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  • Last year, I went on my first book tour.

    去年,我第一次踏上簽書之旅。

  • In 13 months, I flew to 14 countries

    在 13 個月內, 我飛了 14 個國家,

  • and gave some hundred talks.

    說了幾百場演講。

  • Every talk in every country

    在每一個國家,每一次演講前

  • began with an introduction,

    都有一段講員介紹,

  • and every introduction began, alas, with a lie:

    每一次介紹都以謊言開始,唉!

  • "Taiye Selasi comes from Ghana and Nigeria,"

    「泰雅思來自迦納及奈及利亞。」

  • or "Taiye Selasi comes from England and the States."

    或「泰雅思來自英國及美國。」

  • Whenever I heard this opening sentence,

    每次我聽到這樣的開場白,

  • no matter the country that concluded it --

    不管裡面提到的是哪個國家 ——

  • England, America, Ghana, Nigeria --

    英國、美國、迦納、奈及利亞 ——

  • I thought, "But that's not true."

    我都會想,「但那不對啊!」

  • Yes, I was born in England and grew up in the United States.

    是的,我出生於英國,在美國長大。

  • My mom, born in England, and raised in Nigeria,

    我媽媽出生於英國,在奈及利亞長大,

  • currently lives in Ghana.

    現在住在迦納。

  • My father was born in Gold Coast, a British colony,

    我父親生在英國殖民地黃金海岸,

  • raised in Ghana,

    在迦納長大,

  • and has lived for over 30 years in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    然後在沙烏地阿拉伯住了 30 多年。

  • For this reason, my introducers also called me "multinational."

    因為這個原因,我的介紹人也常形容我為「跨國的」。

  • "But Nike is multinational," I thought,

    但是耐吉 (Nike) 才是跨國的,我想著,

  • "I'm a human being."

    「我是人。」

  • Then, one fine day, mid-tour,

    然後,簽書之旅的某一天,

  • I went to Louisiana, a museum in Denmark

    我到了丹麥的路易斯安納現代美術館,

  • where I shared the stage with the writer Colum McCann.

    與作家科拉姆·麥卡恩同台。

  • We were discussing the role of locality in writing,

    我們討論了「地方」對寫作有什麼作用,

  • when suddenly it hit me.

    突然間我領悟了!

  • I'm not multinational.

    我不是跨國的。

  • I'm not a national at all.

    我根本就不屬於哪個國家。

  • How could I come from a nation?

    我怎麼會來自某個國家呢?

  • How can a human being come from a concept?

    一個「人」怎麼能來自一個「概念」呢?

  • It's a question that had been bothering me for going on two decades.

    這個問題困擾了我二十年。

  • From newspapers, textbooks, conversations,

    從報紙、課本、談話中,

  • I had learned to speak of countries

    我學到我們在談國家時,

  • as if they were eternal, singular, naturally occurring things,

    好像它們是永恆、獨一、自然發生的東西,

  • but I wondered:

    但是我不懂:

  • to say that I came from a country

    說我來自某個國家,

  • suggested that the country was an absolute,

    意思是那個國家是個絕對實體,

  • some fixed point in place in time,

    時空下的某個固定點,

  • a constant thing, but was it?

    是持續不變的東西。但是真的是這樣嗎?

  • In my lifetime, countries had disappeared -- Czechoslovakia;

    在我一生中,我看過消失的國家——捷克斯洛伐克;

  • appeared -- Timor-Leste; failed -- Somalia.

    出現的東帝汶;失敗的索馬利亞。

  • My parents came from countries that didn't exist when they were born.

    我雙親的國家在他們出生時還不存在。

  • To me, a country -- this thing that could be born, die, expand, contract --

    對我而言,國家會誕生、死亡、擴張、縮小,

  • hardly seemed the basis for understanding a human being.

    實在不能拿來當作瞭解人的基礎。

  • And so it came as a huge relief to discover the sovereign state.

    所以我發現「主權國家」時真是鬆了一口氣。

  • What we call countries are actually

    我們現在所稱的國家,其實是

  • various expressions of sovereign statehood,

    「主權國家地位」的各種說法,

  • an idea that came into fashion only 400 years ago.

    這個想法在400 年前才流行起來。

  • When I learned this, beginning my masters degree in international relations,

    當我學到這一點,那時我剛開始修國際關係碩士,

  • I felt a sort of surge of relief.

