THIS IS A TRANSLATED VERSION OF THIS SWEDISH POST!
An incredibly bothersome issue for me is american people’s (I’m sorry, but I mostly experience this with Americans…) inability to distinguish countries in our part of the world, or the part not consisting of their own corner of the globe. There is too often talk about Europe as if it were one big country, or Scandinavia as if we all ran around up here in the north all the same with the same capital, same language, and same culture.
The other day I read a blog post, which had me dwelling on this annoying element once more. In this post there was a mention of “Scandinavian Crime Stories” and I sat dumbstruck wondering – is he referring to Swedish, Danish or Norweigan? Or might he even refer to Finnish? Because in my world they are completely different. The Swedish ones are incredibly boring, and Danish movies are generally better than Swedish ones (even Crime Stories – IMO), but Finnish – I have not a clue, my experience with Finnish movies is extremely limited, due to whatever reason I’m not aware of.
What is so difficult to understand about the fact we are separate countries? Separate countries with different laws and different nationalities? And different citizens? And different languages, although most of us can understand eachother without too big of an effort. Except the Finnish people then. The ones who don’t speak Swedish, who are by the way a minority in their country.
I’ve often ran across restaurant signs in Thailand, or all over the world for that matter, advertising their “European food”, which always makes me wonder whether they’re serving “black soup” (a north Swedish dish made of animal blood, which is not a particularly regular dish for the rest of us Swedes) or feta cheese in there. Or maybe even frog legs which is something all Europeans eat… right? The variety between European food is enormous, and can be as different as the ones mentioned above, although they might be extremes.
As we Swedes all know, or as we Europeans all know, there is not such a thing as a European thing, but there are Swedish things, and there are Greek things, and there are even German things, and it’s not particularly often we’re sitting nibbling on bratwursts for lunch and dinner back here in Sweden, even if it might seem the countries are only a small distance apart. We don’t even understand each other once we open up our yaps!
Are we in Europe so unimportant in the eyes of the rest of the world they don’t even have to bother remembering which countries belong to our continent or what is it really about?
Even Rihanna apparantly dedicated “Redemption Song” in honour of “our” tragedy: The massacre at Utöya (Norway) during her concert on the “Peace & Love” festival in Borlänge, Sweden. Of course, we Swedes too suffered on the Norwegian people’s behalf, it was a tragedy, no question about that, but we’re still not the same country! Something she obviously was extremely confused about… Simply high or just clueless?
So, is it ok for me to treat USA and Canada the same – North America is always North America, right? We should just confuse them up too…
I do believe this would stir some uproar; is there anything more offensive for an American being labelled as a Canadian? Or the other way around?
So if it’s easy to understand the above confusion, then you might even understand the frustration in constantly hearing you’re from the country Sweden where the capital’s name is Denmark (it’s a country, for frack’s sake), or Norway where the capital is Stockholm.
So, here’s a message to the world, it’s time to wake up and realise Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland isn’t one big happy country named Scandinavia, BUT in fact independent countries with separate languages and separate cultures! Google it! And the European Union isn’t a country named Europe; the union includes several different countries where ALL have different cultures! And different languages! And definitely different food! Thank God!!!
Is it really that difficult??? Geography, people!!!