The Issue of National Pride

As you may (or may not) have read in my previous post, my heritage is kind of a confusing topic which needs a bit more attention. Not because I think that it is important or utterly exciting, but there is a deeper level worth mentioning.

I come from a small country in Europe, Slovakia – no, not Slovenia and not Czechoslovakia. Just Slovakia. A country with beautiful nature being destroyed one tree at a time, but that’s not the topic of this rant.
To make things more interesting, my nationality is Hungarian. My whole family is Hungarian, my grand-grand parents lived in Hungary but were made to move to Slovakia during harder times in history which are actually connected to this rant. If you keep on reading, you will fingure our for yourself what I mean.

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So, basically, I’m Hungarian with a Hungarian mother tongue, but I was born in Slovakia. So far so good. BUT, we decided to move to Austria, because it just made sense for me, to get a better education, as well as for my mom who was working here at the time of us moving. Do you see where this is heading?

For those, who have never been to Slovakia or Hungary: people are humble yet in some cases full of hate. They hate on things that aren’t supposed to be concerning them but they still manage to find something in everything. Since the rise of right-wing parties in both countries, the situation got even worse. There are, of course, exceptions. But this is still not entirely the point I’m trying to show.

If you ever lived in a different country, you may have experienced some difficulties with the language, with the culture or with unwillingness of citizens of said country. Now, try to imagine being born and raised in Slovakia where they dislike Hungarians while you’re being that disliked Hungarian child. It has never helped that I spoke both languages fluently, nor did it help that I went to a Slovak school and my whole family speaks Slovak as well as Hungarian. It should be an advantage, shouldn’t it?

It wouldn’t have helped to move to Hungary either as I had a Slovak citizenship, never went to a Hungarian school and never learned the grammar. It would’ve been hell on earth.

So we moved to Austria.

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I love Austria. Not because of the people or the nature – eventough the people here are snobby but really nice and the nature everywhere is breathtaking – but because it is safe-ground. They probably know I’m not even close to being Austrian, but I speak their language fluently, I study and work and I don’t cause problems. What’s there not to like. They sometimes hear the slight Hungarian accent, if ever, but they don’t care for it. They actually like it and think it is likebale and they often comment something along: I have a Hungarian friend, I like Hungarians! And when I tell them, I was born in Slovakia, they are amazed to find out that I speak 4 languages as well as understand some more due to Slavic languages being similar to a level of understanding.

So I ask myself: what is the difference?

I considere myself lucky, to be able to live in a great country, have a nice family and amazing friends, but there are others that don’t have this opportunity just because of their heritage. I do think this situation is getting better by the day, but it shouldn’t be a situation at all.

I fear the day of me moving to the UK. With Brexit and all, it puts extra pressure on people who are well fitted to live abroad at their will, yet they have to think about being seen as the foreigner occupying “someone else’s country”. When in reality it’s no-one’s country to occupy.

Why does it make us proud to be born on a piece of land defined by political borders? What makes you better than your foreign neighbour? Why does your co-worker need to prove themselves twice as much because of their skin colour?

In my opinion, everyone should be allowed to live anywhere they want if they can live in peace and keep up with the country and it’s citizens. The country might be missing out on some pretty great people just because their passport says they “belong” in a country they might not want to belong to.

I cannot be proud of my country, because I feel like I have none. I am proud of many things in many different states and cities, of many things in many cultures but I couldn’t bring myself to hate on people who don’t share the same citizenship. Why should I? It’s not my land to share.

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