    我真的覺得如釋重負。

  • It was as I had suspected.

    就像我猜想的一樣。

  • History was real, cultures were real,

    歷史是真實的,文化是真實的,

  • but countries were invented.

    但國家是人編造的。

  • For the next 10 years, I sought to re- or un-define myself,

    接下來十年,我尋求重新定義,或說從定義中釋放自己,

  • my world, my work, my experience,

    我的世界、我的工作、我的經歷

  • beyond the logic of the state.

    都超越國家這種邏輯。

  • In 2005, I wrote an essay, "What is an Afropolitan,"

    2005 年,我寫了一篇論文,「什麼是大非洲人?」

  • sketching out an identity that privileged culture over country.

    描繪一種以文化而非國家定義出的身分。

  • It was thrilling how many people could relate to my experience,

    我很興奮有很多人能認同我的經驗,

  • and instructional how many others didn't buy my sense of self.

    也很受教,因為很多人無法接受我的自我感覺。

  • "How can Selasi claim to come from Ghana," one such critic asked,

    有個評論這麼說:「泰雅思怎能自稱是迦納人,

  • "when she's never known the indignities

    如果她從未嘗過

  • of traveling abroad on a Ghanian passport?"

    拿著迦納護照出國旅行要受的屈辱?」

  • Now, if I'm honest,

    現在,如果我誠實,

  • I knew just what she meant.

    我想說我瞭解她的意思。

  • I've got a friend named Layla who was born and raised in Ghana.

    我有個朋友叫蕾拉,她在迦納出生長大。

  • Her parents are third-generation Ghanians of Lebanese descent.

    她的父母是第三代黎巴嫩裔迦納人。

  • Layla, who speaks fluent Twi, knows Accra like the back of her hand,

    蕾拉說著一口流利的方言契維語,對首都阿克拉瞭若指掌,

  • but when we first met years ago, I thought, "She's not from Ghana."

    但是我們數年前第一次見面時,我想著,「她才不是迦納人。」

  • In my mind, she came from Lebanon,

    在我心中,她是黎巴嫩人,

  • despite the patent fact that all her formative experience

    即使她過去的形成經驗

  • took place in suburban Accra.

    都在阿克拉郊區發生。

  • I, like my critics,

    我,就像評論我的人一樣,

  • was imagining some Ghana where all Ghanaians had brown skin

    想像迦納人都是棕色皮膚,

  • or none held U.K. passports.

    而且他們都沒有英國護照。

  • I'd fallen into the limiting trap

    我陷入一種設限狀態,

  • that the language of coming from countries sets --

    即我們都來自某個國家的說法,

  • the privileging of a fiction, the singular country,

    享受來自某個虛構、單一國家的殊榮,

  • over reality: human experience.

    而非現實:人類經驗。

  • Speaking with Colum McCann that day, the penny finally dropped.

    那天與科拉姆·麥卡恩的一席對談,終於讓我了解這件事。

  • "All experience is local," he said.

    「所有的經驗都與地方有關,」他這麼說。

  • "All identity is experience," I thought.

    「所有的身分都與經歷有關」,我這麼想。

  • "I'm not a national," I proclaimed onstage.

    「我不是哪國國民,」我在台上這麼宣稱。

  • "I'm a local. I'm multi-local."

    「我是某地的居民。我是跨地方的。」

  • See, "Taiye Selasi comes from the United States," isn't the truth.

    你看,說泰雅絲來自美國並非事實。

  • I have no relationship with the United States,

    我與美國沒有任何關係,

  • all 50 of them, not really.

    跟 50 州都沒有,真的。

  • My relationship is with Brookline, the town where I grew up;

    我只與布魯克林有關係,因為那是我成長的地方;

  • with New York City, where I started work;

    與紐約市有關,那是我開始工作的地方;

  • with Lawrenceville, where I spend Thanksgiving.

    與羅倫斯威爾有關,那是我度過感恩節的地方。

  • What makes America home for me is not my passport or accent,

    讓我覺得美國是家鄉的原因不是我的護照或口音,

  • but these very particular experiences

    而是這些非常特別的經驗,

  • and the places they occur.

    及這些經驗發生的地方。

  • Despite my pride in Ewe culture,

    儘管我對迦納的埃維文化,

  • the Black Stars, and my love of Ghanaian food,

    國家足球隊「黑星」引以為傲,也非常愛迦納食物,

  • I've never had a relationship with the Republic of Ghana, writ large.

