Wednesday, 22 July 2015

The economy is not everything...

Besides bringing to these pages examples of what we consider an unfair EU labour market, we want as well to highlight the rich cultural European tradition of cosmopolitanism beyond the limited space of local borders and traditions.

It is our belief that, since 1945, if not since old great Europe's last breath in 1918, this continent has become obsessed with what separates its different cultures, and not with what unites them. The worship of the local village in an increasingly impersonal world has been kept alive mostly by stressing negative stereotypes about the Other.

And yet, love of one's culture is compatible with the interest and appreciation of other cultural traditions. Is it really worse to speak a foreign language with an accent than not speaking any foreign language at all? Do the rush to defend one's culture hide in some cases shameless local preference?

In these days of raising xenophobia, but we must admit often a very well-hidden one, we will be posting fragments of European culture that has made us richer as individuals.

And how not to think of Old Vienna before the Great War? For a short time, individuals of many different cultural origins, lived, worked and loved together in that great city, making it go through an age so ripe with talent and creation, that we still have to go back to the artists of that time to understand, and even just to be able to tolerate, the world we are living in.

In Joseph Roth's masterpiece Radetzkymarsch (1932), the doubtful progress of petty nationalism is summarized by the need to have several passports stamped to go from Lemberg (today Lviv in Ukraine) to Trieste (today in Italy), while until 1914 none was needed!

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