I’m reading a novel by a Spanish writer called Julia Navarro, and at some point a character says,
A while ago he had requested a meeting with Leon Trotsky, and finally, the Russian politician accepted.
“That’s weird,” I thought. ‘This is happening at the time when Trotsky is living in exile in Mexico. Why would a Russian politician arrange his meetings for him?”
It took me a while to realize that the “Russian politician” in question was supposed to be Trotsky. Of course, not only was Trotsky a Jew, he was never a politician in Russia. He was a revolutionary in the Russian Empire and a politician in the Soviet Union. And he wasn’t even a Russian Jew. Trotsky was born in Ukraine.
This casual reference to a Ukrainian Jew as a Russian reminded me of a video clip for a documentary I had seen earlier today. “The Russians made a decision. . .” the narrator enunciated, as the footage of Iosif Stalin and Lavrenti Beria appeared on screen. Both these men were, of course, Georgians. Stalin spoke Russian with a strong accent until the day he died. Still, ignoramuses around the world can’t manage to distinguish a Georgian, an Armenian, a Ukrainian, a Moldovan or a Jew from a Russian.
Maybe I should refer to the Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, etc. as “English.” They do speak English, so they must all be English, right? Just like Mexicans, Peruvians, Chileans, Dominicans, and Guatemalans must all be “Spanish.”
Seriously, the ignorance is daunting.