So many times this has happened to me. When I introduce myself no one seems to have heard about my country, so I have to remind them by saying Czechoslovakia. And then they finally recognize it, breaking my Czech heart again. The fact that Czechoslovakia has not existed for more than 20 years cannot stop this never-ending torture. Unfortunately, it can even be a lot worse.
This April in Boston there was a terrorist attack. Media all around the world started to cover this hot issue: where were the terrorists from? They announced that the terrorist attack was executed by two citizens from Chechnya. Nevertheless, on Twitter the terrorists became citizens of the Czech Republic. Some twitterers thought Chechnya was its abbreviation.
Moreover, this false piece of information also appeared on the CNN news, where a CIA agent spoke about the terrorists and their connection to the Czech Republic, their ‘home country‘. You might ask how it could happen that such a prestigious channel got it wrong. Truth in fact is that this buzz wasn’t the first case and probably won‘t be the last case of teasing the Czech Republic in public.
The Boston tragedy was a harsh example, but it made a point. Now let’s take a look at the victim. How good, do you think, is a regular Czech at geography? Of course he knows where France, USA and China are situated. But would he know countries such as Burundi, Myanmar or Malawi? As the Czech Republic is located in Central Europe, these countries are quite irrelevant in everyday life, so many people might not know where they are located exactly.
We have to be honest with ourselves – everyone makes mistakes. As the world is becoming smaller, the number of opportunities to embarrass oneself with a lack of knowledge is growing as well. Fortunately, there is a solution. I call it The Global Citizen Project. This project concentrates not only on travelling all around the world, but also on seeking information about daily life in foreign lands, reading articles about other parts of the world and meeting internationals. Even just exploring the world map can widen your point of view.
The world is enormous in comparison to us, but so tiny considering the whole universe. Let’s explore, by all available means, various places on our planet. What about starting with the the Czech Republic?