I was born in Medellin, Colombia, personally the most beautiful city in the world. If there is something you should know about Colombians is that we take our pride very seriously. Therefore, ever since I can remember, I have been reminded to love my country and to take that Colombian heritage everywhere I go. Nevertheless, I have encountered myself with several situations in which my country is mistakenly pronounced or horrendously stereotyped by historic events.
Imagine yourself constantly hearing your country being mispronounced. Not only by friends or acquaintances, but in the news, by famous people, or in an article. It is not only disrespectful but really concerning of how outsiders see Colombians. Because of this common misconception, there are even campaigns trying to create awareness and let people know that it is Colombia, not Columbia.
Even more seriously than that, my country has been constantly stereotyped as a “leading drug-dealing country” or that everyone consumes drugs and is friends with Pablo Escobar – who is dead. Apparently, the new trend on Netflix and other streaming services is to air shows about the Colombian drug cartels and terrorist attacks during the 80s. Despite some of those shows being incredibly misleading and exaggerating, I find that most of the audience doesn’t realize that these are past events. That is not what Colombia is now.
Colombia, just so you know, is one of the fastest-developing countries in the world. Its capital, Bogota, hosts tremendous number of international events and is an entrepreneurial capital. Colombia is home to one of the most diverse fauna in the entire world and has given birth to extraordinary people – Shakira, Gabriel Garcia Marques, Juan Pablo Montoya or Fernando Botero, just to name a few. Of course, Colombia has its dark past. But like every developed nation, Colombia has been able to fight those problems and rise high amongst Latin American countries.
I may be writing this article from the Colombian perspective. But what I’m trying to express is that, before talking about any country—investigate. Inform yourself. Because maybe, you’re not writing that country’s name right. Maybe, you haven’t realized all the good things it has to offer. Maybe, you have been influenced by all the media, that you only see one side of things. Let’s try to open ourselves into a better-informed world.
Hopefully, someday, I will be able to see my country’s name spelled right. That will be the day that I will once again proudly scream: “I am COLOMBIAN!”