation, or even be greeted by them. A group of conservative Arabs in Malaysia refused to go on a tour with our family because they didn’t want to share a bus with ‘Europeans’.

Conservatives didn’t communicate much with moderates either. I’ve never been to an Arab Muslim country. Are things different there?

Posted by: mary at December 10, 2004 12:48 PM

MJT - It's a nice place. I've been to British Columbia easily 30 or 40 times.

Wow, I've only been once. Stayed a while though :)

Of course, others may have a different opinion of the Province:
A couple of angry American tourists have caused a language debate in Richmond.

[...] They complained about walking into a hobby shop and hearing the staff gossiping in a Chinese language.

[...] Always sensitive to the feelings of tourists, Richmond city council's intercultural committee examined the complaints and came up with a plan to make Richmond less offensive for people not so accustomed to Asians, Asian food, Asian languages, or anything else Asian.
Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 10, 2004 12:49 PM

MAry: I’ve never been to an Arab Muslim country. Are things different there?

As always, it depends. I've been to two, Tunisia and Libya, and they are so different from each other I wouldn't even know where to begin.

(One thing they have in common, though, is that I experienced absolutely zero hostility of any kind in either of them.)

I did discuss politics in Libya with a couple of people, and had a great (and very private) conversation with one of my guides. We talked about Iraq. He said Bush confused the people of Libya. I asked him "how so?"

His answer in a nutshell: It was GREAT that you got rid of "that fucking bastard Saddam Hussein" (his words, not mine), but why are you still there fighting the Iraqi people? Why can't you just leave 'em alone?

That was his starting point before we argued about it.

I told him that if we left Iraq today the Baathists or the Islamists would most likely kill their way into power. He thought about this, conceded that it was probably true, and then told me he was pessimistic about our odds of success for all the usual reasons you're used to hearing.

He was definitely, emphatically, not anti-American. He told me the average Libyan cheered the invasion of Iraq, but is now pretty strongly opposed to the occupation. He didn't seem to like dictators much, especially not his own. Ghaddafi was also referred to several times as "that fucking bastard."

He also told me he wants to move to Lebanon because "it is civilized." I asked him why he thought it was more civilized and his answer was "the French occupation."

Interesting guy.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 10, 2004 01:09 PM

dpu - that is the most peculiar story - Americans not accustomed to Asians? Chinese restaurants and Vietnamese nail shops are more common than Burger King. Those 'angry Americans' are not the norm.

Posted by: mary at December 10, 2004 01:14 PM

I work with 3 Canadians from BC and all 3 have expressed irritation with the amount of asians in the province. They also said they were refused service at several asian restaurants. They have a nickname for Vancouver, somehow morphing the name into some chinese city or something, but I can't remember what it is. (Hong Couver?)

Who knew racial tension could exist in a perfect country like Canada.

Posted by: mnm at December 10, 2004 01:24 PM

"I asked him why he thought it was more civilized and his answer was "the French occupation."

Having lived 4 years in East Africa, I would say the same thing about the Brits, and just about any other place that the West has invested it's blood and treasure. Arabia and Africa can't get their shit together DESPITE western colonialism, not because of it.

Posted by: David at December 10, 2004 01:35 PM

Michael - PJ O'Rourke describes conversations like that in 'Holidays in Hell'. Libyans have been putting up with (and hating) Ghaddafi for a long time. Libya sounds like an interesting place to visit, but Tunisia sounds less oppressive.

Posted by: mary at December 10, 2004 01:35 PM

Mary - I suspect that they were in one of Richmond's large Asian malls, it can be a bit overwhelming if you expect certain things, like being served in English. I also know that some people get irritated by hearing so much Chinese spoken. Me, I don't, I've taken Cantonese courses, have several Asian family members, and love the food and the culture.

I know that these tourists aren't typical, we're just finding the whole thing a bit amusing. Richmond has an enormous Asain population. It's funny to hear someone complain about it. Like complaining about Chinese being spoken in Hong Kong..

