Looking on what’s happening in Britain makes me increasingly dispirited and pessimistic. Already the politics in the country have turned utterly inwards – were it not for the fact she is leaving a European Union you’d have no idea Brexit had anything to do with the continent.
There is a common thread in these votes, even if when we get into the details we find several differences. That is that there are strong forces across Europe pushing highly disruptive, anti-establishment messages and ideas.
Originally posted on [the retrospect]:
In the painting above, what strikes one the most is the shadows. The imposing white building punctuated by the arches begs a thousand questions. Its stretch follows the street to its end. Terminating in what appears to be a seafront, a flag flutters as the sun either rises or descends.…
Like Tadeusz Rejtan, who desperately tried to halt the partition and disintegration of his country 1773, we must block the door of the room that is the European idea even as others begin to make their discreet or not so discreet exit. If we do not, then Europe’s slide will be unstoppable, and our great civilisation will pass to history.
Europa is the home of difference and diversity, where new influences are not added to anything but clash and conflict with each other, fighting on the great Hegelian battleground of culture, creed and beliefs. The problem is of course, when this civic conflict of words, arguments, images and sounds becomes one of bullets and bayonets; it is then that we remember why we need a United Europa.
Europa, I think we can say with certainty however, is and long has been much more than a place on a map, contrary to Bismarck’s note in 1876 (‘Qui parle Europe a tort. Notion géographique’). Certainly, we can take Metternich’s foreshadowing of this comment in 1847, with the assertion that Italy was purely a geographic notion, as a sign that Germans are apt as misjudging political and social developments on this continent.
The European Union is among the most profound achievements of the last century; in many ways, it has changed the face of Europe and its place in the world, from one of violence, strife and oppression, to a beacon of ‘peace…democracy and…prosperity’. By the fin-de-siècle, commentators were hailing the ‘New European Century’ and a ‘beacon of light in a troubled world’. The latter commentator also argued that Europe’s aim was to seek ‘harmony, not hegemony’. This raises a key question, namely, the nature of Europe’s relationship with Imperial power.