I was reading an early chapter of Howard Zinn's book "A People's History of the United States" when I came across something that stuck in my mind.  It was about how native Americans (called "Indians" in the book) were held to new laws created by the invading Europeans, who thought the native Americans were lawless.

The "Indians" were told that the new punishment for the death of an Englishman was that the offender would be delivered to the English authorities and punished according to English law.  In 1635, Maryland's Indians responded to the governor's demand that they follow English law with the following (I've revised spelling only): 

"It is the manner amongst us Indians, that if any such accident happen, we do redeem the life of a man that is so slain with 100 arms length of beads and since that you are here as strangers, and come into our Country, you should rather conform yourselves to the Customs of our Country, than impose yours upon us..."

And I thought there was an excellent point in that.  "you are here as strangers, and come into our Country, you should rather conform yourselves to the Customs of our Country, than impose yours upon us".

This got me to thinking about myself, and the things I sometimes say about my (relatively new) home in the UK.  I am indeed a stranger here.  I have voluntarily come to live in England, and it would be right to try to fit into life here, instead of fighting it constantly just because I'm from America (where things are sometimes different and/or better).  Perhaps I've been a bit too harsh in some of my criticisms of British life and people over the past year and a half...

Does that mean I'm gonna stop writing about the things I encounter during my time in Great Britain?  Nope.  Am I going to lose my sarcasm or blunt manner of speaking?  Probably not.  I just wanted to mention the quote because I think it's interesting.  It's likely a good thing for everyone to think about - especially when one voluntarily travels to a foreign place.

There's a big difference between being different and being better.
hmm...
01/21/2010 12:07am

insightful.

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