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Why I don't believe a lot of French or German posters will post on this forum

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posted on Oct, 15 2004 @ 10:09 AM
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If I started a discussion board - somewhat like ATS - where a number of threads accused the Americans of always having been crude bullies and challenged any American poster to come and confess to his or her government's crimes, would you be interested in posting there? Would you feel welcome?

Of course not. You would be justified in A) being furious, B) thinking "sorry, they want me to pay for my government's wrongdoings, I'll pass" and C) thinking "I'm not masochistic enough to go on a board where I'll be ambushed as soon as people know where I'm from."

I believe, sadly, that very few French or Germans - even though a good number of the Internet-versed ones can handle themselves pretty well in English - would want to post on the Politics and scandals and War on terrorism forums. I don't think they'd feel welcome. The way their country has been dragged in the mud - their courage questioned, their honesty as a nation questioned, even the way they smell or what they eat - and the fact that some posters are waiting to sit in judgement as soon as those French and German posters come in... nope, that would be a complete turn-off.

Don't forget that all posters are individuals, and they surf the net for their own pleasure. I sure as hell don't come on ATS to defend my country against accusations by foreigners who would sit in judgement and have me answer for Canada's shortcomings.

Sadly enough, some posters who clamor for the French to come here and "admit their crimes" will probably see the resulting lack of French posters as a proof that the French will never "confess". They forget that A) there is absolutely no reason why a citizen of any country should, as an individual, answer for the "crimes" of its government, and B) you don't attract flies with vinegar.

I have always said it, I'll say it again, I am very uncomfortable with the concept of faulting an entire nation and stripping it of any respect because of that. I believe that every nation in the world, without exception, has earned the right to be respected.

Part of denying ignorance is to dialogue with people of other countries to see what they think. But for that, you have to put your anger aside and accept to be challenged. You may be surprised by what you hear - when a true, open dialogue is achieved, people from other countries will be that more disposed to tell you that no, they're not always proud of their government, or that yes, some part of their social infrastructure is wanting. When a poster asks me earnestly - because he's curious - what I think of my country's health care system, I will answer very honestly, citing the plusses as well as the minuses. But if that poster puts my back to the wall and demands that I confess wrongdoing by my country or my nation, you can be quite certain that I'll be angry enough to lash out.

I don't want to make a big issue out of this, I am not aiming this at any specific poster nor attacking anyone. I'm just saying that denying ignorance is not denying dialogue, and it's certainly not denying tolerance.



posted on Oct, 15 2004 @ 10:15 AM
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"You have voted Otts for the Way Above Top Secret award. You have one more vote left for this month."

Well put, Otts. You have my vote of the month. I'd give you the other one if I could.



posted on Oct, 15 2004 @ 10:34 AM
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You have my vote too. A good point very well made. My girlfriend is French, and wonders why there is so much bad mouthing of the French on here, so this is kind of a personal issue for me even though I'm British. Having made the aquaintence of many French people, I can attest that the French government and their actions are not particularly popular with the people. I also fervently agree that it is ludicrous to judge and vilify a nations people based on the actions of the few in government.



posted on Oct, 15 2004 @ 10:35 AM
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Originally posted by Otts
I believe, sadly, that very few French or Germans - even though a good number of the Internet-versed ones can handle themselves pretty well in English - would want to post on the Politics and scandals and War on terrorism forums. I don't think they'd feel welcome. The way their country has been dragged in the mud - their courage questioned, their honesty as a nation questioned, even the way they smell or what they eat - and the fact that some posters are waiting to sit in judgement as soon as those French and German posters come in... nope, that would be a complete turn-off.


The worst thing about this is that there are moderators here who do exactly that. People who supposedly represent ATS. I think it's disgusting. The relevant moderators here (they know who they are) should be ashamed of themselves and while being stripped of moderation priveleges, should also be forced to make public apologies. Handling this crap internally and all hush hush makes you all look ridiculous.

