A tale of 2 Americas, by the way of Turkey, Greece

TURKEY GREEK

I love America. I love the ‘Just do it’ attitude of many of my friends and well wishers. I love the Shenandoah Mountains, Country Roads, and Rafting across the Yampa River for a week with Sierra Club, I love Disney World, Hardy Boys, Universal Studios – islands of adventure, john Muir, the conservation efforts and the capitalism exploits.

One thing that I slowly got used to is what this article so lucidly states, the ignorance to – “The second is the America of coups and occupations, military dictators and CIA plots, economic meddling and contempt for foreign cultures.”

I have had a conversation with a state department diplomat who actually got offended that my Dad mentioned it to her. The reality of the second America.

What’s more – Is the seemingly lackadaisical attitude towards – “Truth”? It used to bother me that people can say anything without actually being held accountable for. They would state something as a matter of fact as if they just spoke the Bhagavad Gita.

Suzy Hansen writes “This may be particularly true of those Americans who came of age in the 1990s as the United States triumphed over the Soviets, its status as a benevolent superpower somehow confirmed. The ugliness of the Cold War was largely forgotten. I remember the Marshall Plan and the Truman Doctrine portrayed in my ’90s-era education as great international acts of charity, of which Turkey had been among the lucky recipients. But when I moved to Istanbul, Turks taught me about the more complicated aspects of the United States’ long relationship with their country: that thousands of U.S. soldiers had occupied Turkish soil in the 1950s, and how, throughout the darkest days of the Cold War, most Turks believed that the United States was manipulating their military and their citizens. I had come expecting Turks to be foreign to me. It turned out we were profoundly, tormentedly, related.”

Well, there is no word that was just created by Suzy – tormentedly. Exactly, that proves my point I guess.

What about Greece?

“It wasn’t just Turkey. After the financial crisis in Greece, I interviewed many intellectuals and other citizens there who offered historical explanations during which they referred — casually, assuming I knew about it — to an American intervention. I’d never heard of it. But it was a pivotal moment in contemporary Greek history: Thousands of Americans arrived in Athens as part of the Truman Doctrine, propping up an authoritarian regime against Greek communists and leftists and demanding that Greeks imitate the American way of life. From the late 1940s to the 1970s, American military personnel, diplomats and spies provided ample support to the Greek government as it tortured and persecuted its citizens. This history, our history, was part of them. I haven’t met any Americans for whom it was part of their identity — most never knew about it. It wasn’t at all part of mine. “

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