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 10, 2004 01:38 PM

Mary,

I'm reading PJ's "Holidays in Hell" right now. My LA Weekly editor for the Libya piece, Marc Cooper, assigned it to me as "homework."

It's a GREAT book, just fantastic. No piece on Libya in it, though. Does he have an article on Libya in a different book, perhaps?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 10, 2004 01:43 PM

Michael - In ‘Among the Euroweenies’, O’ Rourke describes his Catch 22 attempts to get a Libyan visa, and the polite people he met at the Libyan embassy. (That's one of my personal favorite chapters)

Now that I look at the book, I realize that I was mixing his descriptions of Libya up with his descriptions of traveling through Syria and Lebanon. There’s a whole chapter about that.

Posted by: mary at December 10, 2004 02:11 PM

Ah yes, "Among the Euroweenies." You know what really struck me about that piece? It's how much nothing has changed since the 80s. Europeans were as pacifist and anti-American then as they are now. Bush didn't create the current impasse, and neither did Jacques Chirac. It's just the way things are, and the way things were.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 10, 2004 02:20 PM

"Bush didn't create the current impasse, and neither did Jacques Chirac. It's just the way things are, and the way things were."

Roger that, Ive been living abroad for 7 years and the shit talking has been going on at pretty much the same level since clinton was president.

Posted by: mnm at December 10, 2004 02:39 PM

Live and Let Live

Posted by: Gene at December 10, 2004 02:46 PM

Europeans were as pacifist and anti-American then as they are now

Definitely. I was in Germany during the late '80's and attitudes are about the same. They really hated Reagan.

Posted by: mary at December 10, 2004 02:49 PM

Well Michael I think my comment on your recent trip to Libya is one of those that got deleted. Can't find it anymore nor any reply from you so I assume you never got to read it.I'll just say that I was disapointed a little ( since I'm a Libyan who lives in Libya) but I will wait to read your article before I make any judgments. However, one week is not enough for you to know about Libya but the people of Ghadames are not Berber but Touaregs..so at least get the facts right . Look forward to your article.

Posted by: Highlander at December 10, 2004 03:26 PM

Kay Hoog: "I felt like a sardine being tossed into a crowded fish tank full of hungry gnashing piranhas."

Michael: "Wow, Canada really isn't like that at all. I'm glad you got to go and see for yourself. It's a nice place. I've been to British Columbia easily 30 or 40 times."

Hey, come up for a visit some time folks. We're not perfect. You may meet a few jerks. And if the subject of politics come up you'll probably discover we have different views than you on a lot of things. But I doubt you'll meet vituperation as extreme as some of the comments at this site.

We also have our own unique preoccupations that may bemuse the outsider: French vs English, East vs West, and to a lesser extent than you, Left vs Right. I was on a trip to Alberta recently and heard BC referred to as "The People's Republic of British Columbia.

Gotta go now. I'm curling in 20 minutes. Great discussion.

Posted by: A.Canuck at December 10, 2004 03:41 PM

dpu - I've been to a few local Asian malls. They're a lot of fun, but you have to seek them out. People usually don't go there unless they're looking for a one or two hour cultural immersion. Going to one of those obviously Asian malls and being shocked to hear Chinese spoken would be like driving to Vegas and complaining about the one-armed bandits.

According to this collection of letters in the Richmond paper, some Chinese residents of Richmond are wondering why such a big deal is being made about one comment from two random tourists. Some are complaining about racism in Richmond.

Some self-proclaimed 'lowly Caucasian' Richmond residents are complaining about the Chinese. Hmm…

I don't want to get too off topic here, but this 'complaint' sounds very weird.

Posted by: mary at December 10, 2004 03:50 PM

ps. one-armed bandits was the best synonym I could come up with to substitute for the word g***ling word, which MT forbids. Sorry, it doesn't work very well...

Posted by: mary at December 10, 2004 03:54 PM

Highlander: one week is not enough for you to know about Libya

Of course not. All I can do is write about my experience in that one week. That's what travel writing is all about.

the people of Ghadames are not Berber but Touaregs

Not according to what I've read. Also, the people I talked to in Ghadames described themselves as Berbers, not Tuaregs, and told me the city is Berber. Perhaps there are Tuaregs there, too, but I didn't (knowingly) meet any and have not seen any reference to Ghadames being Tuareg until you mentioned it now.

