Study abroad to Europe? A vacation to Europe? Where would you go? France, Spain, England, and Germany are all popular destinations that help us answer these questions. Yet, we forget about the other half of Europe. You know, the one we now have maps for! East of Germany, west of Asia, and Wilson gave them borders are my hints or you can whip out your phone and search the terms “European Map”. It’s a land filled with mobsters and laws permitting torture. We’re not talking about milk and honey, although that does sound like a wonderful pairing, doesn’t it? If you caught any of these references, don’t pat yourself on the back.
Does such a land exist? According to Hollywood, countries in Eastern Europe fit the profile. The media tends to portray these countries as exotic, prone to organized crime, and underdeveloped. Don’t take away someones daughter or Liam Neeson is going to get you! They are perceived as “different” by the west. I am positive Bulgaria didn’t penetrate your mind as a possible destination for a vacation. How about Prague with it’s architecture and lore?
Having thoughts of torturing women is very unhealthy, but if you have money, that makes for a fun time. I am basing this statement as my interpretation of the movie Hostel Part II. It’s filmed in the Czech Republic, but takes place in Slovakia. Three, beautiful, young women are lured to a hostel where they are tortured by rich bidders. The view of Slovakia in this film causes ignorance to travel in the form that Americans might get this idea in their head that Eastern Europe is ripe with sadistic murder and kidnapping, When your view is molded by a movie, historical fact takes a backseat. Is this not a way of looking down on this region? What do we know about this area? What do we think we know?
By using these lands as settings for torture-porn films, we rob them of cultural value and potential revenue in the form of tourism. Troy Smith might cross Slovakia of his list due to a belief that your body parts are wanted. Media is a powerful force in which to spread misinformation. I’m not saying it’s intentional, but it shows a deeper picture of how unfamiliar we are with geography. These people are not drinking from creeks and scratching fleas from each other! Signs of modern progress such as internet, bridges, roads, and cars are used by Eastern Europeans. We are but a few clicks away from deconstructing this image brick by brick and rearranging in into a wall without ignorance.