America and the two faces of Janus

Wednesday, March 03

By Paloma Doti

Imposing, big, red, white, blue, with 13 bars and 50 stars that represent each state. It is a symbol of greatness, of pride for every American. They hang it in their rooms and wear it on their clothes. We see it flaming in all American movies and series.


In Palestine they burn it.  
In Argentina they burn it.
In Greece they burn it.
In Iraq they burn it.
In Chile they burn it
In the United States they burn it

It is painful and disconcerting for those who swear to give their lives for it to discover this reality. The country that they love so much, that makes them so proud, that American Dream,  is the nightmare of many other countries.

Why shouldn't we be proud of America? It has Hollywood with the best films, Broadway with the best musicals, it is the number one economy , it is the country that inspired the French Revolution, they do scientific and technological research from which everyone benefits, it has a music industry with stars known worldwide, they have the best athletes, they seek and defend democracy and they are cosmopolitan people.

Any foreign kid who grew up watching Disney Channel and Nickelodeon with the long hallways full of lockers and a big american flag in the background, felt the undeniable desire to live in the suburbs somewhere around California, waiting for the yellow school bus to pick them up to go to school and watch football games with cheerleaders. We want what we see, and we see America all the time.However, there is a before and an after in the life of anyone who has grown up influenced by the USA. There is a moment of revelation, in which all that admiration begins to be confused with resentment, fear and envy. They realize that for the United States to be powerful and the economy number one, the country they live in needs to be affected and impoverished. They realize that even in the United States itself the citizens who seem to have a good time, have health and education, are only a few. And admiration turns to disappointment.

They discover that the USA promotes situations such as dictatorships, wars or major economic downturns in the rest of the world, so through these measures they can generate so much panic and shock in the people, that no one complains when their governments take decisions that will forever harm their country and benefit only America.

The United States arrives and puts on a self-designated superhero cape to “” ”save them” ”” from the problem that they themselves generated. Salvation is always measures that lead countries to become impoverished and the United States to enrich itself. They generate big economic downturns that force governments to borrow money from the number one economy, and in order to pay them, they cut funds in education and health, privatize services, pensions, airlines, petroleum, minerals. Which also allows them to install their multinationals in third world countries and extract natural resources for cents, taking everything to North America and ruining the national industry of the other country.

They bomb regions.
"They are terrorists, we must prevent"
They install dictatorships.
"Those who were in power were tyrants dictators, we do it to defend democracy"

And when people recover from the shock, the measures have already been imposed and there is no turning back.

From the outside, America is loved-hated. They want America for the Americans but not America for the outside. Despite being called "ignorant," materialistic”, or "foolish," disappointment does not erase the model and example with which the United States is thought. It is what their countries should be, but it was taken from them. The problem is not the beautiful houses in the suburbs, the famous singers or writers, or the average working class citizen. The United States has a lot to offer to the world, it is an innovative and creative country. However it chooses to show its worst side to the rest.

The United States is like the two faces of Janus to the world:
The first face, a great and powerful flag, with 50 stars that represent each of its states, a symbol of democracy and the contemporary age.
The second one, an imperialist flag, which many feel that must be burned.

The two faces of Janus

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