The world is only one country

The people in other countries are no different from us, when it comes right down to it.

by Shirley Osborne — 

The Italians have a saying, “Tutto il mondo e’ paese” — all the world is one country. By this, they mean that all the countries in the world are the same as the one in which we live. The people in other countries are no different from us, when it comes right down to it.

People from other countries do the same things we do, both good and bad. They feel the same things we feel, be that happy or sad. Just like us, they are born, they live, and they die. In between, they experience sadness and joy, and love and fear; they learn and get sick; they marry and have children; they are as good as everybody else and as evil as everyone else. They are just the same as we are.

Meleager, a first century b.c.e. Greek writer of epigrams, said the same thing. “We all dwell in one country, O stranger, the world.” In this one-world country where we all live, inequality is a matter of the mind. It is only the differences in mental equipment, believed British archaeologist, Jacquetta Hawkes, that keep people apart, and that breed feelings of inferiority.

If, on our personal journeys, we learn well, we grasp the concept that some of us are lucky. We recognize that our environment, our lessons, our teachers, our opportunities, our capabilities, our support systems were such that we were able to survive, we were able to “make it.” We also grasp the countervailing truth when we encounter others who are less fortunate — the poor, the uncouth, the homeless, the strung out, the angry, the hopeless, the evil — that there, but for the grace of God, go we.


Shirley Osborne is the founder and executive director of The Girls’ Education Project, a Phoenix-based mentoring and success-coaching organization for girls and young women. She is the author of Tolerance Is No Virtue: Ignorance, Appreciation and the Human Story. 480-766-0141 or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 5, October/November 2006.

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