I was born in the USSR, on the other side of the iron curtain, in isolation, surrounded by enemies. White spot on the map in the knowledge of Western world, but it was largely perceived that in USSR people were hostile and life was tough. The same was true all the way around: Soviet people were persuaded that Uncle Sam hates us and dreams about erasing the country from the earth surface. And capitalistic countries’ citizens share his ideas. I think majority of Soviet people questioned the latter, and not because they were so nice, but simply because the very fact of American existence was rather a myth, a communistic version of hell. Did someone go there and saw it with his very eyes? No, so even if America existed, after all it was as irrelevant, as life on Mars. Yes, these guys may dream to conquer us one day, but as for now they did not show up – so let’s better care about something useful, for example what can we watch today from the theater.
More than 20 years ago Soviet Union collapsed, and the rests of Cold War were finally buried under its ruins. Travelling out became permitted, and later even common and affordable for an average person. Later the technology provided us with an opportunity to connect with the whole world. We started going around for studies, job or pleasure with frequency nobody could imagine 20 years ago and even staying home we can chat with, let’s say, Vietnam or Brasilia. My mom when she came to visit me in London first of all ran to the Tower. Why? As she told when she as a little girl studied English in school she could not even dream she may see Tower one day. The moon was more probable due to the advanced Soviet space program.
Thus, traveling became available for people from my Motherland and stopped being elite pleasure for selected only in general. That is truly pleasurable, but I believe it will led to something more, than only nice time spending.
Ironically enough, before those selected who could afford the travel were rich, influential and in many cases they were involved in politics. So basically they were the voice, transferring the opinions to masses: if they had told, let’s say so, Americans were idiots – who would have questioned them? They have been in America; they have seen Americans. All Soviet are underdeveloped and live in forest – yes, because no one from ordinary people went to Soviet Union to check. Now people who have travelled a while would hardly trust a single word of politic propaganda of any type: just as we visited many places ourselves and luckily we have a bunch of international friends, whom we can call and ask about what is going on there in your country? Without any doubts, we became more open-minded and more knowledgeable, thus less easy to manipulate and press. And I hope more human, as after all you see that people are the same in their core in every corner of the world.
But if we look at it in a long-term perspective, the very popular political tool of generalizing nations under one umbrella term, like Soviet – dangerous, Chinese – slaves, Americans – money-fixed etc. – will loose a lot in its power also because of… multiethnic couples! My partner is Italian, and I doubt our kids will think that there is nothing but mafia in Sicily and nothing but vodka in Russia. As we live in UK, neither will they have wicked ideas about this or any other country they will grow in. Moreover, at my partners job every couple is multiethnic, and he works with around 30 people. The very notion of nation in its aggressive, superior form of we-are-better-than-they becomes obsolete.
Moreover, one of the fundamental distinctive features of a nationality is language. But the younger generations start learning English from the early ages, and perceive it as almost a mother tongue; so many people use English at work on everyday basis or while traveling that we indeed are more cosmopolitan nowadays.
I trust in humanity and the common sense of people, and I am sure that all these changes will facilitate the better world. I trust, that the very notion of the Cold War is not relevant anymore, because it is not “we” against “them” anymore, it is “we” against “us”. Just imagine, how much money could be saved not producing another, more powerful atomic bomb and how much we accomplish with this money: we can cure the diseases, fight the starvation, give education for those who can’t afford it… All we need after all is to be more human and more open.