C’est la vie

Are you a patriot?

I was taught at school that the word «Родина» (meaning motherland) should be written with a capital «P». I also was taught that it is the best and the most beautiful place in the world. Did you have such experience at school?

When we met Marc told me he is from Earth planet. Maybe he used to tell it to all girls, but I liked this phrase. Until we discover other planets that are habitable, this answer perfectly fits. I have to say I totally do not like the idea of patriotism. I did not like to share this feeling until I found the support in words of Leo Tolstoy. I have no right to translate it, so here is what he writes (in Russian of course):

“В руках правящих классов войско, деньги, школа, религия, пресса. В школах они разжигают в детях патриотизм авариями, описывая свой народ лучшим из всех народов и всегда правым; во взрослых разжигают это же чувство зрелищами, торжествами, памятниками, патриотической, лживой прессой; главное же, разжигают патриотизм тем, что, совершая всякого рода несправедливости, жестокости против других народов, возбуждают в них вражду к своему народу, а потом этой-то враждой пользуются для возбуждения вражды и в своем народе”.

Does it mean I do not like my motherland? No! I do like it. But I do not like for instance Volga or Oka because I think they are the most beautiful rivers in the world. Why if something belongs to your country it is the best in the world by default? I love my parents not because they are the best people in the world! A true patriot should live and work only in his country? He should work for her benefit and believe in it’s bright future, believe all the best can happen with him just there? And if not?

It is a topical issue for me. I am Russian living with a French guy in Austria. Marc for example does not like we celebrate the victory day on the 9th of May. He thinks this day is about the victory only, the story «how Russians won when killed a lot of bad people» and now want to show it to the whole world. I do not really want to discuss it. It is his vision and his opinion. I respect it. 

Back to the motherland topic. The 9th of May for me is not about the victory of USSR. For me it is and always was a celebration of simple people liberation from the horror and fear. I recall those people who came to our school, with their warrants and without, to tell us the stories of their lives. I do not think this day about the power of Russian army. I think about a simple man with his simple life, who raised his children and went at work every day, who as each of us loved, hated, enjoyed, and suffered. I think how he had to forget about this his life and to get in the tank, to learn how to kill people, to experience constant fear, to lose those he loved. 

The war is horrible, and I learnt it for instance from Remarque’s books. That is why on the victory day I also thinks about that character of German soldier from «All quiet on the Western Front». The amount of pain and fear of people (from different countries) who were just like me makes me scared. For me it is a victory day because I understand that all this horror was stopped one day. These people could go back home. 

Here, in Vienna, there is Soviet soldiers monument. And again, for me it is not about «we saved you all». When I bring flowers to it I want to remember and respect these people who lived in n a very difficult time, hoping it will never happen again. 

For me a home is a place where I feel well and peaceful, where the ones I love are. I believe you may have several places in the world like this. And it does not really matter where there are located on the map. I can catch the feeling that I am understood, I am in the right place not only in Russia. Because this world is made of the same molecules and atoms that I am. Because people all over the world feel and experience the same emotions that I do: make a choice, feel good or sad, love, angry, do stupid things, laugh, make jokes, afraid and make blogs. 

Yesterday I had lunch with a girl from Iran. The story she told me reminded me of my Armenian friend. One French girl by her example constantly proves me the need to be yourself striking me with her openness to this world. A friend from Saudi Arabia, whom I met in New Zealand, sometimes writes me on Facebook, advising me to have children as soon as possible. Because God knows (who cares which one) children is is one of the secrets of happiness in this world, he says. And I will never forget this feeling of perfect family I saw in Fiji. They are ones of the kindest and most open people I’ve ever met. And one Colombian girl taught me one Spanish song years ago. I still remember the lyrics. 

I provided all these examples to show that I don’t care where all these people live or where they were born. And if they were taught at school that their country has the most powerful army, the best places in the world and all only the best. I love this world! People on Earth are the best! Yeah, right? I’ll take my words back if I meet at least one alien. Although, I can’t call him human anyway, right? Or maybe we will discover parallel realities one day…

So… Hi! My name is Tania and I am from Earth planet.

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