A Geography Lesson

Photo Courtesy of Google Images
Photo Courtesy of Google Images

By: Haley Holmes

In light of recent events and media hysteria, it has become clear that many of us require a bit of a geography lesson, because, apparently, people are just too busy to take three seconds out of their lives to Google a map before they begin any heated tirade.

The Boston Marathon bombings that occurred last week were carried out by two young men from Chechnya. Look at that name. Chechnya. Now, where have people ben aiming their aggression? The Czech Republic. See the difference? Chechnya. One word. The Czech Republic. Two words. Chechnya. Czech Republic. How do people confuse the two?

Spelling and pronunciation aside, they are two entirely different places! First of all, the Czech Republic is an actual country. That’s right. Chechnya isn’t even its own country. It’s a part of Russia. The Czech Republic is nestled nicely in the middle of Eastern Europe, just under Germany and Poland. Chechnya is in Russia, between the coasts of the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, just above Georgia (the country) and Azerbaijan. These two places don’t border each other. They are nearly 2000 miles apart! But that distance hasn’t stopped the Czech ambassador from giving a geography lesson just like this.

On April 20, Petr Gandalovic, the Czech ambassador found himself describing to a news crew the difference between the Czech Republic and Chechnya. This is after a slew of anti-Czech sentiments appeared on social media sites like Twitter. Now, why would Gandalovic feel the need to point those differences out? I mean, what did he expect? That we, as Americans, would react to this “terrorist attack” with hostility, unleashing an all-out military assault against a country that we believe (but have no proof) was responsible for our suffering? What could have possibly given him that idea? Oh wait…

In any case, the point stands that CHECHNYA and THE CZECH REPUBLIC are not the same place. The “terrorists” responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing are from Chechnya, and I’m quite sure the Czech Republic would appreciate it if we got that little bit of information correct if and when we choose to redirect our anger over this situation.

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