Anecdotes From The Edge

2006-11-03

Stephen Browne seems like my kind of person -- a sensible libertarian who loves Western civilization and has soujourned in Eastern Europe (though much more than I have). The touching collection of anecdotes he posted recently reminded me of my time teaching English in Czechoslovakia (see my essay Eastern Eyes). He notes that "Eastern Europeans have always considered themselves to be the eastern frontier of Western Civilization." I found that to be true when I was in the Czech lands. Folks there used to say "Asia begins in Bratislava", which is demonstrably false and was a jibe at their Slovakian cousins (probably the Slovaks say "Asia begins in Uzhgorod" and the western Ukrainians say "Asia begins in Kharkov" and so on). But it captures the sense of being on the edge of the West. Perhaps that means they value it all the more.


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