Thursday, November 30, 2006

political vernacular

this thing in the news about harper declaring quebec a nation has been bugging me. not because i don't think that quebec should be called a nation (it pretty much already is, people), but that everyone seems to be so out to lunch on what a nation is and what a state is. if i learned anything through an international relations degree it is this:

a nation is a group of similar people who inhabit areas that are not necessary within the same international borders. the kurds are a nation though they live in iraq and turkey (and maybe other places too, i am not so familiar with the kurds). other examples of nations are the first nations groups of canada, the indigenous people in southern mexico/guatemala, and the scots.

a state is a politically organised group of people residing in a geographic area. canada is a state, great britain is a state, and kenya is a state.

perhaps people are confused that canada is a nation-state, where a homogenous group of people inhabit a state. canada has never been homogenous and isn't today so why the big huff about saying that the quebecois are a nation? they are.

the only reason that the United Nations is called that is because the United States was already taken, so this might be the cause of the confusion.

maybe since i am battling the rains* in kenya, i am missing out on the political side of this debate, but at least let's get our terminology right.

* which, by the way, seem to continue. are the floods in northern kenyan making it into the news around the world? surprisingly, they aren't really big news here either, which is a bit worrysome. apparently in the north it is a state of emergency but the president hasn't officially declared it as such.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yeah, the flooding has been in the news... crazy