Monday, November 15, 2004

'Apology for Bush win' website is a big hit

'Apology for Bush win' website is a big hit

Thousands of remorseful Americans say sorry to the world for president's victory

South China Morning Post
Monday, November 15, 2005

It started the day after the US presidential election with one student posting a picture of himself on the internet holding up a sign reading: "Sorry world (we tried) - half of America".

Within just a few days, the website, set up by James Zetlen, had 27 million hits, he said.

The site features more than 2,200 pictures of contrite Americans holding up placards expressing their sorrow at the victory of George W. Bush. There are 1,000 more pictures waiting to be posted.

"It was mind-boggling the amount of emotion the website has triggered," said the 20-year-old neuroscience student at the University of Southern California.

Not all the emotional responses have been positive, however. Mr Zetlen's site for rueful Americans has spawned at least eight websites for people who say they are not at all sorry that Mr Bush beat Democratic candidate John Kerry.

Mr Zetlen said the reaction from outside the US has been overwhelmingly positive. "The international community is absolutely mortified at what has happened," he said.

About half of the more than 3,000 e-mails he received came from abroad. The worldwide reaction included responses from Germany, France, Italy, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Chile, Brazil, China and South Korea.

The German daily newspaper Der Spiegel wrote about the website and the French daily newspaper Liberation called the number of penitent people "impressive".

All the pictures share a common theme, asking forgiveness for the re-election of Mr Bush.

"Sorry everybody, the inmates are running the asylum. AGAIN! Please don't hate half of us."

"Dear World. We are so sorry! It makes no sense to us either."

One man's sign reads: "This one of the 55,902,001 Americans that voted against Mr Bush would like to apologise for the 59,422,689 idiots who did."

Several talk of leaving the United States. "We are so sorry that we are moving to your country." One man is holding up an SOS distress call, spelled out in Morse code. Another pictures a toddler wearing a T-shirt saying: "If I could vote, I'd vote against Bush." One picture shows the American eagle with the words: "Sorry everybody."

Some non-Americans have posted supportive photos and messages on the site. Stefan from Germany said: "On behalf of my country I accept your apology. I know you tried hard."

Mr Zetlen said he was surprised at the number of submissions and traffic the site attracted. The University of Southern California had to ask Mr Zetlen to take the site off their server because it was taking up 82 per cent of the traffic.

He now hosts the website privately, which he estimates will cost US$6,000 to US$7,000 a month. He has received almost as much in donations.