The Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive: A Theme Western­ers Know Lit­tle About

一带一路:西方人知之不多的话题

Special Focus - - Contents - Sammy Buhr塞米·布尔

Re­cently I was sit­ting around the din­ner ta­ble with my brother and some friends. We were talking about our lives and the lat­est happenings. Hav­ing been en­grossed in con­ver­sa­tion about the usual top­ics for some time, it seemed like the evening was just about wind­ing down when one or the other of us re­al­ized... wait a sec­ond... we have not yet dis­cussed the re­cent go­ings on in Turk­menistan. And come to think of it, not one of us had had any­thing mean­ing­ful to say about Azer­bai­jan the whole en­tire evening. Hav­ing re­al­ized how en­tirely dense we were be­ing to leave out such sub­jects, we im­me­di­ately be­gan a lively dis­cus­sion that fin­ished off our evening nicely.

Yep, that never hap­pened. Be­cause the sad truth is, with the ex­cep­tion of the adorable wun­derkind who ap­peared on Jimmy Kim­mel in 2013, there are no Amer­i­cans alive to­day who know where Turk­menistan is... or how to spell it... or that it’s an ac­tual coun­try. Many Amer­i­cans are vaguely aware of their own eth­no­cen­tric­ity and are likely to be some­what apolo­getic about it when they meet some­one for­eign at a din­ner party and mis­tak­enly take Sierra Leone for an Ital­ian prov­ince or have to be cor­rected af­ter in­tro­duc­ing a col­league as com­ing from Bangladesh, the cap­i­tal of In­dia. But charm­ing self dep­re­ca­tion is not go­ing to save us in the com­ing decades.

The fact is, there are sec­tions of the world that are poised to

Sam­myBuhrgrewupin NewYorkan­dre­lo­cated toChi­nain2008.“Ilove theChi­ne­sepeo­ple andtheir­cul­ture.”She has­taugh­tEnglishat UESTCandSWUFE.

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