So I started this blog with the innocent idea of reading about every country in the world, in hopes of educating myself and gaining a broader understanding of my fellow humans (plus eating some excellent food along the way). Nothing wrong with that, right?
BUT. When you really start to think about what that means – not the act of reading and blogging about it, but the “every country in the world” part…that’s where it starts to get tricky. Borders are mostly a political act; artificial lines drawn for the convenience of tax collectors and map makers. They are only as real as people make them – and often that reality is delivered via the barrel of a gun.
I’m not really looking to debate the whole notion of the modern nation-state (at least not this very minute), but I’m becoming much more aware that the list of countries I’m working through does not represent everyone. And that the definition of a particular place, especially as it stands right now, might have come at a steep price for the people who were there before.
Imagine being a person who no one wants; that you don’t even have a country. With all of this in mind, I’m stating my intention to honor that. I will try to pay attention to what might be hidden behind the obvious and be mindful that the stories I’m reading don’t reveal the full picture.
Here’s a good place to start if you’d like to learn more: UNPO – Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization