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Posts Tagged ‘countries’

Instead of “hello”

In about me, ethics, politics, relationship, russian, xenophobia on December 5, 2013 at 12:47

Imagine you ask somebody which country they are from originally (I probably wouldn’t as some people may not want to speak about this or they may feel upset that they accent shows). Imagine you have got some kind of reply. Would you then rushed into saying that oh, yes, you heard about that country,  it’s well known for (pick from the list) evil government,  racism, slavery, crime, bureaucracy,  obesity, poverty, injustice, unemployment, etc?

Similar conversions happened  to me twice last week. People honestly expect to maintain friendly conversation started with these accusations. I do love to criticise my native Russia when appropriate.  But  when strangers are talking to me in this manner it is like being held responsible for all negative news stories or just pure propaganda is completely different. Another thing that drives me mad is when strangers start to treat me as a zoo animal,  discussing my cheekbones, shape of the face or accent.

I thought that after 15 years living abroad I would get used to that. Apparently not. I still feel afraid to talk to stangers.

Union or divorce

In freedom, history, people, politics, relationship on December 2, 2013 at 20:48

Whatever the outcome, it is a sad picture when a country splits apart. On the emotional level, I am happy for Germany, reunited. I am happy that more countries join EU, even if there are some troubles and worries. I am happy for Switzerland which keeps its national unity even if its people speak different languages. It feels like a wedding or a long happy marriage. I am not so happy for Yugoslavia or Russia/Belarus/Ukraine, where most people spoke very similar languages, had similar history but they failed to stay together. Divorce is always a failure – even a civilized one (as long as we treat life long marriage as a positive thing).

When a country splits there are family, friend and business connections torn apart. Customs and visas may creep in, different laws, currencies, different holidays. There often a nasty stench of aggressive nationalism involved.

I think more personal and regional independence but more national (but not ethnically nationalist) unity is the step forward – not multiplying governments, boundaries, checkpoints, and bureaucracy.

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