Memo to tweeters: Chechnya is not the Czech Republic
As it emerged Friday that the family of the two suspects, Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev, is originally from Chechnya, those unfamiliar with the restive Russian republic rushed to brush up their knowledge of the region. Some, however, seemed determined to get the wrong end of the stick.
- Those who knew better groaned.But the tweets kept coming.
- This compelled some Tweeters to offer bite-sized geography lessons.
- While someone else created a helpful "infographic."
But some Tweeters weren't about to let details stand in the way of a good pun and a reference to an Ice Cube lyric.
His tweet prompted an irate response from a Czech user.
Riddle said he was sorry. But he wasn't contrite enough to resist recycling his pun a couple more times.
- The Onion, the satirical website, wrote its own spoof story lampooning Americans’ knowledge of Chechnya.
- A quick recap: The Czech Republic is in Europe -- hundreds of miles from Russia and more than 1,000 miles from Chechnya, which is in the Caucusas region where southern Russia borders Georgia and Azerbaijan.
- On Friday night, the Czech Republic's top diplomat to the United States decided to set the record straight -- diplomatically.
- "I am concerned to note in the social media a most unfortunate misunderstanding," Ambassador Petr Gandalovic wrote. "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."The Czech Republic, once firmly in the sphere of the Soviet Union, is now a member of the European Union.
In his statement, the Czech ambassador struck a more somber note, saying he was "deeply shocked by the tragedy that occurred in Boston." And he was at pains to make clear his country’s position.
“The Czech Republic is an active and reliable partner of the United States in the fight against terrorism,” he said. “We are determined to stand side by side with our allies in this respect, there is no doubt about that.”
- Or, to put it more succinctly:
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