I will wait to read your article before I make any judgments

You might not like the article. I did not like the city of Tripoli much at all (sorry), although I did see a few nice places in the old city and the Italian quarter. I liked the people a lot, though. Very kind, welcoming, and sweet.

Don't be offended that I do not like the city of Tripoli. The urban planning is terrible, and that's Ghaddafi's fault. Not your fault.

The town I grew up in is pretty awful, too, and I don't mind saying so publicly. :)

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 10, 2004 03:56 PM

Mary: one-armed bandits was the best synonym I could come up with to substitute for the word g***ling word, which MT forbids

Sorry. I desperately needed to put that word in my spam-blocking software.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 10, 2004 03:57 PM

Try adding the word "soci*lists" to a comment (with an 'a' in the right place of course.

That one has me confused.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 10, 2004 04:19 PM

The word "soci*list" is blocked because it contains the word "ci*lis," which is a drug that keeps appearing in spam ads.

Argh. I hate spam. One of these days (hopefully soon) blocking spam will go a little bit smoother.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 10, 2004 04:54 PM

Michael,

Don't count on it. We're playing with the latest is anti-spam technology. Out of the 1,800,000 emails we get a week, we're now blocking over 1,000,000. (Yes, with an M.) However, we still have a full time employee who does nothing but add spam thats getting through to the block list.

The Internet was designed specifically for the unencumbered flow of information. Until we evolve the net to its next incarnation, we'll have these sorts of problems.

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at December 10, 2004 05:26 PM

"But I'll bet you didn't go around talking like that"

You mean complaining about Canadians being unable to detect my super secret santa self? Well yes, that tended to tip them off. When one bluntly tells a Canadian some factual things like "I am from the US", I found over half of them mentally processed it within the week.

Unless you meant "go around talking like that" to mean "go around with that hick Texas accent I just know you have now that you've told me you're from there" in which case I hate to inform you that even most Texans speak SAE.

"Thank you. I wasn't aware of that law"

I'm surprised you missed it. It was one of the offical planks of Captain Crunch's Liberal Party platform...or maybe I'm thinking about Trudeau.

There is one difference. I noticed the entire gene for irony is almost wholly absent from the Canadian gene pool ("I wasn't aware that was a law"- oh god, are you kidding me?). Except for the small group of my admittedly superior friends, I didn't find anyone in Canada who took South Park's "Blame Canada" as anything but an accurate description of American attitudes toward Canada.
Someone wrote about that a while back, saying Canadians were actually offended, but I didn't believe them until I went up there for the holidays. Then I could only think "good god there are thirty million of them".

Posted by: James Versluys at December 10, 2004 05:28 PM

Oh, and SAE stands for "standard american english" in linguisto-talk.

Posted by: James Versluys at December 10, 2004 05:29 PM

I didn't find anyone in Canada who took South Park's "Blame Canada" as anything but an accurate description of American attitudes toward Canada.

Errrm, no, even my kids, who are also Canadian, understood that the parents in South Park found it easier to blame a different nation rather than accept responsibility for the poor parenting skills, and they further understood that it was a metaphor for blaming movies, badly-drawn cartoons, and video games for teen violence instead of a lousy upbringing. Furthermore, Canadians love the song.

So some Canadians, even little ones, understand irony. Some Americans, on the other hand, making sweeping generalizations about other cultures without really experiencing those cultures enough to justify making those sweeping generalizations. Wonder in that particular problem will show up in a catchy South Park song?

Nahhhh.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 10, 2004 06:26 PM

I desperately needed to put that word in my spam-blocking software.

No problem. We all do what we can to get rid of spam. I'm thinking of getting one of those wiggly-number things, like Wizbang.

That and writing nasty letters to the ci*lis and g***mbling s*tes. Spammers can get up to nine years in jail for faking IP addresses. Maybe the s*tes they advertize are accessories?

