They say each time lightning strikes in Argentina, everybody looks up and smile. Why? Because they think God is taking their picture. A Mexican asks an Argentinean for a light. The Argentiniean starts to ceheck his pockets, one by one, front and behind. When he's done checking, he says: 'No, I don't have but... am I good looking or what'?
Are we arrogant? Many, but not all, yes. And here's why.
Argentina is the only country in the American Continent that eliminated its Indians, those that used to cover the vast land up until de arrival of Christopher Columbus and his folks in 1492.
The region was populated by Indians, many of whom lived in the South, in what is known today as Patagonia. Other live in the pampas and the rest in the North, by the Andes.
Ranqueles, Mapuches, Diaguitas and Tehuelches used to hunt to survive, riding their wild horses all over the place. All of that changed with the arrival of the 'white man', to the point of extermination.
The climax was during the Desert Campaign, the extermination plan put together by General Julio Argentino Roca in 1870. The idea was to erase the Indians from the face of the Earth.
In the name of civilization, they founded towns, built fortresses and killed the Indians. Literally.
Years later they dug up a ditch, known as the Alsina Ditch, that separeted them from the Indians. Many Indians surrendered but hundreds of thousands died at the hands of the soldiers.
The land ended up desolated and the government saw the need to attract labor. During the 1900's, there was a huge migration of Italians, French, Spanish and Germans, eager to leave behind the horror of war and ready to start a new life.
This is why many Argentines has no deep connection with anything related to the indigenous, the Indians. The Argentine has European blood in his veins, which may have lead him or her to believe that they are different from the rest, South of the Rio Grande.
This has put the Argentines in an ackward position from which they see the rest. And they are somewhat different. Buenos Aires is like no other Latin American city in the Continent, with its architecture, cafes and art galleries.
The average Argentine goes upfront, with no hesitation. He or she is an entrepenuer. This does not mean that everything they do ends up the way they wanted. No.
The Argentine feels different and as a result, has been puting into practice a subtle discrimination against the rest, maybe unconsciouslly.
And in Buenos Aires is where this happens with more frecuency. The 'porteños', as the folks who live there are known, are much more arrogant than the people from the interior. And the blame for the fame lays at their feet. They are the ones that come into contact more with foreigners, turists.
I hear a joke aboyut Argentineans and I laugh. What Superman and a humble Argentinean have in common? The fact that they don't exist.
It makes me laugh. But not that much.