Gregory Kane: Anti-Americanism not just at the World Cup 

For the record, I wasn't the one who hinted that the World Cup official who screwed the United States team out of a victory over Slovenia might be "anti-American."

But I was sure as heck thinking it.

The guy who used the term "anti-American" to describe the official from Mali is actually on the liberal side in his politics. But these days even hard-core liberals can sniff out anti-Americanism when it rears its nasty head.

For those of you unaware of the World Cup controversy, it happened like this: The Americans and the Slovenians were tied 2-2 late in the game. The Americans kicked the ball in from the sidelines and Maurice Edu kicked in what should have been the winning goal. But Malian referee Koman Coulibaly, ignoring the Slovenian players clearly mugging no fewer than three American players, called a foul against Edu, nullifying the goal.

News reports say that FIFA, the international body that governs soccer, has disciplined Coulibaly by not allowing him to officiate any more World Cup games this year. Whether Coulibaly was motivated by anti-Americanism is something only he knows.

But the phenomenon of anti-Americanism is real. And the worst examples of it I've seen in my own country, not abroad.

In fact, the people in the very country I expected to be the most anti-American turned out to have some of the friendliest cusses I've ever met, who seem to love Americans. That would be in Cuba, which I've visited three or four times.

On my first trip, I got involved with two characters who took me to a bar where they swore the movie "The Buena Vista Social Club" was filmed. Then they insisted I go to what they called a "casa familiares" (wink, wink) with a gorgeous, 19-year-old Cuban prostitute.

"Do these guys really want me to do to this sweet young girl what my country has been doing to theirs for roughly 100 years?" I asked myself. Well, they did.

And I didn't.

But no, Cubans, at least the ones I've met, aren't anti-American. But quite a few people on these shores are.

I remember the time in the early 1980s when I attended a forum sponsored by the All African People's Revolutionary Party, an organization founded by Kwame Ture, better known as the Black Power advocate Stokely Carmichael. A group of speakers was on the stage. When one denounced America, I noticed one black guy on the stage with him wildly clapping his hands.

"Who's the seal?" I asked a young woman sitting next to me.

The seal, it turned out, was an immigrant from Grenada, who went into a spiel against "American imperialism" when it was his turn to talk.

"Now that boy was downright seditious," I said to the same woman when he was finished. "And him here on a visa."

Then there are the folks -- native-born American blacks, for the most part -- who can't resist the urge to call their country "The United Snakes of America." There was the one kid in my Johns Hopkins University writing class -- the son of South Asian immigrants -- writing a paper about how any country in Europe is better than America.

I was tempted to tell him not to let the knob on America's metaphorical door hit him in the rear end on his way out.

Those school administrators in Morgan Hill, Calif., who ordered five students who wore T-shirts with American flag emblems to go home on May 5 reached a new low in anti-Americanism. Next to theirs, any anti-Americanism Coulibaly has seems downright refreshing.

Examiner Columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.

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Gregory Kane


Examiner columnist Gregory Kane is an award-winning journalist who lives in Baltimore.

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