London Indymedia

"Anti-Bushism" hits U.S. expats in London

Dave | 13.11.2003 13:36 | Bush 2003 | Anti-militarism | Globalisation | London

The British abandoned their stiff upper lips and hugged Americans after 9/11. Now much of that goodwill has evaporated and the blame is being laid firmly at the door of George W. Bush.

By Paul Majendie

After the twin tower attacks, a military band broke with tradition and played the American national anthem at the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Less than 18 months later, one million people took to London's streets to protest against the forthcoming war in Iraq.

Now with President Bush heading to these shores next week to see Tony Blair for what should have been a triumphal reunion with his closest ally, the 200,000 Americans living in London are reflecting on how times have changed.

They recall with wonder how the British dropped their innate reserve after the attacks on September 11, 2001.

But now, after wars in Afghanistan and Iraq where British and Americans fought side by side, they face a wave not of anti-Americanism but anti-Bushism.

"It's tougher being an American in London than it used to be. Our President has made it so," said Newsweek Magazine's London correspondent Stryker McGuire.

"Even among friendly Britons, there's a growing scepticism about the gun-toting, electric-chairing land that has let Dubya be Dubya for nigh on three years now."

Christine Swanson, back home after taking the kids on the morning run to school, said: "I am frustrated. As horrible as September 11 was, it was a real opportunity to move forward in a positive way.

"There was a lot of goodwill to tap into and it took the incredible talent of George Bush to piss it all away in two years."

Almost 25 years after she first called London home, Pennsylvania-born Virginia Schultz vividly recalls the days after 9/11. "People were hugging me in the street. I thought the way they reacted then was wonderful."

"Right now there is strong anti-Americanism and I compare it to the Vietnam War. Bush has been targeted as the villain in all of this. I think he is even more unpopular than Nixon was."

The New York Times ' London correspondent Warren Hoge told Reuters: "America is now something of a rogue state, a pariah nation."

"People repeatedly say it isn't Americans we don't like, it is just Bush. He pushes hot buttons. Bush has so much to do with this rather stupendous fall-off in American popularity. It is quite amazing to think where we were the day after September 11 and how much of that goodwill has been squandered."

Film-maker Paul Berczeller, a New Yorker now living in London, agreed: "The groundswell of goodwill has definitely evaporated. It was a real missed opportunity.

"As an American living in Europe, I have tried to explain back home how negatively Americans are viewed in Europe."

Banker Eleanor Hope-Bell felt overt support had subsided. "The motivation to say something to someone in the street or the immediate need to act on your emotions isn't there."

But Anglo-American ties, she argued, are deep-seated. "When you think about World War Two, that will never go away, the brotherhood will never go away."

Virginia Schultz, who has already dodged tragedy twice, is philosophical about changing times.

In New York for a dental appointment, she witnessed the second of the twin towers crumbling.

In London 18 years earlier, she was late for an appointment and thus missed an IRA bomb that killed six people outside Harrods store.

Reflecting on the ebb and flow of anti-Americanism, she concluded: "This happens and you live through it."



Display the following 8 comments

  1. Anti-Bushism is not equivalent to Anti-Americanism — Eugene Debs
  2. Anti-Americanism began long ago — Historian
  3. When?? — Bendeus
  4. well yeah but — kurious
  5. When exactly- another candidate — Furat Al-Samaraie
  6. Socialist Party — Eugene Debs
  7. post 9/11 sympathy is SYMPATHY not allegiance — jabrady
  8. I stand corrected — kurious


South Coast

Other UK IMCs
Bristol/South West
Northern Indymedia

London Topics

Animal Liberation
Climate Chaos
Energy Crisis
Free Spaces
Ocean Defence
Other Press
Public sector cuts
Social Struggles
Terror War
Workers' Movements

London IMC


About | Contact
Mission Statement
Editorial Guidelines
Publish | Help

Search :