Thursday, July 08, 2004

Anti-Americanism in Ireland

I haven't written much lately. No good reason.

Part of my problem is that over the weekend there was quite a bit on the radio and in the papers about anti-Americanism and whether it exists in Ireland, what it is, etc. I've been thinking about this on and off for 3 years now, have written about it and still it's hard to pin down. This past weekend has only started me off obsessing about this topic again.

When I re-read my Jan '03 article from the Irish Voice, I don' think I've actually nailed it, but when I try to pin-point what's not quite right, I'm unsure. Defining anti-Americanism is not that easy.

This weekend Niall Stanage provided some food for thought by way of comments from various people. I think each of these comments does add something to the discussion.

One thing that's definitely true is that anti-Americanism is not like racism or anti-Semitism. Individual Americans have nothing to fear in Ireland. Nobody is actually targeting Americans for physical or even verbal abuse. Americans will be treated at least as well here as in the US. In other words, if you're an obnoxious so and so, nobody wants you in New York, Miami or Peoria. Same goes for Dublin or Limerick. If you're polite and pleasant people will fall over you here.

There are real dangers for Americans here, particularly in the cities, but these dangers are generally greater in any US city.

I actually don't think a blog is the right place to tackle this topic, but I'll try and hit a few points over the next few days. Maybe I should write a book.