‘Please don’t hate Americans and don’t persuade others to hate’

Philadelphia, US July 20, 2003 Mr Theodorakis (please excuse my ignorance if I have used an inadequate title), I am a 17-year-old born and living in America, a musician and music lover of all cultures, styles and traditions. I am also, as I believe a decent portion of the world to be, a lover of peace. I read your three statements on your Web page with regard to the «War with Iraq,» as it is known on this side of the ocean, and while I agreed with the vast majority of your statements, I found your underlying sentiments very disturbing. Let it be known that George W. Bush does NOT represent the American population, let it be known that he is seen by myself and many others as a cowboy, a reckless criminal, a murderer and a tyrant. I hate him for at least as many reasons as you do; while I may be more detached from the pain and suffering he wreaks upon Europe, I am not unaware of it and I also hate him for broadcasting a twisted, terrible view of American people across the world. Next year I will be old enough to vote him out of office, for America is in dire need of a regime change. But your words scare me very much, for I see now that Bush is ever more dangerous to people everywhere. I would like to spend my life traveling around the world and studying the music of various cultures. How can I experience the beauty of the world from which I am so sheltered when I must fear for my life because people such as yourself blame all American people? I can hardly say your anger is not justified, but how can I and countless others be held responsible for the criminal actions of a man whom we have never met, influenced or supported? I do not think that it is rational to hate one person for another’s actions. Just as I do not hold the common Israeli responsible when the goverment sends its tanks to murder Palestinian civilians, I do not hold the common Palestinian responsible when groups such as Hamas murder Israeli civilians, and I don’t believe that the common American ought to be hated for the evil actions of another man. I subscribe to Socrates’ philosophy: «I am not an Athenian, nor a Greek, but a citizen of the world.» We must overcome ethnocentricity and simplified categorization, things people all over the world are guilty of regardless of race, creed or color. I am a lover of peace, and I believe peace must be spread, not war; love, not hate. This is why it disturbs me so when I read words of hatred for fellow humans from you, a musician capable of such astounding beauty. Please don’t hate Americans, save Americans, and please don’t use your influence in society to persuade others to hate. Thank you for your time in reading this and I beseech you to consider peace and love as an alternative to biased hatred. Justin Goldner

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