Reports of the recent case of a 7-year-old Russian boy stuck on a plane on his own and shipped back to his homeland by his U.S. adoptive parents over his “psychopathic” behavior have caused outrage in Russia.
"It is a monstrous deed on the part of his adoptive parents, to take the kid and virtually throw him on an airplane in the opposite direction... It is not only immoral, but also against the law," Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told ABC News.
But there was one very significant detail that Medvedev failed to mention.
The kid, who before he left for a new life in the U.S. went by the perfectly good Russian name of Artyom, was renamed Justin by his new family in Tennessee.
As anyone who has been to school in an English-language speaking country will tell you, the vast majority of Justins are wusses who are inevitably the first to get stomped on when the bell goes for home time.
“On a rating of one to 10, with 10 the highest, I would say the name Justin is an eight on the wuss scale,” David Burghardt, a U.S. expat in Moscow told RIA.
Culture shock can be a tough thing for even well-adjusted adults to deal with, let alone a pre-teen child who has been taken away from his mother (unfit or not) and sent to another continent to learn an entirely alien way of life.
So not only did the family expect this abused kid from Russia’s Far East who spoke almost no English to fit smoothly in with their routine, they also found it necessary to tell him, straight off the plane, “Hey Artyom, forget the last seven years. You are now…Justin.”
No wonder he went mental.
It’s not even as if the kid, once he had got his head round the Western media babble that confronted him in the States, could point to some cool pop or film star also burdened with the name Justin.
In fact, apart from that great wuss icon Justin Timberlake (who, oddly enough, also hails from Tennessee) there are no Justins of note. (Well, for our British readers there is Justin Fashanu, the only ever openly gay English soccer player, but I guess Artyom can be glad that the Americans aren’t that up on the beautiful game.)
Without overstating my point, it’s hard to comprehend what possessed Justin/Artyom’s new ma to do such a thing. Was the “your new identity is…” routine an attempt to help their new son make a clean break with the past? Or perhaps they had just always dreamt of a little Justin of their very own? I guess we will never know.
But why didn’t they just call him Art? After all, if you are going to lumber a child with an embarrassing name, you may as well give him one that sounds a bit like his own.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.
MOSCOW, April 13 (Marc Bennetts for RIA Novosti)