Point out a moderator here who posts ANYTHING Anti-American. Now I don't think it will be too hard for you to think of a (Super) Moderator who posts anything Anti-French.



posted on Oct, 15 2004 @ 10:40 AM
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An excellent post Otts. All members should read this, it is the heart of what we should aspire to be. Again excellent work.



posted on Oct, 15 2004 @ 10:42 AM
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hi there,

i'm from germany and i think you're right. I don't post often, because I can't express myself right.
Often there are people who simply ignore my posts.
It's somehow frustrating for me, but I'm still loving to read all the theories. This is a great board!

You're also right, that we all live on the same planet, and ignorance or denunciation is the wrong way
to approach into our maybe not so bright future.

In Germany the people doesn't hate americans! They are concerned about the us government leading
the whole world with fear and oppression.

Our gov isn't great, too. I think these representatives of democracy as they call themselves is just a bunch of fat assed morons who do everything what the economy bosses tell them to do.
There are so much scandals and the people here are pissed about the crap our government does.

But is there really a country on this planet where *everything* is good? If it should exist, tell me
I'll move there instantly


regards from southern germany,

l33chy



posted on Oct, 15 2004 @ 11:03 AM
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True, Otts.

I have nothing against criticsm but since several month a reasonable amount of especially Americans love to post threads like "German government was bribed" etc. in connection with Saddam, Iran, NK etc.

Everytime you peek in and ask for proof that your government and not as the news source told us, the companies, took the bribes.
Same thing every week, just in different threads.

You can get the feeling that you are either talking to some not so intelligent people or they just love to ignore questions that could question their point of view.


As French I would never register to this forum. That would be like a Jew registering to an Adolf-Hitler-Fan-Forum



posted on Oct, 15 2004 @ 11:13 AM
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Folks, thank you for the comments and the votes (although I don't quite know what that award is). It's really, really cool to read all that. Especially our two German friends.


And heck no, l33chy, I don't think there is a country where everything is just swell. We all have our problems. My government has been involved, in the last few years, in a big sponsorship scandal where money was given to private companies for projects that didn't happen. And to top it all, at the beginning of the scandal the minister responsible for it was appointed ambassador to Denmark, and it made the headlines in Copenhagen that "Canada is sending us its disgraced ministers!". Yep, sometimes your face tingles with shame when you see how your government is acting...

But the point is... does that make the Canadian nation and its ideals any lesser? Nope. And the same thing can be said about governments all over the world. Did Watergate reflect the American nation's values and ideals? Certainly not.



posted on Oct, 15 2004 @ 11:35 AM
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Otts, you got my vote.
I completely agree. I am from america and I have to hear all the stuff about the french and germans from people I work and fish with. Then you get all that crap about freedom fries and boycott this and that. You know what? I don't give a damn. I will talk to anyone, buy from any country I want and yes I eat french fries
. Nationality does not matter. Even how well they speak my language or I speak thiers. There is always ways to communicate. I actually look up to the French and Germans for standing up to us. I really do not care if they had buisness interest in Iraq, so did we. I will never hold a person's government against an individual of that country.

I have a good friend who immagrated here from France. He was a weapons specialist in the french army. One of the nicest guys I ever met. He supports america. Doesn't support the Iraq war like myself, but loves this country as much as I do.



posted on Oct, 15 2004 @ 12:42 PM
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Add one more vote to that list.

Very true Otts. When I first came here I read the rules and ownership information, and was very pleased to see what looked like an internationally diverse site. It does seem in the last two weeks or so that certain posters are not living up to the respect as agreed to in the TOS in that the general rule of thumb is to attack not just the country but all citizens of that country, which would or at least should include even one such citizen of said country who is a registered member of ATSNN. However I am not charged with moderating, so my perception carries no weight.

The content of a large number of threads and positions within them makes it appear at times that this site has very little international flavour or background though, perhaps that is due to the current political climate, I don't know.



posted on Oct, 15 2004 @ 12:49 PM
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Good post Otts!


I have avoided the Canadian baiting threads on here lately because they were started by members I know who "don't do subtlety".