    我與迦納共和國沒有任何關聯,非常明顯。

  • My relationship is with Accra, where my mother lives,

    我只與阿克拉有關聯,因為那是我母親住的地方,

  • where I go each year,

    我每年都會去,

  • with the little garden in Dzorwulu where my father and I talk for hours.

    與佐烏魯區一座小花園有關,我父親與我會在裡面聊上幾小時。

  • These are the places that shape my experience.

    這些都是塑造我經歷的地方。

  • My experience is where I'm from.

    我的經歷就是我「來自」的地方。

  • What if we asked, instead of "Where are you from?" --

    與其問「你從哪裡來?」如果我們這麼問:

  • "Where are you a local?"

    「你是哪個地方人」會如何?

  • This would tell us so much more about who and how similar we are.

    這會讓我們更加了解我們是誰,我們有多類似。

  • Tell me you're from France, and I see what, a set of clichés?

    你說你從法國來,我會看到什麼?陳腔濫調?

  • Adichie's dangerous single story, the myth of the nation of France?

    阿迪奇的單一故事的危險性,對法國的迷思?

  • Tell me you're a local of Fez and Paris,

    你說你是 (摩洛哥的) 費茲及巴黎人,

  • better yet, Goutte d'Or, and I see a set of experiences.

    或這樣說更好,你是巴黎古得多區的人,我看到的就是生活經歷。

  • Our experience is where we're from.

    我們的經驗就是我們「來自」的地方。

  • So, where are you a local?

    所以,你是哪個地方的人?

  • I propose a three-step test.

    我提議來一個三步驟測驗。

  • I call these the three "R’s": rituals, relationships, restrictions.

    我稱這些為三「R」:習慣 (rituals)、關係 (relationships) 、限制 (restrictions)。

  • First, think of your daily rituals, whatever they may be:

    首先,想一下你的日常生活習慣,不管是什麼都沒關係:

  • making your coffee, driving to work,

    煮咖啡、開車上班、

  • harvesting your crops, saying your prayers.

    收割莊稼、禱告。

  • What kind of rituals are these?

    這些是什麼樣的生活習慣?

  • Where do they occur?

    在哪裡發生?

  • In what city or cities in the world do shopkeepers know your face?

    這世界上有哪個城市或哪幾個城市有店家認識你?

  • As a child, I carried out fairly standard suburban rituals in Boston,

    我小時候在波士頓過著還算標準的郊區生活習慣,

  • with adjustments made for the rituals my mother brought from London and Lagos.

    還參雜了我母親從倫敦及拉哥斯帶來的習慣。

  • We took off our shoes in the house,

    我們在室內脫鞋,

  • we were unfailingly polite with our elders,

    我們對長輩總是很有禮貌,

  • we ate slow-cooked, spicy food.

    我們吃辣的燉菜

  • In snowy North America, ours were rituals of the global South.

    在下雪的北美,我們帶著南半球的習慣。

  • The first time I went to Delhi or to southern parts of Italy,

    我第一次去德里及義大利南方時,

  • I was shocked by how at home I felt.

    我被家的感覺嚇到。

  • The rituals were familiar.

    很熟悉的生活習慣。

  • "R" number one, rituals.

    第一個「R」,習慣。

  • Now, think of your relationships, of the people who shape your days.

    現在,想想你的關係,想想跟你的生活大有關係的人。

  • To whom do you speak at least once a week,

    你跟誰每個星期至少講一次話,

  • be it face to face or on FaceTime?

    無論是面對面或是視訊?

  • Be reasonable in your assessment;

    評估時要合理;

  • I'm not talking about your Facebook friends.

    我不是在說你的臉書朋友。

  • I'm speaking of the people who shape your weekly emotional experience.

    我是在說每星期會影響你情緒的人。

  • My mother in Accra, my twin sister in Boston,

    我在阿克拉的母親,在波士頓的孿生妹妹,

  • my best friends in New York:

    我在紐約的幾個要好朋友:

  • these relationships are home for me.

    這些關係對我就像家的感覺。

  • "R" number two, relationships.

    第二個「R」,關係。

  • We're local where we carry out our rituals and relationships,

    我們在哪裡帶著習慣過日子、產生關係,我們就是那裡人,

  • but how we experience our locality

    但是我們對某地的經驗

  • depends in part on our restrictions.

    也部分受我們的限制所影響。

  • By restrictions, I mean, where are you able to live?

    我所謂的限制,是指你能住在哪裡?

  • What passport do you hold?

    你有哪國的護照?

  • Are you restricted by, say, racism, from feeling fully at home where you live?

    你是否受像種族主義的限制,所以住的地方沒有太像家的感覺?

  • By civil war, dysfunctional governance, economic inflation,

    是否受內戰、政局失衡、經濟通脹限制,

  • from living in the locality where you had your rituals as a child?

    所以你不能住在小時候培養出習慣的地方?

  • This is the least sexy of the R's,

    這是三「R」中最不迷人的一個,

  • less lyric than rituals and relationships,

    比習慣與關係更難娓娓道出,

  • but the question takes us past "Where are you now?"

    但是這個問題能帶我們超越「你現在住在哪」,

  • to "Why aren't you there, and why?"

    到「你現在為什麼不住在那裡?為什麼?」

  • Rituals, relationships, restrictions.

    習慣、關係、限制。

  • Take a piece of paper

    拿一張紙,

  • and put those three words on top of three columns,

    把這三個詞寫在三欄的最上面,

  • then try to fill those columns as honestly as you can.

    然後盡可能誠實填滿這三欄。

  • A very different picture of your life in local context,

    一個全然不同的你,你在某地生活的樣子,

  • of your identity as a set of experiences,

    你以經歷界定出的身分,

  • may emerge.

    可能因此出現。

  • So let's try it.

    所以來試一下吧!

  • I have a friend named Olu.

    我有個朋友叫歐路。

  • He's 35 years old.

    他 35 歲。

  • His parents, born in Nigeria, came to Germany on scholarships.

    他的父母在奈及利亞出生,用獎學金到德國。

  • Olu was born in Nuremberg and lived there until age 10.

    歐路出生於紐倫堡,十歲前都住在那裡。

  • When his family moved to Lagos, he studied in London,

    他家搬到拉哥斯時,他在倫敦讀書,

  • then came to Berlin.

    然後去了柏林。

  • He loves going to Nigeria --

    他很愛去奈及利亞──

  • the weather, the food, the friends --

    因為天氣、食物、朋友──

  • but hates the political corruption there.

    但是他討厭當地的政治腐敗。

  • Where is Olu from?

    所以歐路是哪裡人?

  • I have another friend named Udo.

    我還有另一位朋友叫烏都。

  • He's also 35 years old.

    他也是 35 歲。

  • Udo was born inrdoba, in northwest Argentina,

    烏都生在阿根廷西北方的科爾多瓦,

  • where his grandparents migrated from Germany, what is now Poland,

    他的祖父母在戰後從德國──現稱波蘭

  • after the war.

    ──遷移到那裡

  • Udo studied in Buenos Aires, and nine years ago came to Berlin.

    他烏都在布宜諾斯艾利斯讀書,九前年到了柏林

  • He loves going to Argentina -- the weather, the food, the friends --

    他很愛去阿根廷,因為天氣、食物及朋友,

  • but hates the economic corruption there.

    但他討厭那裡的經濟腐敗

  • Where is Udo from?

    所以烏都是哪裡人?

  • With his blonde hair and blue eyes, Udo could pass for German,

    因為他金髮碧眼,你大概會說烏都是德國人,

  • but holds an Argentinian passport, so needs a visa to live in Berlin.

    但是他卻拿阿根廷護照,所以需要簽證才能住在柏林。

  • That Udo is from Argentina has largely to do with history.

    那位從阿根廷來的烏都與歷史大有關係

  • That he's a local of Buenos Aires and Berlin,

    說他是布宜諾斯艾利斯及柏林人

  • that has to do with life.

    卻跟他的生活有關

  • Olu, who looks Nigerian, needs a visa to visit Nigeria.

    歐路看起來像奈及利亞人,卻需要簽證才能去奈及利亞

  • He speaks Yoruba with an English accent,

    他說的非洲優魯巴話帶著英國腔,

  • and English with a German one.

    而他說的英文卻帶著德國腔

  • To claim that he's "not really Nigerian," though,

    但是如果你說他不是「真」奈及利亞人,

  • denies his experience in Lagos,

    又否定了他在拉哥斯的經歷,

  • the rituals he practiced growing up,

    否定了他成長過程的生活習慣,

  • his relationship with family and friends.

    否定了他與家人朋友的關係

  • Meanwhile, though Lagos is undoubtedly one of his homes,

    同時,雖然拉哥斯無疑是他的家園之一,

  • Olu always feels restricted there,

    歐魯在那裡總是覺得大受限制,

  • not least by the fact that he's gay.

    尤其他是同性戀這個事實

  • Both he and Udo are restricted by the political conditions

    他和烏都兩個人都受到

  • of their parents' countries,

    雙親國家的政局腐敗限制,

  • from living where some of their most meaningful rituals

    無法住在他們培養出最有意義的習慣

  • and relationships occur.

    及關係的地方

  • To say Olu is from Nigeria and Udo is from Argentina

    說歐魯是奈及利亞人,烏都是阿根廷人,

  • distracts from their common experience.

    轉移了我們對他們共同經歷的注意力

  • Their rituals, their relationships, and their restrictions are the same.

    他們的習慣、他們的關係及他們的限制都一樣

  • Of course, when we ask, "Where are you from?"

    當然,我們問「你從哪裡來」時,

  • we're using a kind of shorthand.

    我們好像在用速記法

  • It's quicker to say "Nigeria" than "Lagos and Berlin,"

    說「奈及利亞」比說「拉哥斯及柏林」要快的多,

  • and as with Google Maps, we can always zoom in closer,

    而且因為 Google 地圖,我們總是可以拉近放大來看,

  • from country to city to neighborhood.

    從國家拉近到城市再到鄰近地區

  • But that's not quite the point.

    但那不是重點

  • The difference between "Where are you from?"

    「你是哪國人」

  • and "Where are you a local?"

    與「你是哪個地方人」的差別

  • isn't the specificity of the answer;

    並非答案有多明確具體;

  • it's the intention of the question.

    而是在於問題本身的意圖

  • Replacing the language of nationality with the language of locality asks us

    將國家這種表達法以地方來取代,

  • to shift our focus to where real life occurs.

    讓我們轉移焦點到現實生活發生的地方

  • Even that most glorious expression of countryhood, the World Cup,

    即便是最能輝煌展現國家的地方,世界杯足球賽,

  • gives us national teams comprised mostly of multilocal players.

    參賽的國家球隊也是由從各地來的隊員組成

  • As a unit of measurement for human experience,

    作為人類經驗的測定單位,

  • the country doesn't quite work.

    國家沒什麼大用處。

  • That's why Olu says, "I'm German, but my parents come from Nigeria."

    那就是為什麼歐魯會說:「我是德國人,但是我的父母來自奈及利亞。」

  • The "but" in that sentence belies the inflexibility of the units,

    句子裡的「但是」反證了這種單位的不靈活,

  • one fixed and fictional entity bumping up against another.

    固定、虛構的實體彼此衝突碰撞

  • "I'm a local of Lagos and Berlin," suggests overlapping experiences,

    「我是拉哥斯及柏林人,」告訴我們重疊的經歷,

  • layers that merge together, that can't be denied or removed.

    層層交織,無法被否認或抹去

  • You can take away my passport,

    你能拿走我的護照,

  • but you can't take away my experience.

    但你拿不走我的經歷

  • That I carry within me.

    它與我密不可分

  • Where I'm from comes wherever I go.

    我從哪裡來源自於我去過哪裡

  • To be clear, I'm not suggesting that we do away with countries.

    我要說清楚,我不是建議要廢除國家

  • There's much to be said for national history,

    講國家的歷史很有道理

  • more for the sovereign state.

    講主權國家的歷史更有道理

  • Culture exists in community, and community exists in context.

    文化存在於社會,而社會存在於背景

  • Geography, tradition, collective memory: these things are important.

    地理、傳統、集體記憶:這些都很重要

  • What I'm questioning is primacy.

    我質問的是哪個是首位?

  • All of those introductions on tour began with reference to nation,

    簽書的介紹開場白都從國家開始,

  • as if knowing what country I came from would tell my audience who I was.

    好像知道我從哪個國家來就會讓讀者群瞭解我是誰

  • What are we really seeking, though, when we ask where someone comes from?

    但是,在我們問某人從何處來時,我們真正想問的是什麼?

  • And what are we really seeing when we hear an answer?

    我們聽到答案時,真正看到的什麼?

  • Here's one possibility:

    其中一個可能是:

  • basically, countries represent power.

    基本上,國家代表權力