Posted by: mary at December 10, 2004 07:07 PM

DPU: Americans, on the other hand, making sweeping generalizations about other cultures without really experiencing those cultures enough to justify making those sweeping generalizations.

Good thing no one ever does anything like that to us. ;)

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 10, 2004 07:08 PM

Touché Michael!

Posted by: A.Canuck at December 10, 2004 08:32 PM

Okay, the word "socialist" should be okay now. I think I found a way to rig the anti-spam system better.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 10, 2004 08:53 PM

MJY: Good thing no one ever does anything like that to us. ;)

You left off one little word of my comment that made a world of difference to the meaning, Michael. Shame on you.

Just talked to the boy a few minutes ago as we watched Futurama.

Me: "Hey, you know that song in the South Park movie, Blame Canada?"

Him: "Um, yeah."

Me: "What was that song about?"

Him: "It's about parents blaming stupid stuff like the media for stuff their kids do instead of blaming their kids."

Me: "Do you think that it's about Americans hating Canada?"

Him: "Pphht, no. That's stupid. It's a good message, it's not about Americans hating Canada."

From the 13 year-old's mouth to your ears.
Now, back to Futurama...

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 10, 2004 09:09 PM

DPU: You left off one little word of my comment that made a world of difference to the meaning, Michael. Shame on you.

I was just joking around. Hence the little smiley face. Relax!

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 10, 2004 09:31 PM

"Errrm, no, even my kids, who are also Canadian, understood that the parents in South Park found it easier to blame a different nation rather than accept responsibility for the poor parenting skills...Canadians love the song"

Maybe you could put a word in with the other Canadians and inform them- you know them all, right? I was up there and saw real Canadians, live ones with pulses and everything, and it was discussed in art-house coffeejoints with the future intelligentsia of Canada (no snickering in the back) in sputtering anger, all to our group's gape-jawed wonderment. Your hipsters weren't getting it, which does not auger well.

So I call upon ther god's of Canada O' Colby Cosh, O Paul Wells banish these demons of literalness from your shores! (void where atheist/non-pantheist. Wotan not included)

The second part I hesitate to add in that we intellectual types aren't supposed to spell out certain things. You sneer at me about evil generalizations of you poor poor Canadians but don't seem to get that I was doing the whole thing for yucks. Yes, I think your country needs to eat more red meat, because you certainly lack a little irony in the blood. Or maybe I'm just not as funny as I think I am. No, it must be the first.

I also think the second part of your Canadian
'Irony-off' paragraph was overproduced and unconvincing. You say the Americans in the movie "found it easier to blame a different nation", but I don't think Trey and Matt were going for that angle overtly. They seem to stray into territory that leftists and Canadians find acceptable (Americans being dolts and blaming others) only to immediately veer off into making fun of people who really believe that sort of thing (case in point- Team America). In other words, I think it's double irony. But I suppose that's nitpicking on my part and neither here nor there. But without nitpicking, how would we get all those nits?

"Wonder in that particular problem will show up in a catchy South Park song?"

You know, I don't think they care all that much. I think they only care about Jerry Bruckheimer.

Posted by: James Versluys at December 10, 2004 10:26 PM

Your hipsters weren't getting it, which does not auger well.

Nothing is more fun than annoying the righteous, eh.

Posted by: chuck at December 11, 2004 12:21 AM

"Nothing is more fun than annoying the righteous, eh"

In a way. But in another it's old hat, and the people I was speaking about weren't so much the righteous as the anti-righteous hipster types.

You're right though, it is fun to go after the hipster intellectual types like, well, er, me.
When it's done right, the above-it crowd uses their hip-ness like very sweet chocolate: it's only good in small doses. When it's done wrong (as it most often is and always is with the leftist hipsters) they're the people who can see every cliche' except the ones they have become, as a wit said.

Well, maybe you are right. I suppose that is a kind of righteousness, the idea that they're above it all. Whichever, it's clearly the crowd that needs to be attacked right now for its pretension of being above all the pretensions. So be sure to make ruthless fun of...um, people like me.

