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Below is an editorial I wrote for the University Press 
in January 2005 after the recent tsunami catastrophe.  
It relates to the world's prevalent hatred towards 
Americans and the Western world in general.  

-- peer


No matter where in this world people come from, we all seem to look after ourselves — whether it's our family, our heritage or country — we naturally protect and nurse what's closest to our heart.  However, when we get too much into the self-nursing, the nationalism, the egoism and greed, that's when we lose our perspective on the world and its people — and that's when they, the other people, take notice.

Opposed to what some propaganda outlets in this country want us to believe, it's not our 'freedom' the world hates about us.  Not at all.  People admire and envy freedom.  What they hate is our pompous arrogance; our belief that we are better and worth more than other people — and yes, those people are seeing this.

It's a bit ironic that this tsunami catastrophe should occur on Christmas — the very same day we supposedly should be generous and less greedy.  Even though this disaster has so far claimed 155,000 lives, the US Government has only contributed a fraction of the amount they've spent on the Iraqi invasion.  In relation to gross wealth among each relief contributors, we again find the aid-amount from the US at the bottom.  And it doesn't help much that our Government tries to spin this simple fact, as this again only broadcasts their blatant arrogance for the entire world.  Yes, people in the world do acknowledge this.  They also acknowledge that there were less than 3,000 people killed on 9/11, but two years later approximately 100,000 people have died in the Iraqi invasion.  Are the Americans so much better and worth so much more than other people?

History teaches us that people who embark on war have always perceived themselves as superior — killing is what those who grow too arrogant do.  History also shows that every empire of its time believed they would exist forever — as do we.  That's what happens when we grow too arrogant — we think of ourselves as indestructible in our conquest.

Recent history also shows how efficient propaganda can be used in massaging the criteria of what information should be brought to the people, and what should be left invisible.  An example of the latter is this invisible world catastrophe that goes on every day, before and after this tsunami occurred, a catastrophe called hunger.  As the news-media indulge in Peterson's murder and Jackson's pedophilia, every day 24,000 children silently starve to death.  Although this disturbing catastrophe is currently obscured by our media, it's naive to think it's kept invisible for the rest of the world.  This is also a reason why the world hates us — the most opulent nation in history.

Certainly, something must be done before the world mobilizes and turns completely against us.  But when staggering statistics along with the many international pleas are constantly ignored by our Government, there is certainly no reason to expect that the general public can muster an undertaking of this magnitude.  Although voluntarism is cute, it's not very effective when it comes to alter the course of how we deal with the world.  For this we have to call on our elected representatives.

However, a first step for us all might be to (at least) recognize that world famine exists and is an abnormal occurrence solely created by man, not by nature — and hence can only be rectified by man.

Peer Landa
Stanford's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics