Friday, April 21, 2006

Ignorance on all fronts. 4th power HAS a power.

Once at the post office one of my workmates said about another one: "No, she's not from Poland. She is from Chechoslovakia"! Speechless. What the...?! First I thought that Chech Republic in Norwegian is Tsjekkoslovakia as he had said and it was my knowledge of geographical and administrative names that left a lot to be desired. Well, my Norwegian is good enough to know what countries are my neigbours! After I had shaked off the shock I forced myself not to invest what had just happened with any significance. But I couldn't stop being astonished by the ignorance of people. The only way to recover from this mental stroke of lightning was to think: ok, a postman does not have to know all european countries. Not only it wasn't a big help but I felt guilty for what I had thought as well. It wasn't fair. But these pricks of conscience didn't wipe out the distaste which I still feel.

It was two years ago. New Chech Republic and Slovakia are two years older. But nothing has changed. I've got used to ignorance of people that are around me. But today I stopped wondering why these people do have difficulty in remembering what countries are in Europe. I do not demand knowledge of history, I am not a historical genius neither. But how can they say that "Praha is so in" when they don't know the name of the country? I hope they do take a passport when going shopping to this "coolest capital of Europe".

So today I've read an article in Aftenposten, the most influential and opinion-forming newspaper in Norway. As I had noticed elsewhere paper's catchword is "it's good to know". Today I've read that:

Storbritannia (...) har levert en offisiell protest mot Norges fangst av vågehval.
(...) Den skriftlige protesten er undertegnet av 11 andre land i tillegg til Storbritannia, nemlig Argentina, Australia, Belgia, Brasil, Frankrike, Nederland, New Zealand, Spania, Tsjekkoslovakia, Tyskland og Østerrike.

11 countries, besides GB, have signed a protest against Norwegian whaling - Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brasil, France, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Chechoslovakia, Germany and Austria.


If I had read Aftenposten everyday I would probably have thought that Chechoslovakia is a beautiful country in Eastern Africa or in Malaysia... Oh no, I am sorry, I have never heard about Norwegian aid there. Yeah, that's why I don't know what the hell Chech Republic is.