On several occasions I’ve come across this Go-Home! syndrome that I’ve realised to be unique to Colombians. Disclaimer up front – this is by no means statistical, but purely empirical. It’s just happening to me and foreigners around me, which makes me think it must have happened to other foreigners who have brought up anything about Colombia other than how much they love it.
One day, I complained on Facebook (look for the post on 16th July) about TuLlave‘s crappy system and a friend of a friend picked up the post and asked me to ‘go home!’.
Then, a blogger friend wrote about her observations on the culture’s idiosyncracies and was asked to ‘go home!’.
And we have the notorious ‘hate post‘ about Bogotá who happened to be written another friend of mine. It really did invoke a lot of debate/justifying/defending what have you and sure he got a lot of ‘Go-Home’ recommendations too, so much so that it was translated by the free newspaper – so in the end everyone in Bogotá knew about Chris, whether they spoke English or not, whether they are office workers or street sweepers.
Even the famous Soho mag wrote about the phenomenon of angry Colombians reacting against the slightest ‘insults’, and Omar Rincón boils it all down to the delicate self esteem.
To be honest it’s becoming quite funny I would say. So many different individuals would have come up with the same response I think we should hashtag the word #GoHomeExtrajerosEnColombia.
The truth is, the fact that you don’t like some things about a place certainly doesn’t mean you have to #GoHome. And we certainly have the right to talk about whatever we see, hear feel or think. The difference is that we bring it up, and talk about it, whilst Colombians seem to prefer to live in a bubble, believe that everything is fine and that we are doing so so well compared to our past, compared to our neighbouring LatAm countries, that we should be happy. True. We’re doing much better than others but that doesn’t mean Carulla/Exito is not the monopoly that exploits customers, public transport is great, and things work perfectly well!
Let me say this. We won’t go home just because #NothingWorksInColombia happens everyday. We’ll go home when we want to go home. Fullstop.
The “go home!” mentality is certainly not limited to Colombia. Simply look at any online comment section in the US press. The difference is what motivates it. Omar Rincón is correct that the Colombian national a character is based on a particularly fragile self-esteem, whereas in the US there’s a strong undercurrent of xenophobia, despite its status as an immigrant nation.
Good to know!
I have had many chats with Colombians about the ease with which they get insulted and become excessively defensive of their country or city. I have concluded that how good a city or country is, is inversely proportional to how much people get wilfully upset when you criticise it. and the people getting upset do the country a disservice. You do not see Brazil full of Swedes and Swiss defending their countries? Why not? Because they are both countries at one with themselves that do not give a damn what anyone in Brazil thinks thinks of them. I personally think Hong Kong completely sucks, but I also know that what I think doesn’t really matter and Hong Kong is not going to get upset by what I think, it’s big enough, ugly enough and stinky enough to just not care. It’s not just Colombians, try telling someone from Toronto that “I prefer Chicago” They’ll get their panties all bunched up in an instant and prove you right.
Shame is, I think Bogotá has a vast sprawling mix of grey, bland and ugly. Bogotá wakes up before I do in the morning, and I wouldn’t like to start an argument with Bogotá in a bar because it would readily whoop my ass. Does Bogotá give a damn what I think? No it doesn’t of course because it is a badass, so the Colombians should learn to lighten up too
It’s just like saying I like red whilst you like black..
Thanks Dave The Rave for your comments!
Good to know about the rivalry between Chicago and Toronto..
Yea I never understand what’s the big deal about HK.. Apparently it has got a lot energy..
Estoy de acuerdo con ud. pero a la misma vez cuando leo su blog, no puedo mas que notar un aire de superioridad en el tono de su escritura, casi siempre concentrándose en lo negativo. yo leo varios blogs de extranjeros y en la mayoría estoy de acuerdo con las criticas que ademas son obvias, los mejores usan el humor para bajarle el tono a la critica y eso los hace especiales, pero sinceramente da la impresión de que ud lleva una vida miserable en colombia, y no puede esperar el día que finalmente pueda salir de allí
Muy bien Juan!
Me alegra mucho que ya sabe las oportunidades que se pueden mejorar en este país lindo.
Ojalá que la gente como ud. ayude el país!
El país necesita mucho más ayuda que puede conseguir ahora!
[…] blog have complaint that I only give Colombia a bad rap, that I only complain, that I should just go home (jaja!). Rather, I am more about telling the truth and saying what I think. Full […]