Don Pablo Edronkin

A Brief Pondering On Charity and Service.

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Recently I have seen a report series called "The Great American Giveaway" at CNN's Lou Dobb's daily program.

These various pieces of journalism - in my view - can easily be classified as 'self-serving-Germany-Russia-China-especially-France-bashing.'

Just the name of the series implies a biased attitude; it is indeed the case that the United States has given many good things to the world; it also committed awful mistakes and hurt painfully a lot of people. All countries - and especially those with a lot of influence - experience similar things.

First of all, Mr. Dobbs is wrong in sustaining that the U.S. is just dragging the world with inventions, good intentions and charity; think it over, and just think about Christianity. The Catholic Church, for once, has existed for twenty centuries, while the U.S. is just two hundred years young, and despite it's shortcomings, the Church and all Christian confessions - not to mention other religions - have been speaking about charity, goodness and the values that Mr. Dobbs seems to take as his nation's own many centuries before Columbus crossed the Atlantic.

And what's more: China, Russia, France and Germany are nations much older too. Mr. Dobbs report seems the kind of critics that a ten year old boy could impose on a hundred year old man. With all respect, that's the dimensional difference in time, cultural, political and historical evolution between Mr. Dobbs' country and any of those he attacked. It's all in history books for anyone to read!

These nations have had - literally - all the time in the world to become powers, superpowers, fall into disgrace and decay and rise again. Certainly, they have something to say about wars, invasions and their consequences.

Nevertheless, in the United States it seems that international challenges are confronted now with an ever increasing dose of phobia to what is foreign, and the real issue with France and her closest allies is that the U.S. national ego has been hurt.

Trying to show oneself as the best, the wisest, the most generous and the kindest usually has the opposite result.

Attempting to do so by deriding others not only makes it harder to get help from them in the future, but also is very, very vulgar and irresponsible because solving problems in a complicated world as we have now is difficult enough, but to stupidly start teasing others just to vent one's own frustrations by using news media is the equivalent of throwing gasoline over a fire at the same time that you curse it for burning your home.

This kind of 'reports' show to third party witnesses neither engulfed by hatred against the U.S. nor the fashionable patriotic jingoism now in vogue there, an image not quite unlike that of Radio Moscow during the time of the Soviet Union with some reminiscences of the 'Volkischer Beobachter.'

All this comes from a single fact: these countries said 'NO!' to the United States at the U.N. Security Council regarding the legitimacy of an attack over Iraq.

Peaceful coexistence is not just to be admired and always receive 'YES' as a response to one's desires; real democracy is also the liberty that comes from receiving a 'NO' from time to time.

Democracy and liberty have a higher need for negation than for affirmation, for in the gallant acceptance of disagreement there is proof of understanding of the existence of other people and their needs and opinions, but in the in the relentless acceptation of the second there comes also submission, and such things usually don't last long.

The world couldn't care less for patriotic feelings within the U.S.; foreign nationals would hardly help if the request does not come with a 'please' somewhere and certainly not if they feel insulted, and foreign governments won't help if their nationals don't want to.

What is happening now - with nearly 98% of the world's nations against the United States - is the demonstration that the U.S. does neither rules nor owns the world. In fact, and this is really sad in my opinion this otherwise great nation has become the laughingstock for many, a target of choice for terrorists, and a concern for the intellectually gifted.

The U.S. certainly represents many good things and has a lot of power, but evidence is showing that a limit has been reached because something has been done in a very wrong way, and this has a name: the war on Iraq.

The people of the United States - meritoriously admired for many things but frail and imperfect as anybody else - would do well to remember that goodness, kindness, charity, service, piety are values; they are neither products nor political statements patented by them and thus, are not marketable.


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Helping others is not a matter of international politics.

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