Tony Parsons is a
British Journalist. This appeared in a London newspaper.
by Tony Parsons
I HOPE that the continent of Europe never again needs help from the
United States of America.
I hope that there's never some murderous little tyrant -- another
Hitler, another Milosevic - that Europe needs help in taming.
I hope that there's never some economic catastrophe that requires
American dollars to make it right, as they did at the end of the Second
I hope that the euro experiment works. I hope that all those
peace-loving souls in Belgium, Germany and France can somehow muster an
army to protect themselves.
I hope that the continent I live on never again needs to go cap in hand
to the Americans.
Because if that black day ever comes, I have the feeling that America
might just tell Europe where to go.
On the eve of war, there is a tangible anger in America. But
surprisingly little of it is directed against the Iraqis. It is the
French who are detested.
"This is all about oil," the Brits hear all the time. And Americans
think it is "all about oil" too. The $50billion worth of oil contracts
that France has with Iraq. In American eyes, that is why the French are
so keen to avoid war.
Anti-French feeling in the United Kingdom is never more than a passing
fancy, a jokey bit of "hop-off-you-Frogs" banter. Not in America.
THE cafeteria in the House of Representatives no longer serves French
fries -- chips to you and me, guvnor. Now they sell something called
"freedom fries." That sounds nuts -- and of course it is. But when a
furious Congresswoman presents a "bring home our dead" bill demanding
that the 75,000 American men and boys who died in France during two
world wars be dug up and brought home, you realize that this is more
than "hop-off-you-Frogs" banter.
Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite says, "The remains of our brave
servicemen should be buried in patriotic soil, not in a country that has
turned its back on the US and on the memory of Americans who fought and
That's the difference between the British and the Americans. We do not
feel that the British casualties in two world wars died to liberate the
French. We believe that we were fighting for our nation's survival.
Just like the Russians. It is different for Americans.
Throughout the 20th century, through two world wars and one Cold War,
America gave all the blood and money Europe needed to keep it free.
They feel that the current crisis has proved that Europeans are, when
all is said and done, an ungrateful bunch of Euro bastards who do not
give a flying baguette about the 75,000 American graves in Europe.
Anti-European feeling goes right across the board of public opinion,
even among the millions of Americans who are passionately against
attacking Iraq. America is united in feeling betrayed by Europe.
America is finally starting to understand that -- to Europe's eternal
shame -- there is an opinion that 9/11 was America's comeuppance.
Secretaries and waiters leaping from the top of the burning twin towers?
The fault of American arrogance. A terrified four-year-old girl
cowering at the back of a hijacked plane? Blame it on America's support
for Israel. A stewardess with her throat slit by a carpetcutter? One
in the eye for American imperialism. Those 3,000 dead, murdered on live
television? Europe blames America.
When 9/11 happened, you might have expected to see Palestinians dancing
in the street. But who would have expected the grim look of
satisfaction on the faces of old Europe?
But the British are absolved of Europe's sins. Those who are against
the war admire Britain because we had a peace march where one million
people filled the streets.
Those for the war admire Britain because Tony Blair has been a true
friend to America. And although the man on the M25 might make jibes
about Blair being a "poodle," among American hawks our Prime Minister is
seen as dangerously strong-willed.
THERE is a school of opinion in America that believes the war could have
been over by last Christmas if Tony Blair had not been so keen on
proceeding through the correct diplomatic channels. Nobody calls Tony
Blair a poodle in the USA.
It has been good to be British in America these past few weeks.
For America has been reminded that Britain is the best friend it has in
the world, joined by blood, language, history, instinct and culture.
When will the British wake up from their pathetic little dreams of being
Europeans and realize that we have been looking for our future in all
the wrong places?
Who wants to be European today? Who wants to be an ungrateful,
unprincipled, two-faced, pacifist, Euro-grasping, oil-hungry
No matter what happens over the coming days and weeks, it is true what
they say. The English Channel is far wider than the Atlantic.
You probably missed it in
the news, but there was recently a report that someone in Pakistan had
published in a newspaper an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an
American, any American. So an Australian dentist wrote the following to
let everyone know what an American is, so they would know when they
How to spot an
An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German,
Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Canadian,
Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian,
Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani, or Afghan. An American may also
be a Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, Seminole or one of the
many other tribes known as Native Americans.
An American is
Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there
are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is
that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses. An
American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will
answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to
speak for the government and for God.
An American is
from the most prosperous land in the history of the world. The root of
that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which
recognizes the God given right of each person the pursuit of happiness.
An American is
generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in
the world in their time of need. When Afghanistan was overrun by the
Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to
enable the people to win back their country. As of the morning of
September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor
the best; the best products, the best books, the best music, the best
food, the best athletes. But they also welcome the least.
symbol of America, The Statue of Liberty, welcomes your tired and your
poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest
tossed. These in fact are the people who built America. Some of them
were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11, 2001
earning a better life for their families. I've been told that the World
Trade Center victims were from at least 30 other countries, cultures,
and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the
So you can try to
kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo, and
Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, and every bloodthirsty tyrant in the history
of the world. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself.
Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place.
They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who
holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.