As a participant in the Campaign 2004 issues forum I have become appalled at the level of "discourse" here at ATS revolving around election issues. If this is any indication of "democracy" in the US then the world is truly in trouble. I've done my share of Bush bashing and I am unapologetic for it. Still it does not reflect my opinion of all members or all US citizens. I do understand subtlety.


Beyond the national patriotism practiced by many members there are also the ideological labels tossed around. Liberal, socialist, anti-capitalist, peacenik etc

I hate labels and I hate when they are thrown about to stifle discussion.



posted on Oct, 15 2004 @ 01:46 PM
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Originally posted by l33chy

Our gov isn't great, too. I think these representatives of democracy as they call themselves is just a bunch of fat assed morons who do everything what the economy bosses tell them to do.
There are so much scandals and the people here are pissed about the crap our government does.


Here is my problem, as one of those Americans that madea thread aout France and Germany's actions esp concerning the oil for food scandal.

I often see Germans and French extremely critical of the United States. Basically, my general (and I understand that individual opinions may differ) impression is that the majority of your fellow ountry men basically HATE the US government. This is usually followed by a list of things the US has done wrong.

My problem stems from the fact that I don't see any of you guys up in arms over your own governments actions, yet I see countless people whining about America. If our places had been switched (the US and Germany/France/Russia) there would have been 100 threads concerning the "evil American government" but when it is you guys it's like it doesn't eist unless you are a conservative American.

I find ths extremely hypocritical, especially when yu see that Americans are often the ones most critical of ourselves. I would like to see that out of you guys too.



posted on Oct, 15 2004 @ 01:57 PM
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Originally posted by American Mad Man

I often see Germans and French extremely critical of the United States.


Where? How often do you visit Germany and France?



Basically, my general (and I understand that individual opinions may differ) impression is that the majority of your fellow ountry men basically HATE the US government.


Well thats your own issue you need to deal with, try not to stereotype on a couple of incidents. That is the kind of attitude that leads to racism.


My problem stems from the fact that I don't see any of you guys up in arms over your own governments actions


You need to broaden your horizons. This board is not a representation of how ANY nation thinks. Look elsewhere, read political forums in other countries.



yet I see countless people whining about America.


Not the WHOLE of America.



I find ths extremely hypocritical, especially when yu see that Americans are often the ones most critical of ourselves.


And other nationalities do too, like I said look elsewhere. This board is populated by a large percentage of Americans.



Edited to add. EXELLENT post Otts.

[edit on 15-10-2004 by Kriz_4]



posted on Oct, 15 2004 @ 02:07 PM
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I tried to give you another vote but it did not let me do it, great post Ott I know the frustration so many people that live in the US from Frances, Germany and Russia most feel like.

Our nation is a nation of no one of many people from different countries and different races, so sad when "Americans" forget from where their ancestors came from.

And then again even Americans that disagree with the active government is also call anti-American and traitors.

Guess what I am puertorrican and I am voting that moron out of the white house.

shame on all.



posted on Oct, 15 2004 @ 02:11 PM
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Originally posted by American Mad ManMy problem stems from the fact that I don't see any of you guys up in arms over your own governments actions, yet I see countless people whining about America.


If a poster were to diss all America or Americans, I'd be the first to tell him or her to not generalize. It doesn't help anything.

About our governments... I've been to France, I've been to the United States, I've been to some countries in Africa. Basically, folks are the same everywhere. They spend most of their time trying to make a life for themselves and find happiness. We all complain about our governments, we all shake our heads in aggravation when our government does something awfully stupid, and we hope that the next election there'll be enough people like us to vote that government out. That's how citizens can express their disapproval in a democracy.

I don't think there are a lot of people who don't wonder in a general way where the leaders of old have gone, the Churchills and De Gaulles and Trudeaus and Adenauers and Roosevelts. And although we shake our heads at what our governments do and do our best to vote them out if they misbehave, the truth is that to Mr. and Mrs. Average it'll take a lot more to rise up.



posted on Oct, 15 2004 @ 02:22 PM
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True, true. I'm compelled to give you a vote too, just for the quality of the idea. So I did.

I'll point out, however, that there are plenty of members from other countries who do actually attack the Americans as accurately as you described. There are fewer of them, but that's not the point at all.

I think the best point to this thread is that even though we have our opinions, which are at times exacerbated by emotion, there is too much mental energy, time, and bandwidth wasted on declaring ones rightness and not enough spent on figuring out a better way.

I think we all are attracted to this site to some degree by the fact that we are distrustful of our governments, and government in general. We should be discussing our national shortcomings openly and thinking of ways to improve, if at all possible.

I think you might just earn TWATS award for this one thread. Good luck, and thanks for the sanity.



posted on Oct, 15 2004 @ 02:22 PM
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Otts,

Good post.

However, I would be remiss in pointing out that while the recent trend seems to be Americans bashing everybody, looking back, there has been plenty headed in both directions. By and large, people have not been afraid to "dish it back" as it were in both directions. But you are right on here



I have always said it, I'll say it again, I am very uncomfortable with the concept of faulting an entire nation and stripping it of any respect because of that. I believe that every nation in the world, without exception, has earned the right to be respected.


I would give you a Way Above award, but cannot, but I will applaud you for an excellent post.

FredT



posted on Oct, 15 2004 @ 02:46 PM
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Well - everyone's already given you thr props for your idea - so I'll simply say ditto


One can flip this argument as well...of course, for the purposes of your post, we would have to assume this was a site with primarily European members...the Americans would certainly be held up to more strigent expectations and would be expected to answer for and be held accoutable to things they have no control over...

On a similar note...I'll never forget my time spent in Germany...For the three years I lived there on a military base, I always got along great with the German youth - I spoke a little and could make my way around without being insulted or held accountable....But when I would come across a senior citizen, I would get this glare...they'd stare at me and my family, and when we passed them they would turn their heads, muter something to their companion, and look back with a menacing reproach...

The explination for why is simply not required...however, I think it shows a certain extra stubborness and resent that even the youth of Germany and other Europeans would agree with me on...the elderly lived through something we can only read about and converse with those around us who went through it now, and many of them in Europe (and all over the world to a lesser extent) still cling to their beliefs that have gone unchanged for decades...

I find it similar to to some people's perception of slavery - that the white race should still be held accountable...

Time changes and so do attitudes and positions...Wasting negative thoughts on something you cannot go back and change is useless...accepting what is here and now is more important and productive...



posted on Oct, 15 2004 @ 04:06 PM
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Good post Otts.
As "international" posters go, I take what you say with more creedence then most. Reason being you're well spoken, respectful, and most importantly not insulting. I can't say the same for some of your counterparts.

For every American member that acts like a jerk, there's an international member that acts like a jerk. For every American member that bases their opinion on incorrect "facts", there's an international member that bases their opinion on incorrect "facts". For every loud and insulting American, there's a loud and insulting international. For every "we saved you in WWII", there's a "you deserved 9/11". All too often this loud minority winds up skewing the opinion of the whole about the nation or region they come from. In my opinion that's the root of the problem, at least on internet message boards.

Another reason (I think) Americans respond the way they do is that you find instances of a discussion about an entirely American domestic issue being interjected with someting to the extent of: "why is this even being discussed, you American's are stupid". After a while you put yourself on the defensive.

I think we all know, and Enron makes this point too, that if this situation were reversed and this were a predominantly European board, the opinions of Americans would be treated the same way.

There are fundamental differences between what most American's believe and most European's believe. Neither side is entirely tolerant of this fact.

Bottom line: Once this damn election is over things will be less devisive!



posted on Oct, 15 2004 @ 04:17 PM
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... and I have a different theory. You see, for the Germans and the French the war in Iraq is not such a hot issue. Why? Because they don't fight it. On the other hand, the US is polarized exactly because of this war and other acts of the Bush administration. Some people need the comfort of knowing that the sacrifice was not in vain, and they willingly swallow whatever the govt feeds them. Other people are quite upset and can live w/o such comfort, and don't trust the govt. Simple as that.

People who live in the US debate this with such fervor because we harbor an illusion that somehow we can influence the events. People from France and Germany don't feel that way.

And, yes, I am Russian



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