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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Manifesto from the Americans in Switzerland

From Jean-Jacques' Citation du Jour:
"Si vous avez l'impression d'être trop petit pour pouvoir changer quelque chose, essayez donc de dormir avec un moustique et vous verrez lequel des deux empêche l'autre de dormir." 
“In case you think you are too small to change anything, try sleeping with a mosquito, and figure out which one is depriving the other of sleep.” 
Tenzin Gyatso, shortened from Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, born Lhamo Dondrub,14th Dalai Lama (1935-)
The American Diaspora is relatively small:  6-7 million Culex Pipiens versus 300 million homelanders.  That is not our only disadvantage - Americans abroad are a very diverse population scattered among the 190+ countries of the world and for the most part we don't ask much of the homeland or publicize our presence outside the U.S.  That's changing as a result of some burning issues that are bringing us all together.   Communicating how we feel about them and getting heard, however, has been a sisyphean task.  Our letters go unanswered by lawmakers and our fellow citizens toggle between hostility and indifference when we try to talk about it.   It's almost impossible to understand the magnitude of the problems and how the situation between Americans abroad and the homeland has degraded until you see the list (the very long list) of grievances.  It's not just about FATCA, my friends.

We were sorely in need of a good "synthèse" - something that brought together the issues, our frustration and feelings, and what we want to have happen next.  Earlier this year a group of American citizens and organization in Switzerland held a series of Town Hall Meetings in five Swiss cities.  The report on The Concerns of Overseas Americans that came out of these gatherings is exactly what we needed.  I read it over carefully and can attest personally to the fact that the major issues they cite are not at all confined to Americans in Switzerland or Europe, but are being experienced by Americans abroad all over the world wherever they live.  I fully support their recommendations which I find both reasonable and relatively modest.  We are hardly asking for the moon here, folks.

This report has already been sent to every member of the U.S. Congress but let's take it one step further.  I strongly encourage everyone to pass it along to other Americans abroad, to friends and family back in the U.S., to every candidate running for office in your U.S. voting district, and to every national and hometown newspaper.  

If enough of us buzz loudly enough perhaps we can keep the homeland humans awake long enough to hear us out.  And if that doesn't work, let's draw some blood and get them scratching...

1 comment:

Tim said...

"Your" Senator Patty Murray of Washington State is trying to bring back Passport Confiscation for tax debts. More on Brock. While Bill Nelson of Florida appears to be the ring leader Patty Murray seems to be the second in command.