Why Do People Hate America?
Merryl Wyn Davies
American corporations and popular culture affect the lives and infect the indigenous cultures of millions around the world. The foreign policy of the US government, backed by its military strength, has unprecedented global influence now that the USA is the world’s only superpower—its first ‘hyperpower’.
America also exports its value systems, defining what it means to be civilized, rational, developed and democratic—indeed, what it is to be human. Meanwhile, the US itself is impervious to outside influence, and if most Americans think of the rest of the world at all, it is in terms of deeply ingrained cultural stereotypes.
Many people do hate America, in the Middle East and the developing countries as well as in Europe. Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies consider this hatred in the context of America’s own perception of itself, and provide an important contribution to a debate which needs to be addressed by people of all nations, cultures, religions and political persuasions.
“Contains valuable information and insights that we should know, over here, for our own good, and the world’s”
“Packed with tightly argued points.”
- Times Higher Education Supplement
“Original and thought-provoking.”
Ziauddin Sardar is a writer, broadcaster and cultural critic. His numerous books include Postmodernism and the Other (1998), Orientalism (1999) and The A to Z of Postmodern Life (2002). He has also written a series of highly successful illustrated guides in the Introducing series, including Islam, Mathematics, Chaos, Media Studies, Science and the international best-seller, Cultural Studies. He is known widely for his regular contributions to the New Statesman and national and international newspapers and magazines.
Merryl Wyn Davies is a writer and anthropologist. A former television producer who worked for BBC religious programmes, she is the author of a number of books, including the highly-acclaimed Knowing One Another: Shaping an Islamic Anthropology (1988), and is co-author of Distorted Imagination: Lessons from the Rushdie Affair (1990) and Barbaric Others: A Manifesto on Western Racism (1993). Her most recent books are Darwin and Fundamentalism (2000) and Introducing Anthropology (2002). Forever Welsh, she lives and works in Merthyr Tydfil.
In April 2002, Britain’s veteran Middle East correspondent, Robert Fisk, made a lecture tour of America. An outspoken critic of US Middle East policy, he chose a talk with the deliberately provocative title: ‘September 11: ask who did it, but for heaven’s sake don’t ask why.’ And for the first time in a decade of giving such lectures, he was shocked to encounter packed audiences who expressed an ‘extraordinary new American refusal to go along with the official line, the growing, angry awareness among Americans that they were being lied to and deceived’.1 Never before, he reports, had he been asked by Americans, ‘How can we make our press report the Middle East fairly?’, or – much more disturbingly – ‘How can we make our government reflect our views?’ And then there was the retired US naval officer who recounted his personal experience from the 1973 Middle East war before reflecting on Israel’s 2002 invasion of Palestinian Authority territory: ‘When I see on television our planes and our tanks used to attack Palestinians, I can understand why people hate Americans.’
We focus on the question – ‘Why do people hate America?’ – as a question, not as a statement. We examine its terms of reference and take it as an honest, earnest and impassioned demand that recognizes a communication gap, an information deficit..."
©2002 Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies
Published in Pakistan by agreement with Icon Books