AMERIŠKI DAN NA
Obiskala sta nas Al Fisher in Monika Žagar, ki sta več let živela
med Minesoto in Slovenijo, kjer sedaj živita.
Ameriški dan na OŠ Center
V petek, 29. 1. 2016, smo imeli na šoli imeniten dogodek. Obiskala sta nas Al Fisher in
Monika Žagar, ki sta več let živela med Minesoto in Slovenijo, kjer sedaj živita. Najraje sta na
Obali, včasih sta v Ljubljani, pogosto pa tudi na Dolenjskem.
Ga. Žagarjeva je svojo kariero univerzitetne predavateljice za skandinavske jezike in kulturo
naredila v Minesoti, a je z možem in hčerko redno obiskovala Slovenijo, zato jih naš način
življenja in razmišljanja ni presenetil.
Na našo šolo sta prišla zato, da bi učencem 7., 8.
in 9. razreda predstavila ameriški način
življenja. Učenci, ki so sicer zelo zgovorni, so
bili nenavadno tihi – le redki so se opogumili in
postavili vprašanje, na katero sta predavatelja z
veseljem odgovorila. Največ sta povedala o
ameriškem šolskem sistemu, prehranjevalnih
navadah, orožju pa tudi o kulturi ameriških
staroselcev, saj je g. Fisher tudi malce
Po zadnjem predavanju smo g. Fisherja prosili še za kratek pogovor v šolski knjižnici.
When did you come to Slovenia?
Mr Fisher: I came to Yugoslavia in 1972. Then I stayed for only a few months. I started a
tour of Europe, which lasted a year and a half. I spent six months touring the Adriatic from
Rijeka to Albania and spent three months skiing in Bohinj. I made friends with people who
are still my friends and one of them eventually became my wife.
When did you and your wife meet?
Mr Fisher: We met here in 1972. A year later I decided to go back to America because I ran
out of money. I gave myself a going away party, I invited all my friends, and she was one of
them. I would love to stay longer but I had to go. It took us 5 years of international
relationship. She wouldn't move to the States so I moved to Yugoslavia. And we got married.
Was her English good when you met her?
Mr Fisher: Yes. My wife speaks seven languages and reads two more. She's got excellent
language facilities. I used to speak French when I lived in Algeria but I thought it was hard.
When I came to Slovenia, I realized what difficult language is.
What did you do for living?
Mr Fisher: I was a computer operator, then a computer programmer, I became an assistant
analyst, an assistant designer, then became a project manager and then a professional project
manager - I managed large projects around the world developing computer systems.
Do you prefer Apple or Microsoft?
Mr Fisher: I'm a total Apple bigot. I hate Microsoft.
What did you study?
Mr Fisher: Back then, I was working nights and trying to go to college during the day. I
wanted to become an engineer of some sort – maths or electronics. They didn't teach
computers in 1960's. After two years I went to trade school - it was an IBM school for
programmers. I mostly learned on the job. I never got a university degree. By the time
universities offered a programme that would lead to a degree I had already started my own
company doing system development under contract for companies. Extensive experiences I
had were really more important in those days than a degree.
What were your thoughts on Yugoslavia when you came here?
Mr Fisher: I was scared to come to Yugoslavia. It was behind the iron curtain and it was a
communist country, I have a friend who was working here though – I was working in Algeria
and I was finishing my contract so I was going to begin travelling. He said, “I’ll meet you in
Vienna and I will escort you to Yugoslavia.” So we came down from Vienna.
Did you know anything about Yugoslavia before you came?
Mr Fisher: Yes, a little bit because I’ve been always interested in politics and Yugoslavia
was politically important on the world's stage At the time it was Russia and America with
their proxies everywhere. Tito with his nonalignment movement was the third option for
many countries. So I knew about it politically but almost nothing geographically.
What about Slovenia? Had you ever heard about it before you came?
Mr Fisher: No. I had been in Yugoslavia for a while before I became aware of Slovenia. I
was in Slovenia but for me it was just Yugoslavia. Then one night we went to a presentation
at the opera house in Ljubljana and at one point one of the young guys came on the stage and
started saying, “Free Slovenia! Independent Slovenia!” The other guys tried to pull him off
the stage. We knew those people. It was interesting education. By the time, I didn't speak any
language either and everything had to be translated to me.
Do you think it is better for Slovenia to be independent than to be a part of Yugoslavia?
Mr Fisher: I'd like to say yes because I have a very negative opinion of Serbian politics. I
really hated the way it made war on the other republics of former Yugoslavia.
However it does make it difficult being such a small country And I think Slovenia has now
lived up the potential it had between 1991-95. At the time it looked to be the star of all
emerging countries but it's been really undermined by corruption and I’m really sorry to see it.
