Countries of the World: My Quest to Memorize the Name of Every Single Country

Depending on who you ask there are between 193-196 countries in the world. One day for fun I decided to try and see how many I could name off the top of my head. I’ve always been probably above-average, but not great at geography. In fifth grade I memorized all the state capitals which was really fun and I knew where every state was. But taking the time to learn all the countries was something that seemed not only difficult, but useless. What surprised me was the value I found in the months it took me to memorize all of them. I found myself researching conflicts in small countries, discourse on geographical boundaries and interpretations. I was able to understand on a global scale the impacts of colonization and imperialization in the violence against many indigenous populations and lands. I was encouraged to do more research on the countries that already fascinated me such as Uruguay, Myanmar, Argentina, Rwanda, Palestine, and Kazakhstan. I grew to have interest in countries such as Burkina Faso, Azerbaijan, Nigeria, Armenia, Mauritius, Lesotho, Eritrea, Tonga, and Chile. All of a sudden I found myself researching Thomas Sankara’s revolution in Burkina Faso. The current conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The United State’s exploitation of the land in Tonga. Eritrea’s extremist government and huge humanitarian conflict which no one seems to talk about. 

I guess what I’m trying to say that while the world can seem big and scary, with an infinite amount of things to be outraged about and the rise in this exposure due to social media, education will help you prevail. With education I’ve found liberation in the way I viewed the world. I have gained an ability to decolonize my global perspective even past the already anti-colonist perspective I had. I’ve also become more empathetic. Not in the white-savior way of thinking “oh my gosh, I’m in America where everything is so great and easy!” In the way where I can understand that it is our government, the CIA, and billionaires that control this country which destroy other countries. American imperialization is responsible for the poverty in every subjugated country. We can see the CIA’s impact through the electoral statuses in Latin American countries, or the exploitation of labour in African countries. But only by educating myself through seeing a bigger picture of the world was I able to more fully grasp these concepts. And while this has helped to liberate my understanding of the world, it has shown me the subjugation and oppression of American imperialization and colonization.

American imperialization is responsible for the poverty in every subjugated country.

Published by ellakotsen

student at Bryn Mawr College

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