Madrid blog-Response to Comments

Angela Jonquera--if you had actually read the previous entry you would have seen that it is prefaced with "you may not necessarily" and, in the comments, I say that my neighbors' behavior is not characteristic of my entire experience living in Spain or interaction with Spanish people, which, on the whole, has been very positive.

I have exactly no idea who you are besides somebody who makes extremely rude and ignorant generalizations about Americans.

"the USA culture and citizens have, historically, shown arrogance, violence and bias against other peoples and cultures, specially those that are not from Anglo-Saxon or western European Aryan origin."

First of all an "American" is most likely a hybrid of many different ethnic and cultural origins... I will not deny that there is and has been racism in the US or that the US has abused its position of power in the past century and more recently. However, with all its failings, of which I am not ignorant, I am very proud of my people and my country. The US is the first modern democratic nation. I am proud of the US participation in WWI and WWII. I am proud of the Marshall plan, and I am proud of my country's scientific, industrial and technological accomplishments, not to mention the fact that the US is still probably one of the easiest places where you can come from nowhere and work and make something of yourself. No, this doesn't happen for everybody, but it's a generally more open, fluid and dynamic society than you depict. If you had ever spent any time in Atlanta, where I am from, you would see a vibrant black middle class and upper middle class.

If America is as racist and xenophobic as you claim, where do you think Obama came from and who do you think voted for him? Do you really think the Spanish would have elected a "negrito" or a "moro mierda"?

Your generalizations and "stfu" are more rude than any comment so far on this blog. If you are Spanish, as your name suggests, before writing in so critical and judgmental a manner about other nations, it might behoove you to visit places like the museum of torture in Toledo and see what kind of treatment was reserved for people who didn't fully accept the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic faith. My knowledge of my own country's history allows me to draw a parallel between the Salem witch hunts and the Inquisition, where a large portion of the denunciations had nothing whatsoever to do with witchcraft or heresy, but were rather motivated by the desire to expropriate one's neighbor's property!

I would read a little more about the Spanish conquest and reign in South America. I would go to the Prado and take a look at some of Goya's paintings or more recently Picasso's Guernica. I would watch Spanish movies like "Goya's Ghosts" and or "El laberinto del fauno." Francisco Franco learned everything he knew about total warfare against the civilian population, with the Spanish army in Morocco, but nobody was the least bit shocked until he came back to Spain and used the same tactics against his own people.

If Spain is such a wonderful family-friendly country as you describe, why is that, until recently, the birth rate was so low here? According to the Spanish mothers I know, this is because its not easy to raise children when you leave the house at 8h30am and come home by 10pm. I am not saying that the US has a better overall record on foreign or domestic policy, but I really would take a look in the mirror before lecturing other people on their short-comings.

I am writing about a negative experience with neighbors in a building of exactly 12 units, where only one couple has bothered to introduce themselves to us in the 8 months we lived in the building, not to mention a family with a girl the exact same age as my daughter; people who have never communicated with us in any civil or courteous fashion but only sent us aggressive litigious notices.

My children have to get up at 7 am to catch their school bus and they don't make much more noise than any other children their age. They just happen to be four children and all the other children in the building are adolescents, with one exception.

I am perfectly willing to make allowances for the culture where I live, but this begins with a certain amount of tolerance for others and civilized dialogue, which is the minimum requirement for living in a communal situation like an apartment building. On the contrary, it is people who are intolerant and unwilling to enter in civilized conversation with their neighbors who ought to seek more isolated living arrangements.

You don't know me, you don't know my children and you don't know my neighbors (or if you do--you might as well come out and say so). The irony is that I am living in Spain by choice because there are many things I really like about this country and I want my children to grow up with the knowledge of a broader world, different languages and people--and not go around like ignorant bigots. I can guarantee you I know more about Spain's history and culture than you do about the US. Thankfully, I have met many lovely Spanish people, so I am not tempted to judge the many, by the actions and communications of a few rude, ignorant and bitter exceptions.


Anonymous said…
Well I see you react as a mother,
and that's dangerous...
People shouldn't mess with mothers (whatever the specie) :D So,I am not going to quarrel with you.

I see you are probably a nice and intelligent couple, your children are noise, the old neighbor a jerk. You maybe didn't react well to the manners of some neighbour complaining, that probably complained in a bad way; and after all, if not for the sue, is not that important.

I hope you solve all this qucikly and in a positive way.

Sorry, if my post bothered you a bit, I have to say that the "stfu" part was not needed really.
But for the rest I only can say that what I said are facts, and even if it bother someone is like that.
The truth hurts as I said...If you feel touched by some facts, I can't do nothing there.

Let's remember that about the "Idola Tribu, Idola Lingua, etc., that said the philosopher..."

I am very aware of all of what you say in your post, many of it is true, only that you see it from your "american" point of view. Others things are not completely exact but...

Judging facts of 5 centuries ago, with the morality and culture of the 21rst century is not far, though...

I've posted some stuff about that in the other article, so im not going ot repeat it here. You can read it there, But i don't want to start a flame.
Sorry if you dont feel confortable with some things that I say. but is the reality.
And, reality hurts. people have very basic feelings many times, but the facts are facts.

" I can guarantee you I know more about Spain's history and culture than you do about the US"

Well... probably not, but is not important, anyway.

I feel the people from the USA get very touchy lately, above all after the events of last years...

Well, I understand it, but you have to understand too that the USA is the militar empire that rules the world nowadays and that many people is not happy and feel theatened by your actions...

You look like nice people so, I am not going to start a flame here with you about nationalisms and all that.

I come from the western world, and I see myself as a moderate and rational person.
I love many things coming from the USA, but I am not going to hide the facts or the truth when it need to be exposed.

Just imagine what someone from Fallujah, or Palestine could say instead of me...

Just, enjoy your stay in Madrid, be happy with your children and best of lucks

Nathalie said…
Angela J,
As you say, the situation with our neighbors is rather personal and not national. That issue only arose because they chose, as one of their legal points, the incompatibility of our "American-ness" with Spanish customs.

I am sorry, your reference on the Idola Tribu is completely lost on me. Feel free to edify.

When it comes to judging culture--like science, it is inevitable to have a reference point. The important thing is to define that reference point and use facts. Facts don't bother me one bit. I vastly prefer them to generalizations. Feel free to tell me exactly which facts were not true in my post.

Bravo, if you are an expert in American history because I am more interested in hearing the tenets of the Monroe doctrine or the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that were abused or not respected. I would probably agree with you. That is more interesting to me than claptrap generalizations like "Americans" meaning US citizens, are an arrogant, racist people."

I can't speak for arrogance, but I'm pretty sure, unfortunately, that ethnic and color-based racism, have and continue to exist in the Caribbean, Central and South America, as well--not just the US.

It's not only US citizens who get touchy. We don't happen to appreciate it when people define our country and its people by the worst abuses of our government. That is as inaccurate and narrow-minded as an American saying "Palestinians are terrorists."

As for the US "ruling the world," you can console yourself that we're probably at the twilight of that era, and you can re-focus your energies on China.

I am generally sorry that you have not met any decent American people or availed yourself of a richer view of our culture--from our literature, music, movies and higher quality entertainment and news programming. If you had, I don't think you'd be tempted to make such sweeping and negative generalizations.

Fiona said…
Nathalie, you give this woman way too much airtime. Not worth it!

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