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GEORGE Bush is on the brink of invading Iraq - but most Americans have no idea where the country is. A survey revealed that only one in seven aged between 18 and 24 could identify Saddam Hussein's land. And while more than half knew that al-Qaeda and the Taliban were based in Afghanistan, only one in six could find the country on a map.

Even more worrying - one in 10 couldn't pick out America.
Daily Mirror


From Richard Wallace, US Editor, in New York

GEORGE Bush is on the brink of invading Iraq - but most Americans have no idea where the country is.

A survey revealed that only one in seven aged between 18 and 24 could identify Saddam Hussein's land.

And while more than half knew that al-Qaeda and the Taliban were based in Afghanistan, only one in six could find the country on a map.

Even more worrying - one in 10 couldn't pick out America.

When the Daily Mirror carried out a poll of 100 people on the streets of New York yesterday, we found that 80 per cent didn't have a clue where Iraq was.

Yesterday President Bush asked for military support from 60 countries, including Britain, as he prepared for an assault on Baghdad, which he is threatening if Saddam defies a UN resolution to get rid of weapons of mass destruction.

At least 12,000 Americans should know where Iraq is - they are the troops currently massed just over the border in Kuwait.

The poll that highlighted the Americans' ignorance about Iraq - population 22 million, area 260,000 square miles - was carried out by the National Geographic Society.

The Mirror poll was carried out at the self-proclaimed centre of the world - Times Square on Broadway.

New York cop John Riley, mounted on his trusty steed Hoss, studied our map for several minutes, saying: "I've got to get this right."

Then, with his finger hovering over northern Europe, he declared: "I know it's round here somewhere.

"Ah yes, there."

With a firm stab of his finger, he picked Austria as the new Iraq. Hope he's better with an identity parade.

Young couple John and Joan Jubett, from Manhattan, wanted some help.

Waving half-heartedly at South America, John asked: "Is it here somewhere? Or here?" He skimmed across the atlas to China. Finally he settled on northern Italy.

One girl in her twenties, clearly pondering a greater philosophical question, asked: "Is Iraq even in the world."

A burly construction worker barked: "Don't know, don't care, they'll be nothing left of it soon anyway."

There was no messing about from Tracey Shauger, 21, and pal Misty Wright, 20, from Michigan.

Five seconds' consideration and a firm "here", as both agreed Iraq was in the Gobi desert. Wrong - that's in Mongolia.

Drag queens Kristal Snow and Hagatha Christie, from the Lower East Side, were equally sure.

Hagatha hissed: "Oh, that Saddam is such a naughty boy. I know where he lives, it's right here," pointing at Norway. "No, no," said Kristal. "That's where I'm from.

"Iraq is right there."

Er, good morning Vietnam.

Others placed Iraq in France, Germany, Albania, the Caspian Sea, South Africa and Nicaragua.

Many of those who couldn't locate it admitted to feeling ashamed.

Carina Jannetta, 27, said: "I guess I should know. I am interested in foreign policy - I am against any kind of conflict. I know plenty about the issues but I guess my geography isn't what it could be."

Myra Dunlap, 54, admitted: "I can barely find the US. I'm not stupid, I'm just ashamed to admit I'm really bad at geography."

Rochelle Fox, 32, on holiday from California, said: "I know it is in the Middle East. I'm not that stupid, but I just can't quite remember exactly where on the map."

Theresa Livingstone, 32, admitted: "I guess I should know. There's enough about it on the news every day. I know it is close to Iran and Afghanistan, but I just can't find it."

Roberto Rios, 56, said: "I may not know where it is on the map, but that doesn't mean I do not care about the issues involved."

Jay Greany, 40, who also failed the test, admitted: "It's quite embarrassing. I should pay more attention." There were still those who were nearly up to the challenge. Kejli Jensen, 35, from Brooklyn took his time and plumped for Turkey. Close, but no cigar.

Johan Samora, 26, insisted: "I'll get it right next time." And Diana Grullon, 23, said: "I only can't find it because I'm wearing my glasses." Larry Layugan, 47, from Hawaii, said: "I'm not embarrassed that I didn't find it. At least I got the right area of the world."

Josephine Bloomer, 67, pointed at Afghanistan. Then she said: "I was close, but it bothers me that I didn't know."

Those who did get it right were ashamed of their fellow countrymen's performance.

Jordan Stevens, 25, from Brooklyn, was one of the quickest to find Iraq.

Despite the experiences of many of his fellow citizens, he insisted: "Us Americans aren't as dumb as you think we are, you know."

Sean Condron, 33, echoed his sentiments, bragging: "You think us Americans are all bad at geography but I got it. Ha!"

Elise Pritchard, 45, despaired that so many people did not know where Iraq was.

She said: "It's on the TV and in the papers ever day. How can you pay so little attention to what is happening that you don't know that?"

Anne Rothschild, 56, said: "We are totally connected to Iraq right now.

"It's a very scary situation. We need to educate everyone about what is happening.

"But it is in the paper every day, and in magazines and endless TV shows . It's hard to know what else we can do.

"We need to raise awareness of things happening outside the US.

"I guess people just aren't interested enough."

Oliver Wildman, 22, found Iraq instantly. He said: "I'm constantly amazed at how little my friends know about what is happening outside the US. Well, inside it too.

"Not that it stops them mouthing off about it in the bar."

Maggie Miller, 48, said: "When they are talking about a story on the news I want to figure out where it is.

"We Americans as a whole are very insular. We need to understand about the rest of the world."

Eurydice Thomas, 32, from California, said: "I got it but then I do have a masters degree in geography!

"But geography education in America is in a sad state. It needs a lot more attention, especially now with so many conflicts.

"We need to change the way news is reported so that people become more aware of what parts of the world are involved."

Meredith Lissack, 24, said: "It's bad if someone can't find it. People don't have any concept of what's going on in the world right now."

Michael Tolesny, 35, said: "I knew where it wasn't then I narrowed it down."

And Kimberly Wheeler, 24, California, bragged: "Of course I know where it is."

Charles Humpstone, 71, from Vermont, got it straight away, but his daughter Alessandra, 41, did not have a clue.

"Shame on you," he laughed.

One irate pensioner, who had an east European accent, didn't want to get involved.

He said: "I know what you're doing - you're trying to make us out to be stupid.

"If you think you're so clever you tell me the capital of *Belarus.

"Hey? Hey? You don't know, you don't know. I know where Iraq is - I'm just not telling you."

(*For the record, the capital of Belarus is Minsk.)

Americans have always been notoriously insular - just a sixth of them hold passports - and asking them to find anywhere outside the United States on a map is a daunting challenge.

The National Geographic Society survey said that nearly half of American youngsters couldn't pinpoint France or the UK either.

Society president John Fahey asked: "If our young people can't find places on a map and lack awareness of current events, how can they understand the cultural, economic and natural resource issues that confront us?"

Britt Meylan, 32, a sales executive from Texas was in no doubt where to find Iraq.

Grabbing the Mirror's atlas, she immediately pointed it out, correctly identified all the countries on its borders and thrust the book back, demanding: "Anything else?

"And by the way we're going to kick Saddam's butt."

 link to www.mirror.co.uk

homepage: homepage: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnews/page.cfm?objectid=12391626&method=full&siteid=50143

our insulated and passive youth 23.Nov.2002 13:48


Worse yet, a majority of our young (and not so young) are either in passive support of the war (and recent Pax Americana Developments) or don't care either way.

Like many americans they are distracted and blinded by this haze of media and lies. In this foggy insulation of light, sound and images they see the world through a very distored lense where beauty, energy, value and the sacred are moved, shaked, destroyed or born on a monitor or magazine -all other things outside that box be damned. All of these they see are supported on a great pillar of a Lie that we call history that is born in rome and teeters skyward beyond the 1900's and into this new and promising millenium.

But they are waking up if slowly. By the time the draft comes back many will be quite angry but still more will be 'doing their god given duty' to 'protect' this country -playstation style.

We must turn to the young and passive and then turn up the heat before the 'grinch who stole the constitution' gets to them.

Our Schools are Dumbing Us Down 23.Nov.2002 14:56

GRINGO STARS gringo_stars@attbi.com

The U.S.'s literacy is the lowest rate it has EVER been. The highest literacy rate was shortly BEFORE complusory schooling came into being. As a population, the U.S. has been made stupid, dependant on authority, and scared to work for themselves: perfect soldiers and factory workers.
Check out GOOD REASONS TO DROP OUT OF SCHOOL AND DROP OUT OF COLLEGE - I posted it a few days ago:

Our Schools are Dumbing Us Down
Our Schools are Dumbing Us Down

The schools are our problem 23.Nov.2002 23:24

The Soft-Handed Idol

The schools are our problem, it is true, along with a compliant/complicit media.

I find it truly staggering that Americans in general can see that their schools are in total collapse, yet they continue to buy the lies of their 'elected' officials year after year about how they have a PLAN to repair education.

Is it not abundantly clear that the collapse of public education in this nation is NOT AN ACCIDENT???? It is the result of a carefully crafted plan that began in earnest many many years ago.

Apparently the various 'masters' of our destiny know that there is no employment future for most of america's children, especially the ever-growing ranks of the poor, so there is no reason to educate them for one.

What's worse, people like George Bush(es), don't want the coming generations to know anything about their world, or justice in it, so they won't resist the power and abuse that they have and are increasing.

When the so-called most free people on earth are beaten down in this manner by their own government and 'leaders', just imagine what kind of chance the poor people of the world have unless we act with every ounce of strength we have to change the status quo.

Ignorant americans 19.Feb.2008 13:20

Tonio Rosenblun

I read your article with interest. But no surprise. The whole system is prepared to keep them as ignorant as possible. The principle was enunciated by Julius Caesar almost two millenia ago: To the People Bread and Circus!!!
(in USA food is heavily subsidized and TV is their lifeline. That way, the oligarchy does whatever they want to keep
the 'establishment' in good health. And it is very interesting to review their history from this perspective. Totally different conclusions than the 'official' version. When you consider the fact that more or less the same group of interests is behind big oil, big pharma, chemical industries, manufacturing of weapons (including biological and chemical) and, very important, mas communication media you have the perfect system! As a recent book called it, the real name of the system is CORPORATOCRACY.