A few years back, I was travelling through the Philadelphia airport and one of the immigration officers checking my passport asked me this: “Burk.. Burki… is that a country? How do you pronounce that?”.
I immediately started smiling at the bad joke before realised it wasn’t one; this was a serious question. The officer went on: “I’ve never seen this passport. Is that a country?”
The first thing that went through my mind was “Wow. You’ve got some serious interview skills to share! How did you get this job checking passports at a major international US airport without being aware of geography?!”.
Part of me really felt like fueling that ignorance train he was riding by responding:
“No, it’s the latest planet in a galaxy parallel to the solar system. Haven’t you heard of the Tshwane Trek Mission? Hi, I’m from planet Mossi, I was on the first intergalactic flight to your planet.” – with my most serious face on.
But I’m a bad liar; and it suddenly occurred to me that I was literally considered an “alien” on US soil so I had to behave like one – whatever that meant. I therefore answered the question. Seriously.
This whole experience got me wondering how safe we really were despite all the security checkpoints, if an immigration agent couldn’t tell a real country from one someone would have made up. I agree, it’s not a very popular country, but if you had a minimum knowledge of geography, you would have heard of a name like Burkina Faso and remembered it for its uniqueness… (or is that just me?).
You want to make “America Great Again”?
This one goes out to my North American friends. The ones who live in countries with states and whose own geography is so complex it makes other countries in the world seem so… unimportant. Especially when you’re one of the losers who never gets invited to the G8 fratboy parties.
If you are North American and are still reading at this point, chances are you are not the kind of individual I am talking about but you can probably do something about it (please share this and help the fight against basic ignorance).
No, I’m referring to the kind of individuals whose actual existence never ceases to surprise me in this day and age when the internet is more than a thing and information is available at your fingertips; those who seem to believe the American continent is the only place with countries and the rest of the world is basically a couple of continents in outer space *.
My two cents (and probably just common sense): a good first step to making America “great again” would be to get your education straight. It seems some (many) of you are in dire need to develop your curiosity!
” Wealth, if you use it, comes to an end; learning, if you use it, increases.” – Swahili proverb
I hate to break it to you like this but that quasi-voluntary ignorance plague is all over you. Do yourself a favor: shake that self-centeredness off and eat more mind food. Get to know yourself and your neighbors. By this, I don’t mean know them superficially by judging them because you’ve witnessed some strange event that no one (including the said neighbors) has ever witnessed before – no double entendre. Get a basic understanding of the world around you, literally and figuratively.
On that point, I’ve got more breaking news for you:
“My friends, the country you call Africa does not exist.”
Yup, it’s a myth. You’ve been punked!
As a matter or fact, have you ever met anyone who has been there? If you’ve have then I bet you’ve met a few people who have been to Mars.
By the way, if you thought that there was a language called African, that too was part of the reality show script.
Now be mad at your school curriculum, at your politicians, at your news networks, at your parents and teachers, at yourself for not checking your facts. I’m just telling it like it is…
The truth, the real truth, and nothing but the truth
(or at least the most accepted theory).
Africa, the real one I come from, was actually first named that way by the Romans after they won a battle in a place called Carthage.
Carthage is located in a Country known today as Tunisia. In Tunisia, there were people that the Romans called the Afri. So they just decided to call the land they just took over “the land of the Afri”, which when translated in the Roman language is “Africa”.
Centuries later, there is a Continent called Africa which includes the land of the Afri. And although there are currently 54 (or so) recognized states in Africa, it still remains a rich and diverse continent with thousands of languages and dialects and cultural groups, not a country. And it will stay so until one day perhaps, the United States of Africa are declared a country.
If you got lost in Carthage, let’s make it a piece of cake
A country is defined as a nation (a.k.a a group of people having something in common like their culture) with its own government, which occupies a particular territory – that’s essentially the result of politics.
A continent is one of a number of very large land masses on Earth – that’s mostly the work of geography.
The limits of a continent are defined by a group of scientists and experts that decide what countries are going to be part of the continent. The result of the work of those scientists is basically what you get from the collision of history, politics and geography: your world map.
Right now, the world has 7 continents that host about 196 countries. Yes, that’s right: 196. The United States is only one of them.
To sum it up, imagine you have a bunch of strawberries (your countries) and you make a pie with them (the world). Then you divide your pie in seven pieces (you get to be the expert). Each slice of strawberry pie is a continent with strawberry countries in it. Get it now? – if you’re lost, go bake a pie and test this.
“Hello Earth, this is Africa: the continent.”
If you remember nothing from all this lesson, take this one thing with you: Knowledge is power and a tree is only as strong as its roots.
A great read I would recommend:
*Exceptions: The existence (and well being) of some may suddenly appear to matter much more if and when they start sweating crude oil. This is especially true if that oil is so packed in their system they don’t need to break a sweat for it to come out of their pores. In fact, at that point everyone realises you need to adopt that “manipulatocracy” you never knew you needed.- but that’s another topic.
**Disclaimer: This is not meant to be a generalization of any kind. Let’s just admit that some people need to be informed. If you know someone who could use these major details, please help the fight against ignorance and spread the word!