The people of Sarkan do not want Freedom Road to bring economic development; it is difficult to subvert people who live comfortable lives as they have been living. Cheyung, the leader of the revolutionary forces, views American aggression as war mongering, and patriotic nationalism as a fraud democracy for whites only. American forces occupation of the Sarkanese territory is viewed with hostility; Americans are outsiders with no understanding of the Sarkanese culture. The problem started with the Americans attitude toward the Sarkanese culture and lifestyle.
Americans look down on Sarkanese lack of advancement in modern medicine that uses the bamboo to cut the umbilical cord. Sarkanese view the people suffering from starvation as American companies taking resources without investing in the local market so people can have a livelihood and economic activity. The Americans disrespectfully takes pictures during a Sarkanese ceremony. Americans disrespectfully condescend to the Sarkanese for speaking English well, as if they couldn’t intelligently be proficient in the use of language. For example, the American Ambassador Mc White wife was surprised when the children spoke to her in English. Besides not understanding the Sarkanese culture, the Americans do not understand Sarkan.
Sarkan is an old country with a young government. The government is autocratic without needed democratic reforms; people demand the right to elect their leaders. The people demand the infrastructure for hospitals and buildings for education to benefit the people. Above all, there is an anti-US western influence in Southeast Asia. The past as seen through the lens of the film is not too different from the “Ugly American” we see today.
How can we change from the “Ugly” American to the “Beautiful” American? We as Americans must stop telling the rest of the world how to live their lives. We must practice cultural sensitivity towards foreign countries by having an understanding of their culture and language, and leaving behind stereotypes. People of other cultures too want autonomy, respect for sovereignty, basic democratic and economic freedoms. We cannot do it for them, but must help them find their own way.
- Turning Points: Marlon Brando in Last Tango in Paris (blackmanproduction.wordpress.com)
- Book Review: The Ugly American by William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick (thechicagoblock.wordpress.com)
- FOCUS | Noam Chomsky: America Is a Terrified Country (readersupportednews.org)