Friday, 6 July 2007

Americans

Hmm. Please, dear friend, read this with a smile and don't ask the CIA to send me a poisonous white board marker. I know you love your country so please don't take this personally.
Of course you should celebrate throwing off the tyranny of foreign monarchy. I am a staunch republican (which doesn't mean I have anything in common with the political party of Mr Bush. It is strange that the republicans and democrats oppose each other because the words mean pretty much the same thing.) What I am wondering is when Great Britain will be able to celebrate its independence from the United States.
Amerigo Vespucci went to Central and South America so I wonder why the United States arrogate to themselves the term for their nationality rather than their ‘continentality.’ Canadians are, quite understandably, Canadians first and don't want to be confused with US people. If you ask a Chinese person what they are they will say ‘Chinese’ and not ‘Asian.’ But if you ask them if they are Asian, of course they will agree. Very encouragingly there is an increasing movement among American countries to join together in organisations such as Mercosur and they are certainly feeling their common American identity in the same way as the new members of the European Union are feeling their European identity.
It is wonderful news that the bald eagle is no longer endangered. Since this is the national bird of the US why not use its name? Migizi is the Ojibwe name for this bird. It would seem to be appropriate. Benjamin Franklin said the bald eagle was
... a Bird of bad moral character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.
To be honest, even the name of the country is somewhat arrogant. ‘United States of America’ is not true, since the states of America are not united. When Gilbert Harding was given an immigration form to fill in which asked, ‘Do you intend to subvert the Government of the United States of America?’ he answered, ‘Sole purpose of visit.’ I don't think he would have got away with that remark nowadays. But, since I have no immediate plans to submit myself to the vagaries of the authorities in the country, I think I shall hereby subvert the United States by renaming your homeland Migizia (or The Migizian Federation, if you prefer) and its citizens Migizians. It is a name of which you can be proud. The migizi is a sacred bird to your aboriginal people and you wouldn't need to change most of your logos or coinage. Everyone should be happy; Apart from the shade of Benjamin Franklin.
I hope that I will stay in Indonesia. The life here is a lot less stressful than UK. It is a lot less corrupt and oppressive. I can breathe without fighting the bizarre bureaucracy of megacorporations which control our lives or the huge expense of surviving and avoid sinking in a quagmire of unjustly imposed debt.
I enjoy teaching tremendously. It is great fun.
 (It is interesting that Mr Franklin capitalised his nouns, the same as the Germans do.)
With warm good wishes
Rafiq