16 August 2008

How would you define a country?

Dear Readers,

have you have ever thought about the definition of country?

I picked it up this argument several times during my life and I never came up with an unique conclusion.
But let us proceed in a systematic way.
Therefore let us define the main characteristics of being a country (but they do not need to be satisfied all at the same time).

A geographical area is a country if :
  1. It has well defined borders
  2. It is officially recognized
  3. It has a parliament legislating on it
  4. It has its own constitution
  5. It has its own police, army, educational system etc.
  6. It has its embassies all over the world
  7. It has its official language (or more official languages)
  8. It has its own shared history
  9. It has its own traditions (religious, food, etc.)
  10. ...
According to these definitions, the most of the countries on this earth can satisfied the majority of them, and therefore they theoretically have the right to be called: country.
On the other hand, we know several other places which, although they respect these definitions, they are not yet officially recognized with this political status.

Let us take some examples: Palestine, Kurdistan, Taiwan, and Chiapas.
All of the them respect condition 1, 3, 4 and 5, which are in my opinion the most characterizing and most complicate to be fulfilled, but...
All of them do no respect condition number 2, which is in the current world the most needed. In fact, this condition basically states that "you legally exist only and only if the others (the powerful nations) allow you to legally exist".

This principle is against any morality!
Let us make a comparison: we take a no official country as Kurdistan and an official country as San Marino. Which of them does better fulfil the country definition?
San Marino occupies a small territory in the north of Italy. The territory is so minuscule, that if you do not know exactly where it is, you can pass through without knowing that you just crossed the borders of one of the richest country in the world.
On the other hand, Kurdistan is approximately as big as 5000 times San Marino, but it seems that it does not deserve the same status.

You can observe that the size is not important to identify a nation. I accept this observation.
But what about the fact that San Marino mainly exists because some rich people needs it in order to carry out their money laundry and Kurdistan must not exist, because it is divided among three countries, which wants to exploit its natural resources as oil and copper?

Before I conclude I would like to remark that there is a huge number of geographical areas like ones mentioned above, which do not have a recognized international status just because some powerful nation needs them in order to exploit their natural resources, while on the other hand very small islands, outlying place in some ocean, officially exist just because of the need of money laundry. Money earned, either in a illegal or illegal way, by the wealthy nations.
Moreover, the population of these areas are usually treated by the media of the nations which are exploiting them or using them as terrorists, bandits and in general criminals.
And seldom, very seldom, they are referred to with their real name: Victims!!!

Please comment it, and please justify your opinion.
All the best!


Anonymous said...

Kurdistan doesn’t have the right to be a separate country...
Actually the whole story you said about it is completely the opposite.
It is just a land very rich with oil, where the powerful countries started convincing its inhabitants to ask for independence....Mainly to weaken the countries which Kurdistan belongs to, because they are relatively strong.

Y.C. said...

Thank you for speaking for Taiwan.
I love Taiwan, and it's definately a independent country.

small J

Antonio Napoli said...

Dear Anonymous,

It looks like that you did not catch up what I want to express with this post.
Although I am European, I do not have the standard mindset of European. In other words, to answer you straight away, I do not hope that Kurdistan becomes an "independent" country in order to be later on subjugated by western powers. This upstream position, has always characterized myself among my fellow countrymen.

In my post, I wanted to rather point out, as a general point, which is the way to determine whether a geographical area should have the status of nation or not.

For example, my dream is that any country could, one day, have the opportunity to declare his independence and live in peace, without any political or economical constraints.

You also stated that the powerful countries (i.e. the western countries) would like to make Kurdistan independent in order to weaken the nations which currently own the control on this area.

In my opinion there are here two points that need here to be clarified:

- first, Kurdistan is not another Kosovo. Kurdistan has a long and troubled history, and, only because of the intervention of the wealthy European countries, the Kurdish people did not have the possibility to create its own homeland;

- second, the most of the nations you mentioned are already under the control of western powers.
In fact: on one side we have Turkey which is one of the most important allies of USA (e.g. USA military supported Turkey to preserve its dominance on the Kurdistan); and on another side there is Iraq which, all of us know, is destined to remain a puppet in the hands of western oil corporations until it will possess one of the largest oil field in the world. About Iran, you surely know that USA and Europe would like to overthrow the elected government and take the control of the Iranian natural resources.

To conclude, we could say, the lack of Kurdistan as a country does not depend only on Iraq, Syria, or Turkey, which surely need its oil, but it also depends on the countries which control for example Turkey and Iraq, which are the ones from whom you want to defend Iraq and Turkey.

My dream is that Kurdistan, (note that I took Kurdistan just as an example to compare it with San Marino because of its size) could one day freely declare its independence and finally use its own natural resource to improve the living condition of the inhabitants of that degraded area and give a homeland to the hundreds of thousands of Kurdish immigrants and refugees spread all over the world.

best regards,

Please, do not consider the current borders of a country as untouchable.