Fancy swapping nationalities this month? I’m considering Canadian – modest, understated and cool. Or Switzerland – safe, pacifistic and beautiful. Or Tuvaluan – a nationality hardly anyone has heard of, belonging to a country which will disappear anyway if sea levels continue to rise.

Because I’m rather bored of being British right now. Or rather I’m fed up of being held up for Brexit, Gibraltar, the Falklands and pretty much all of the Middle East. Oh and a good part of post colonial Africa.

OK so I drink tea, enjoy grumbling about the rain and I went to an all girls boarding school. Hands up, I’m clearly British.

1950 tea photoPhoto by MipsyRetro

But my birth certificates don’t make me responsible for my state though, right?

I’m blonde and female, yet judging by the reception I enjoy in some parts of southern Lebanon you’d think I was Tony Blair in disguise. Equally, a Spanish friend ‘greets’ me with the phrase ‘Give me back Gibraltar’.

In the same way, a Greek friend complained recently about how any conversation with a stranger inevitably leads to a seemingly personal dig at ‘her leader’ Tspiras, a swipe at the country’s economic mismanagement or a poke at all the Greeks gobbling up London property.

So like the kid who reinvents themselves at uni with a new nickname how about a nationality swap?english bulldog sad photoPlease, do I have to be English? Photo by Vivian Chen [陳培雯]

Or better still, can we just stop the nationality bullying?

Not all Catalonians or Scots want independence. And even more would wish you’d stop with political attacks as a conversation starter. And while we’re at it can the folks over at the BBC stop pigeonholing Russians as goodies (political dissidents) and baddies (Putin propagandists, mafia mobs, Crimean land grabbers)?

OK sure, not everyone is like this. Sometimes the pigeonholing can be cute: ‘Oh you’re British? Would you like a cup of tea?’ 

By all means let’s talk about global affairs, let’s engage in politics, let’s debate what it is right and wrong in the world. But sorry, if you’re out to attack me for my current place of residence, my passport stamps or my birth certificate, I’m afraid I only speak Tuvaluan.

 

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