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Dear N.H.--

Hang in there! Be proud! Walk tall! Many of us have lived in Germany, and, let's face it, it's not the easiest place to live. Still, we've probably all had a lot of great experiences with the people there. As an American, you'll probably be loved in Germany more genuinely than in any other country. At least, I hope that continues to be true. I haven't been there in three years. Have things changed that fast?

I am saddened nevertheless by the conversations you tell about, and I believe you're telling the truth. Currently, it does appear that Germans, who are normally level-headed, are being whipped up into a hysteria. What's most frustrating to me is that no one can identify the causes. It's not you, it's not me, and it's certainly not your stepson. Something is certainly rotten in Duisburg...

As I see it, you have a few avenues you can pursue. First, you can educate yourself, so that you can defend yourself and your beliefs in reasonable conversations. But, pick your battles, and try to avoid obvious lunatics. Vent on the Internet instead. Second, you can sit down with your stepson and explain to him how you feel about America and Germany's long history with her. His teachers in Germany are re-writing history right now. His teachers in the States are doing the same thing, anyway. Be a good parent. Third, make sure everyone in your family learns to love German and speaks it fluently. It's a beautiful language, and the Germans will respect everyone who learns it well. Seek other topics of conversation, and have a good time. You're in the Ruhrgebiet. Go to some soccer games. Just don't root for Bayern. It'll get you killed:-)

Kopf hoch!

Erik

These anecdotes do indicate the existence of anti-americanism in Germany, but they do not help us to see how bad it is, particularly when compared with other european countries. An american could have a similar experience in Britain (without the language difficulties). There *must* be surveys done that nail down the extent of the problem: where are they?

Dear N H,

My experience here in Berlin seems to be exactly the same. I have no ideas and no solutions, all I can try to do is reason. Interestingly enough, I am not even American but it is just expected that I share the same lunatic views as most of the Germans I meet. It seems that wherever two or more Germans gather, there is some kind of competition to come up with the best (read: most offensive) story about the US/Bush. Walking away from such stupidity seems like condoning it so I always have to put in a dissenting voice. I know I won't change any dogmatic opinions but maybe someone in the group will benefit from the fact that not everyone agrees with them.

Incidently, I have been here for nearly two years now and this strange, perverted, view of America, with accompanying antagonism, has been here since I arrived. This is not a new phenomenon and it probably will not change within our lifetime. I wish it would. I wish it would.

Kopf hoch,

Ian

In my experience, both from living in Germany for some years, and as the child of a German immigrant, the Germans are very, very proud of their manners. They are also very proud of their educations, and so it is very difficult indeed to pursuade them that they are incorrect, unless your degree outranks theirs, ie if you can speak as a specialist on the matter.

Therefore, I would suggest that instead of trying to argue with them, simply respond to each anti-american comment with something along the lines of, "My mother taught me it is rude to contradict my host, no matter how much I may disagree." This puts the German in the position of host, which they take quite seriously. You won't change his opinion (which as you've seen won't happen anyway), but at least his behaviour should improve.

First let me say this, I was quite surprised by the amount of interest in my last post regarding my view of anti-Americanism in Germany. I wish to express my thanks to those who have responded. I find it easier to continue with my daily life, when I know that there are others who have had similar experiences.

I have a question for all of you out there. What can we do as a group, to help change this anti-Americanism, that is obviously based on misinformation from the mass media? Does anyone have any ideas how we can combat this in the current political environment? How can we motivate the Expatriots to respond in a united front?

To those Expats from the USA like myself, we are all from the "can do" country, let us put our individual talents together and take the bull by the horns. I think that the blogosphere is a great place to express ourselves and want to thank David for his site and expertise in translating all in English.

I wish to extend an invitation to those European nationals who wish to assist in this matter to join us in setting the record straight. Again, I think David has been doing a great job with his Medienkritik site.

I look forward to your responses.

N. Hale 2003

My experience here in Berlin seems to be exactly the same. I have no ideas and no solutions, all I can try to do is reason. Interestingly enough, I am not even American but it is just expected that I share the same lunatic views as most of the Germans I meet. It seems that wherever two or more Germans gather, there is some kind of competition to come up with the best (read: most offensive) story about the US/Bush. Walking away from such stupidity seems like condoning it so I always have to put in a dissenting voice. I know I won't change any dogmatic opinions but maybe someone in the group will benefit from the fact that not everyone agrees with them.

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http://www.bromastelefono.com/

Hang in there! Be proud! Walk tall! Many of us have lived in Germany, and, let's face it, it's not the easiest place to live. Still, we've probably all had a lot of great experiences with the people there. As an American, you'll probably be loved in Germany more genuinely than in any other country. At least, I hope that continues to be true. I haven't been there in three years. Have things changed that fast?


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http://www.juegos2005.com/

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