Moreover, I’m sorry to see the country selling off a lot of its major assets. I do like your
current government. I think it's doing a great job.
What about your political stands about the USA?
Mr Fisher: I'm a very liberal progressive type of person. In a two party system, the only
choice I have is the Democratic Party. For years I registered »independent« but I started
getting upset I couldn’t vote in primaries and then I registered »democrat«. I think the USA is
in big trouble politically. The last couple of elections the popular vote has been for the person
who didn't become president. Al Gore got more votes in popular election than G.W. Bush.
However, the way our president is selected is mechanism where states get certain number of
votes. Republicans has manipulated the system in their favour and I think the USA really
needs a reform. Now I am a strong supporter of Bernie Sanders. I supported Obama when he
was running but unfortunately, he came in the middle of economic crisis He surrounded
himself with people from finance industry to advise him what to do. What they ended up
doing was socialising the losses of the banks. So we the taxpayers gave all the money to the
banks to save them and we let millions of people lose their homes If we had given the same
money to people who had mortgages to pay they could have paid the banks their mortgage
payments and saved the banks indirectly that way. Obama never went to the people for help.
When he was passing his health care bill, he made deals with insurance companies and
pharmaceutical companies not to oppose this bill. It totally disillusioned me about Obama
from then on. I believe B. Sanders would be different.
What about gun laws in the USA?
Mr Fisher: There needs to be reasonable gun laws in the USA. There is no need why a
civilian person should own a semi-automatic or automatic weapon. There is no other purpose
than to kill people. There should be the same kind of restrictions as on owing a car – you can't
buy or drive a car without proving some skills. Laws should be passed but the gun industry,
which is huge, resists. Each time there is a mass slaying the gun sales go up. The industry
refuses certain technology to be developed (traceable bullets, gun operated by fingerprints).
We ought to do sensible things to reduce the number of people killed accidently or on purpose
in the USA.
What are the requirements when somebody is buying a gun? Is there any paper work?
Mr Fisher: You go to a store and buy a gun. Usually there is a three day waiting period to do
some background checking on the person who has purchased the gun. Moreover, you can buy
weapon online without any background check. The same happens at gun fairs.
When I was 18 I knew a guy who needed some money so he decided to sell his Magnum 357
pistol. I bought it for 85 dollars and the next day I went to the police station to register it.
They laughed at me.
How often do you go back to the USA?
Mr Fisher: I typically go back once a year for a short trip. My daughter is at university there
so we usually go for spring break. Last year we went to the Great Canyon.
I heard you really like travelling.
Mr Fisher: Yes. I have not been to South America. It sounds crazy, doesn't it? I have not
been to Mainland China although I had great plans to do that. I lived in Hong Kong for three
years. We were going to travel by Trans Siberian Express to come back to Europe but
Tiananmen massacre happened a month before I was supposed to travel. It was in 1989. I
would be welcomed in China because they wanted to show that everything was perfectly
normal for tourists to come. I refused to be used as a part of propaganda so I didn't travel to
China. I’ve travelled to Philippines, to Thailand, to Borneo, to the New Zealand. I haven't
been to Australia yes. I lived in Algeria, travelled to Sahara Desert, went to Morocco, to
Canary Islands, over to Tunisia. I haven't been to Egypt
Which country did you like the most?
Mr Fisher: Slovenia! There were things to like about other countries: Algerian
Mediterranean coast is probably the most beautiful coastline I've ever seen. However, Algeria
has become a place you can't visit any more. Paris for example is my favourite city, I love
walking streets of Paris,
During the lecture, you mentioned some bad experiences being taken for a Bosnian.
How did you respond?
Mr Fisher: Most of the time I ignore that. The attitude immediately changes when I say,
“Excuse me, may we speak English?” Everybody becomes very nice. I think it's terrible
because I know some Bosnians and they are great people. It's very unfortunate they are treated
as third class citizens by a lot of people here.
Are the people nicer here or in the USA?
Mr Fisher: It depends on a region. People on the west coast are really nice, People in New
York are known to be rude. People in the south seem to be nice to you but don't turn your
back on them. Here another strange thing often happens: if I meet a person I know and he is
with somebody we start talking but I am never introduced. People here don't think to include
you in their circle - they include you in their relationship but their friend is not your friend. It
bogles my mind. In general, people are friendly if they know I am American.
Thank you very much for the interview. Hope to meet again.
Z g. Alom Fisherjem so se pogovarjali
Eva Hočevar, Gašper Turk, Andraž Pavlin in Luka Kramarič.
Fotografije: Manca Furlan in foto krožek OŠ Center
Novo mesto, februar 2016