P. Edronkin

America?



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There is something that all inhabitants of this continent should notice: we are all in America.

And this, which seems a simple truth is really more complicated, because many - if not most - in the United States and Europe will think about USA, but We are in America but not necessarily in that country.

America extends from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego: it is not a country but a continent according to every single bit of sensible proof since the time of Columbus. Who gave the USA copyright titles over 'America', by the way?

True: in the United States, in the European countries and in other parts of the world 'America' means 'The United States,' and other countries of the continent are considered to be something different but surprise: that is as much the case as to pretend that Switzerland is in Africa.

If it is your case: if you think that Canadians, Argentineans and other live somewhere else let me tell you something: it is really offensive for - literally - hundreds of millions of people to suggest that they are not Americans. Some of them may take it in a really personal and nasty way, you know.

People in these countries assume and think that they are also in the American Continent: the differentiation between 'The Americas' is really an artificial contraption used by some because they cannot stand the idea that different people, of assorted ethnical and cultural backgrounds may live in the same place.

This is a definition that comes from some beer-loaded discussion among one-toothed members of the Ku-Klux-Klan. There is no other explanation.

Columbus did not discover the USA, Vespucii did not studied the USA, and even the settlers of the United States were not the first ones in the New World. So, cut the crap: for all its good and bad things the USA has no right to claim the name of the whole continent as its own.

The Organisation of American States (OAS) is not just a club where Alabama, Ohio and the like linger on; it is a collection of all sovereign nations spanning the whole continent. How about that?

What is really then? The pretended mugging of the identity of lots of people based on ignorance of those who claim the name, those who agree on that, and those who intellectually allow it.

Among Europeans a similar thing happens: The European Union is being confused with the continent itself, and as far as I know, Romania, Norway and Switzerland are in Europe as well.

To fight this you don't need expensive armies but just a little education and respect for others. The fact that this 'confusion' is prevalent among citizens of the United States and Europeans at large is proof of the general lack of understanding for other cultures and nations.

If you don't even know their identity and how they like to be called how are you supposed to export democracy and freedom to them? How presumptuous is to pretend to be helping percieved poor and destitute people and not knowing their names, their identities and their aspirations.

For a Peruvian - for example - wants to be called an American not because he likes or dislikes the United States, but because his country is the American continent (and not some stupid notion about one of 'The Americas'); many in Peru, in Bolivia, in Mexico and countries as such descend from ancient cultures that lived in this continent even before the first 'American' (pardon, but 'citizen of the USA' is more correct) ever existed.

Helping them? How can anyone pretend to be helping these people when they are being insulted flatly, from square one with the pretence that they are not inhabitants of what they sense to be their own home?

This is an unequivocal proof of the petulance of many westerners (and I am an Euro - American with double citizenship, by the way) who believe that God or someone else gave then the right to teach others how to live and now, instead of crusades in search of the Holy Grail (well, in the Middle East the USA and its goonies may still believe that they are in the Middle Ages) we have a lot of namby-pamby charitable helpers, assistants, advisors, counselors, teachers, missionaries and such stuff which I absolutely disqualify one by one to do that - otherwise noble - work that they pretend to do unless they start by respecting the cultures that they visit in the first place.

Are you a German citizen by any chance? Well if so, then you would agree with me that it is aggravating to hear 'Nazis' and 'Germans' as interchangeable words, isn't it? Then, something not entirely unlike that happens when people of 'The Americas' are not called 'Americans.' Got it?

And - by the way - 'Americans' are are just a minority among Americans in this continent.

I am disturbed by this fact; I am disturbed by the idea that when I cross the border between the European Community and Norway, I am falling off the map of Europe.

I am disturbed by thinking that one day, some ignorant fanatic among Muslims may think that all 'Americans,' indistinguishable between those living in the Southern Hemisphere and those who invaded Iraq may place a bomb in another truly American country other than the one that now is prisoner of the autocratic and neo-fascist ideology that invaded the Middle East country.

I am bothered by the fact that it seems that people from Canada, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, the Caribbean, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and other countries in the same landmass do not seem to have the right to be called Americans in the eyes of a Dutch cheese maker.

I am bothered that people that threw nuclear bombs and keep huge stockpiles of that stuff while pretend that others should not, are using my identity.

I am bothered by the poverty that is easily seen in many parts of the continent, but the worst thing of all is the loss of an identity, which is applauded everywhere.

I am bothered by this large-scale fraud because it brings to light double-standards as huge as the continent itself.

This can only be confronted with education: don't keep on calling 'Americans' to the citizens of the United States. Every single soul living in the American Continent is an American.

And if you think that this is simply a detail, just think how would you feel if when you depart your home for work tomorrow, everyone else would start calling you with a different name.




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