While walking around in Arequipa, we stopped at one of the many vending ladies that had a big blanket spread out on the stairs with all her necklaces, keychains, and what not on it. My boyfriend wanted to buy himself a necklace. He’s been looking around for the last few days. While he let the woman show and explain him what she had, I was taking a look at the other things. And found a passport that said “Republica Independente de Arequipa” on it.
I wondered what that could mean and why this lady was selling it as a tourist souvenir. Then she told me something I was quite familiar with. Arequipa is a big city, the second biggest in Peru to be exact, and with its department located in the south of Peru. They don`t like being ruled from the big city of Lima and neither do they like being second. That`s why years back in time the urge for being independent was so strong that there we even passports produced. The woman told me that it was never serious but people were talking and even protesting about it and now see it as a joke. For example say that when there is a football game of Lima vs. Arequipa they say it is actually Peru vs. Arequipa, or something like that.
I found it funny, because that is exactly the kind of rivalty I was used to from Europe. Whole provinces want to become independent from a country, like you see it all over Europe. The reasons are the same. They feel like they are getting only a tiny bit of the pie and the more powerful side is exploiting them. Or they are paying too much into a government that isn`t helping them after all. In case of Arequipa I understand it a little bit like this – the city is much more developed in terms of safety, infrastructure and just the lifestyle is a lot different, it is almost a Spanish city. At least that is what I feel. Why then be dependent from Lima? I think all those independence-seeking places in the world have a point. Of course it is not easy to decide over huge regions from one city where there is mostly no understanding about what is actually happening somewhere else in the country. But there is definitely a better solution than seperation, because there is also the question about what would happen to the place if it were independent. Wouldn`t it make things harder and a lot more complicated?
As long as there are countries, provinces, religions and so on in this world the fights between each other will never stop. It`s a good thing to be a little patriotic and proud of your country etc. And when you tell strangers about it there should be a little shine in your eyes. I love to talk about Austria all the time! But is it worth it to start a fight over it? Because of a football game? Or something that happened in the past? *hint WW2
In the end of the day we are all just independent people with different opinions, values and interests, our heritage doesn`t define our personality. All that matters is that you are happy with what you have and what you do with your life.
Trying to be superior doesn`t make you happy! Not even for a minute.
Eventually, my Lars bought himself a necklace with a shark tooth and I got something to think about as we continued walking around the artistic streets of Arequipa.