Friday, April 19, 2013

American Geographical Ignorance: The Czech Republic is not Chechnya

As Americans learned more about Boston Marathon terrorists, a small but vocal group began to voice their demand: Prague must pay.

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The horribly geographically ignorant chorus was such a concern that Petr Gandalovič, the Czech ambassador to the United States, issued a statement
As many I was deeply shocked by the tragedy that occurred in Boston earlier this month. It was a stark reminder of the fact that any of us could be a victim of senseless violence anywhere at any moment.  
As more information on the origin of the alleged perpetrators is coming to light, I am concerned to note in the social media a most unfortunate misunderstanding in this respect. The Czech Republic and Chechnya are two very different entities - the Czech Republic is a Central European country; Chechnya is a part of the Russian Federation.  
As the President of the Czech Republic Miloš Zeman noted in his message to President Obama, the Czech Republic is an active and reliable partner of the United States in the fight against terrorism. We are determined to stand side by side with our allies in this respect, there is no doubt about that.  
Petr Gandalovič Ambassador of the Czech Republic
One is a country in central Europe and the other is an ethnic homeland republic in southern Russia.  Geo-illiteracy: not only does it make one look dumb but makes the whole country stupid as another ambassador has to put out a memo like the Czechs did.  


Dina said...

I just read about that in our local newspaper and came right over to your blog. I see you have your reaction published already.
It is really shocking, the lack of basic geographical knowledge.
Your blog should be required reading in your country.

Catholicgauze said...

Thanks Dina. I recognize that geography isn't *the* most important topic in the world but I do wish people would have a simple/general understanding of the world.