Here is a European perspective from an Italian friend, Francesca Pontiggia:
“We are used to a democratic America. In Europe, scenes like those of the other day are rooted in history. It is strange to see a country where the values of freedom, of democracy of altruism are swept away, a European way, not an American way. I don’t know American history enough, but I believe that scenes like this are truly atypical, the fruit of a dramatic moment that is foreign to your tradition. Precisely for this reason they leave us dazed. They are scary. Americans in the collective imagination are the liberators. How can people who sacrificed generations of young people to bring freedom (with consequences that are not always positive, indeed very dramatic), allow such violent events to happen, not only physically but which deeply undermine the democratic sense of a country based on democracy?
“United States of America, a dream, an example for the old Europe that even recently has bloodied its soil in the name of disunity (and I am thinking of the war in former Yugoslavia, for example) and looks at the concept of American union between states as a goal. Seeing the Capitol Hill being attacked is an image, I repeat, from Europe, an image that we try to avoid that presents itself to us precisely from our model of freedom, of union, of democracy: a setback! I don’t know if my thought is correct and my English too…”