Man Turns His Back Into A Living Geopolitical Atlas
BILL Passman has a tattooed outline of the world on his back. Every time he visits a country he gets that part coloured in. Most recently, he’s visited Russia. The whole land mass was inked a brownish red. But did he go to each of Russia’ 14 Republics? If Chechnya breaks away from the Motherland, as many of its population want, will Mr Passman get a flesh-coloured tattoo for that part of his back art or quickly book a trip there, lest his tattoo look out of date?
And what to make of the colours chosen? Borders move. It might be an idea for Mr Passman to opt for a first rendering in pastels, they being easier to cover over with a deeper colour should things change. Countries least likely to be invaded would be in darker hues; less secure ones marked in a lighter colour. Ominously, Russia is a deeper hue than Canada. The United Kingdom is the same light pinky shade as Bolivia, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. That might be symbol of how far the country has slipped in the world order.
Once upon a time, much of the world was the deep red of British Empire. In his book All the Countries We’ve Ever Invaded: And the Few We Never Got Round To, Stuart Laycock notes that Great Britain has invaded 90% of the world’s other nations. Only 22 countries have not been colonised or invaded by the British. He explains:
“Other countries could write similar books – but they would be much shorter. I don’t think anyone could match this, although the Americans had a later start and have been working hard on it in the twentieth century.”
The country most often invaded by Britain is France. On Mr Pessman’s back, France is purple, far deeper on the colour charts than GB. It bodes badly.
Of course, we might be reading too much into Mr Pressman’s tattoos. But they are conversation stater, and others will surely do likewise.