Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I miss America

Don't get me wrong, I truly enjoy Tanzania and I hope to stay longer than I initially planned. But with the recent news of bin Laden's death, I can't help but feel a strong sense of American pride. When I first heard the news yesterday, I wasn't sure how to react. I heard news of many Americans celebrating and crowding the streets in excitement. My first instinct was to celebrate because a terrible man will no longer be able to spread the message of terrorism.

But I didn't.

I smiled to myself and tried to learn more about how it happened, and how they could be so sure it was him. More than anything, I wanted to discuss what this means, why everyone is so happy, and what the possible implications would be. I just wanted to talk about with someone.

But I couldn't.

So far it seems that people in Tanzania care more about the royal wedding than the death of bin Laden. Obviously his death does not mark an end to terrorism, but it is symbolic because we are achieving small victories in the fight against terrorism. And yes, there is that underlying excitement of vindication because we finally got the bad guy that caused all the pain and heartache as a result of 9/11.

I'm not sure what emotions to have anymore. I wish I could be back in America to enjoy this moment in the company of others who know what we all experienced. They might share my confusion, or help me sort out all the feelings running through my mind. At the very least, I'm sure they'd be willing to speak openly about everything.

Maybe it is too soon to pass judgment on the reaction of Tanzanians. They often watch news every evening, so it is possible they just hadn't heard anything about it yesterday. Still I wish I could've been in an environment where that was the hot topic.

Instead of sulking because I'm missing all the patriotism and unity back home, I decided to make myself a mix of songs that reflect my love for America. Right now “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue” by Toby Keith and “It's America” by Rodney Atkins top the list.

I can assure you that I never realized how much I love America until I left. It's strange to recognize how much I took for granted.


  1. I miss you! USA all the way :-)

  2. we miss you too! It's pretty crazy on campus. emotions range from fanfare, appreciation, relief, and confusion. We're all still trying to sort it out too :)

    Look forward to reading more about machui and your plans for the upcoming months. keep us posted :)

  3. Sometimes we take the simplest things for granted but I am glad you realize and appreciate what you have.
    Reminds me of when we lived in Germany and used to sing ain't no doubt I love this land ....
    "God Bless the USA"! Now I have been singing that all day!

  4. I feel exactly the same way in Italy. Hearing the news and then not being able to talk to an American was so weird. Italians are joking about it - everyone is saying they're sick of hearing about it, and posting things on facebook like "well, now I can finally bring my shampoo on the airplane!". Definitely a different reaction than back home.

    My consolation: http://fratmusic.com/#!/hot-playlists/freedom-only-way-fuck-yeah-america-playlist/
    Love fratmusic.com.

  5. That's weird that tanzania isn't celebrating really, osama attacked the u.s. embassy there a very long time ago and killed people, actually in dar es salaam. Isn't that where you're staying?
    Hope all is well! Stay safe!

  6. Thanks everyone.

    And yes, al-Qaeda attacked the US embassy in Dar es Salaam back in 1998 using trucks with explosives. They entirely attribute this act to bin Laden, so he's not exactly well-liked in the area. However, you probably won't catch Tanzanians celebrating his death. It's not really their style. Most people here would probably say that he deserved to die, because he did something to intentionally harm others. That is a typical solution out here, but I'll discuss that in a bigger post.

    Something interesting I heard is that many people use 'Osama' as a negative nickname in parenting. They will threaten their child with "I'm going to call you 'Osama' if you continue acting this way!!" I'm not sure how true it is, but I guess that's one way to teach your kids about national/world history.

  7. Wow, I sure as heck am commenting late, late, late as can be on this blog entry. Augh, please accept ALL the apologies!

    Anyways, I experienced very similar emotions several weeks ago. Even though I see myself as the more pacifistic type, I still felt a mighty swell of patriotism, and just an all-around sudden yearning to be back in the states. Alas, I was still in China, where just a few days ago someone told me that I resemble Bin Laden a bit much.

    Living abroad can be fascinating, but it's also definitely no piece of cake, that's for sure. No matter what new and exciting things we're doing, in the end we are still a long ways from home, and that can definitely be a bit trying on the spirit.

    Let me know if you need anything! In the meantime, please enjoy this adorable video that my brother showed me - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM2f0vOxcFc&feature=related