What is worse, an uneducated hater or a stupid hater? I vote for the second one, as you can teach the uneducated, but there’s no cure for stupidity.
Not that long ago, there was a huge debate on the streets of Ireland about the 4th Amendment which at the end became mainly about the choice to give the decision to all pregnant women to terminate their pregnancies by abortion.
The xitizens of Ireland voted. It’s already behind us. But just recently I discovered that for me to express my opinion about the topic publicly was met very unfavourably by my neighbours. At that time, to place a sticker with your preferred choice on the bumper of your car, or on the window, was quite normal. Posters and banners were screaming in pink all over town – Vote No, Vote Yes, ProLife etc.
Just like many of us living in Ireland, I also stuck my sticker on my door and forgot all about it. The vote was cast and I took my sticker down.
God bless social media and the fact that what was has been written on social media stays there for life. A few months later, I discovered a tweet from my neighbour in which he was referring to us. The tweet read: “It
annoys me greatly that neighbours have put a … sticker on their front door. Especially given that neither resident is actually a citizen, and don’t have a vote …”
So, it wasn’t actually that my opinion was the problem, and my intellect was of no issue either… It was me being a foreigner who doesn’t have the right to vote, that was the problem. How can I dare to express my opinion about any issue in my new country, because, in other words: I DON’T BELONG HERE. Neither my parents nor my grandparents were born in this country, so I will never, ever belong here. There’s that Irish expression that applies to me, I’m a blow-in.
Then I remembered the time when one Englishman moved to Croatia and everything was beautiful until he started to write about Croatia and encouraged other people to write freely about all the aspects of living in Croatia. He was attacked in the same way, not because of his intellect or even because of his actual opinions, but because he was, and he forever will be, a foreigner. It really doesn’t matter that he is actually the one who promoted Croatia so well and encouraged so many good changes.
We all have to move house at least once in our lifetime! The sooner the better.
Only then we can see how petty and silly we all are. If I didn’t move to live in another country, I would be the same, narrow-minded nationalist. My friend the American said, it is enough if you just move to another town or city, just generally move to a different community, but I don’t agree. I moved three times inside my own country and didn’t learn a thing. Maybe it’s just me, a slow learner, but I think we should all move to another country, to a different culture altogether. To walk as a stranger and feel what it really means to be a foreigner, to try to work, and act in a foreign country.
There’s a trend going on (in Ireland at least), I noticed that, and a lot of young families are on the move. Families who can afford to move house and live with their kids for at least a year in a new country.
They’re not the usual job-seeking migrants, or the refugees. They’re intellectuals who recognised the impact of living in a different country and the significance of the experience that a different culture will have on the proper development of their children. It’s not just about learning one more language. It’s about teaching children to be tolerant of others, to broaden their minds and open their eyes to the world that is much bigger than their street, village, or town, or even their home-country.
We will never lose our identities, who we are, where we come from, who our ancestors are, etc. The same way as my husband who was born in Germany and spent part of his childhood there, and is now living in Ireland, will never stop being a Croat. His identity, his roots are Croatian. Once a Croat, always a Croat, it’s in our genes. But at the same time, he has influenced people in Germany and he still influences people in Ireland in a positive way.
Our heritage as Croats is something valuable that we can and do share with others. It’s valuable in the very same way in which we’re getting back and learning from the countries in which we have lived. From the people we have encountered.
To be a tourist in some country is not the same as living in that country. A tourist seeks only pleasures and he actually doesn’t really care about the country he visits. He travels to be relaxed and for him, the culture is just a part of the travel experience. To stay and live is to be a participant in all the aspects of life in the country, the good and the bad, just like marriage. A foreigner who stays to live there is investing much more than the person who never have moved anywhere.
He invests time into meeting people. He invests money into building his new home and the society in which he settles. He engages in all the local activities because he wants to learn as much as he can about his new country and their customs. He’s active within society, etc.
The person who never moved anywhere, never needs to invest time into meeting people. He is probably happy with two or three friends that he’s known since school. He doesn’t care about engaging in local activities as he thinks he’s already seen everything, or, he just thinks that he already knows everything about his own culture. His logic is: but I was born here, so that immediately implies that I must know everything that’s worth knowing about my country. The reality is different.
So, I urge you to think about how then we, as we people, can be so hostile to the foreigners and tell them when they express their opinions about something, that they don’t have the right to say anything as they do not belong here?!
We all have to move house at least once in our lifetime! And if I may suggest, let’s move house every five years. Wouldn’t that be great?