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Location: Austin, Texas, United States

I'm a software engineer / partner working for a young company in Austin, Texas, USA. I spend most of my free time hanging out with friends and family, eating out, and partying in the Warehouse District. I should spend more time working on my house....

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Based on a true story

Raj returns to India for the first time in over three years. His two brothers weddings were a spectacle, and he as very happy to have been able to attend. He enjoyed seeing his parents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles. Even though they constantly pestered him about why he wasn't married yet.

Many of his younger cousins asked about living in America. "Is it as great as we have heard? As wonderful as in the movies?" they ask.

"Yes and No" he tells them. " The opportunities and ideals of the country are great. Americans are filled with high expectations for their government and culture. They expect to lead the world, to be the best, brightest, hardest working, wealthiest, most powerful, benevolent nation in the world. The people are as good as you will find anywhere. Honest, hard working, interested in learning and adapting in changing world."

"At the same time these expectations, these beliefs, have made many of them blind to the mistakes and failures of their government." He said with a pause.

"America would never accept torture! That was a few bad apples" They say despite the evidence of widespread abuse and official administration sanction.

"America wouldn't attack with out absolute proof. They just hid it well, we'll find it." they argue even though no WMD was ever found, and they have officially stopped looking.

"We only kill militants and terrorists!" they protest, but war is Hell, and bullets don't check for ID. Their government won't do estimates because they are afraid of what the public might say to 15,000 dead innocent Iraqis.

"It is a great country" Raj explains, weighing his words "but they too easily ignore criticism and concern as envy or hatred. Believing the evidence would destroy their faith."


Raj boards the third and final leg of his trip back to the US. He is almost home. America is home now. He has his green card, he hopes to become a citizen. He dreams of the possibility that he could help change some of the problems he sees. He can work to make this country better.

He sits next to an American woman on this final flight. For the first time in over a month he hears a thick American accent. They strike up a conversion and, as is often the case in these times, the topic turns to politics. Raj mentions his concerns about the War on Terror, the way the government deals with "combatants" and invasions in civil liberties. The woman gets anxious and angry.

"Why do you hate America?" she asks, an indignant look on her face.

Raj ignores her question and changes the topic, but in his mind he answers in the only way he can. "I don't hate America! I love America! But I despise people like you. You are destroying everything that makes America great."


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