It is understandable that the Boston Marathon bombings inflamed passions, as did yesterday’s revelation that the bombers were Muslims from a remote country. But confusion over the name of that country resulted in some infelicitous comments by users of social media who confused Chechnya — the terrorists’ homeland — with the Czech Republic.
The error prompted an online statement by Petr Gandalovič, Ambassador of the Czech Republic, who wrote:
As more information on the origin of the alleged perpetrators is coming to light, I am concerned to note in the social media a most unfortunate misunderstanding in this respect. The Czech Republic and Chechnya are two very different entities — the Czech Republic is a Central European country; Chechnya is a part of the Russian Federation.
As the President of the Czech Republic Miloš Zeman noted in his message to President Obama, the Czech Republic is an active and reliable partner of the United States in the fight against terrorism. We are determined to stand side by side with our allies in this respect, there is no doubt about that.
The confusion was noticed by The Onion, which published the findings of a fake study that had determined that the “majority of Americans not informed enough to stereotype Chechens.”
A Twitter user who goes by the name U.S. Dept. of Fear also had some fun with the mistake, tweeting:
The #Czech ambassador’s apology isn’t good enough. Name’s confusing and hard to spell & education isn’t our priority
We came close to bombing the Czech Republic this week. Fortunately, the ambassador’s letter arrived in time.
But some Chechen Twitter users were not amused. Lexington, Ky., CBS affiliate WKYT reports that Mirca Sekerova tweeted a recommendation that Americans “open a geography book once in a while… stop blaming our country for this.” And Petr Manda commented: “Well done, U.S. education system.”
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