Another European country has followed in the footsteps of the United States and United Kingdom, and a fairly right-wing party is in power. This time it’s Australia.
Wait, Australia? You meant Austria, didn’t you? Austria is the country which has just elected Right-winger Sebastian Kurz as their leader, leading to many comparisons from those on the Left to another Austrian-born right winger, a certain tyrannical murderous despot, whose name somehow escapes me at the moment.
For too long, people have been confusing these two entirely different countries which have the unfortunate bad luck of having similar names. They’re probably not the only ones. Namibia, Gambia and Zambia face confusion—it’s likely Donald Trump mixed up these countries with his recent “Nambia” faux pas. There’s also Niger and Nigeria. Guyana and French Guiana. Libya and Liberia. Some sad souls probably mix up India and Indonesia, for that matter.
With the recent election of thirty-one year old Kurz to the highest power in Australia—I mean Austria—these mix-ups have become more common.
Some are even making jokes out of this confusion:
In Magero’s comments section, you can find a person correcting his non-mistake. We are at peak levels of internet Grammar Nazis if people are correcting mistakes that don’t even exist.
The popularity of Kurz and the Right in Austria is not the first time this confusion has occurred. Last year the government of African nation Burkina Faso issued an apology after announcing an Austrian couple had been kidnapped by Islamic militants, later stating the couple was actually Australian. In 2010, former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard was to appear at the G20 Summit in South Korea, and a figurine in her likeness was placed in traditional Austrian dress. To add extra insult, they also gave the figurine brown hair, when any Australian knows Gillard is a natural redhead.
In a gaffe that was quickly forgotten over more important news, CNN showed Americans are terrible at geography when they revealed BREAKING NEWS: Australia is building a fence on the border of Slovenia. Well, that’s interesting, considering Australia is 8,808 miles away from Slovenia. Oh wait, they meant Austria. CNN isn’t new to this lack of knowledge about anywhere that isn’t the United States. Earlier this year, a report on floods in Queensland, a state of Australia, showed Queensland as a city of Tasmania, an entirely different state. So maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that CNN thinks Slovenia borders Australia—or is that Austria?
In their 2017 annual report, Airbus reported countries they were investigating in regards to a compliance review case: Germany, Greece, the UK, Romania and Australia. Oh no, is that Australia again? Seriously people, there’s two extra letters in Australia, and they’re pronounced entirely differently. To Americans, Australia is “Orrr-straylia”, and to Australians and other normal folk, it’s “O-straya”. Austria, known to Austrians as Osterreich, is nowhere near the same. Both share their roots in Latinizations of different terms. According to curiosity.com:
How do two countries in two different hemispheres have such similar names? The name Austria is a latinization of the original old German word, “Österreich,” which translates to “eastern realm” (east of Germany). Australia is a ways away from Germany, so what gives?
Now we’ve got the differences down pat, maybe it’s time to get back to the important business. Oh, right, that name on the tip of my tongue! There are relatively few similarities between Hitler and Kurz, other than they’re Austrian-born, and they both took control of parties founded by other people. Until Kurz starts killing of his political rivals and puts laws in place to kill off his equivalent to the Jews, you don’t have anything to worry about. Jeez, can we go two seconds without calling someone we disagree with Literally Hitler?
Maybe it’s easier to deal with the Austria/Australia confusion.