Wait. That can't be right.

Posted by: James Versluys at December 11, 2004 12:56 AM

“David Thomson, you wrote:

‘Two heads? I wouldn’t know about that---but we can take it for granted that the vast majority of Bay Area hippies are objectively pro-totalitarian and adore Che Guevera and Mao. These folks readily agree with Michael Moore that the insurgents in Iraq are similar to America’s revolutionary war heroes. They want us to fail in our war against the terrorists.’

Do you not even remotely begin to get the irony of making this comment on a post by Michael that was explicitly about not making vast assumptions and generalizations about people you've never met and are probably a lot more like you thank you think?

I mean, seriously.

Just asking.”

There are some stereotypes which prove to be very accurate. This is one of them. I doubt very much if even ten percent of the Bay Area hippies are not members of the far left. A hippie goes out of their way to dress in a manner which essentially gives the middle finger to the rest of the country.
Rarely, will you find one who has their head on straight. It is similar to seeing someone wearing a Nazi uniform who is not anti-Semitic.

Posted by: David Thomson at December 11, 2004 05:41 AM

MJT: "I was just joking around. Hence the little smiley face. Relax!"

If I were any more relaxed, I'd be falling apart.

:)

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 11, 2004 09:12 AM

Maybe you could put a word in with the other Canadians and inform them- you know them all, right? I was up there and saw real Canadians, live ones with pulses and everything, and it was discussed in art-house coffeejoints with the future intelligentsia of Canada (no snickering in the back) in sputtering anger, all to our group's gape-jawed wonderment. Your hipsters weren't getting it, which does not auger well.

You must have been in Ontario.

You sneer at me about evil generalizations of you poor poor Canadians but don't seem to get that I was doing the whole thing for yucks. Yes, I think your country needs to eat more red meat, because you certainly lack a little irony in the blood.

No no no. I wasn't sneering, I was doing it for yucks. Lighten up already.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 11, 2004 09:16 AM

Wrong guy. Talking to Canuk.

Posted by: James Versluys at December 11, 2004 03:40 PM

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Posted by: Loan at December 16, 2004 05:03 AM

A hippie goes out of their way to dress in a manner which essentially gives the middle finger to the rest of the country.

You know, David, if someone's clothes can offend you on the same level as a person flipping you the bird, I think you have a lot more to worry about than hippies.

Do I grow my hair long because I want to piss off conservatives? Or, is it possibly because my major hobby involves historical reenactment and long hair looks good when I'm whipping someone with 42" of cold steel?

Is my goatee flipping you the bird?

Do my sandals offend you, or perhaps my tie-dyed t-shirt?

What possibly could be wrong with your brain to allow clothing to so severely affect your brain? Do you really not understand that some people like to dress strangely for more reasons that trying to piss you off? I like the clothes I wear because they are comfortable and I like the way I look in them. They're clothes for goddess sake, get a grip.

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45 Prinsslo Street
Johannesburg,
South Africa.
Tell-27-837-621-754

Dear Sir/Madam,

My name is Mr Evans Dedeh,the second son of Mr Lawson Dedeh a former farm owner and a top opposition member in zimbabwe polities.

Please I am actually looking for a person who has got a good experience in hotel management or any lucretive business overseas,because I can not operate here in South Africa due to security reasons.
Also my life and that of my senior brother depends on what I am going to tell you now.

Well, you may wonder how I got to know you. please, do not wonder, because I belive it is the work of God that made to come across your name.

I prayed and asked God to help me to get somebody who could help me in this transaction because this money is actually not mine for now. My father mapped it out for his electioneerimg campaign and for upgrading his farm land before he was killed by the government of Mr Robert mogabe.before he died, he put this money in the basement of our house in a sealed metal box.the amount is{US$17.5}seventeen million five hundrerd thousand united states dollars.

When he was killed,I ran away with my brother together with this money to a friend in South Africa,who helped us to deposit this money in a sucurity company since August last year. So please, Iam kindly asking you to assit us transfer this money out of South Africa into your personal account in your country.

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Best Regards

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