Sunday, November 30, 2008
"Media And A So-Called European Identity"
Heated discussions in Berlin, about whether "European Identity" actually exists, or not. There are attempts to create a European public sphere... attempts, nothing more yet, as they do not reach most of the European citizen at all. The average German is not really interested in Europe. Newspaper articles about local concerns, then some national politics, and then let's move to sports and satire. People try to change that, try to give EU politics a legitimation, because if there is no European public, a European government wouldn't be democratic. I am very curious about how and when and if this development will progress.
Personally (and from about two seminar-texts and one Sunday morning of pondering over that issue) I think, you are just European if your life happens outside Europe... remembering moments of mutual understanding without words with people from Spain or Slovakia or Austria or England during my time in the States. Back in Europe, I am pretty sure I am not Spanish at all, and there are quite some differences between Germans and English people, too. Living in the UK, I felt pretty German at times.
Then again there is the still very dominant local life, your own town/ city/ village/ block. Then you are for example a South-Berliner or a Kreuzberger, and hell, no, not a Charlottenburger... northern block Friedrichshainer, not southern block Friedrichshainer, entirely different world there, isn't it?
So why bother about Bruxelles? Well, of course, EU right beats national right and a hell lot of taxes are on their way there now. And of course we are fighting pirates together in god-knows-where, aren't we? Minor details many just don't realize?
So Europe tries hard to be an identity issue. We want to be "American" again, in a sense that we understand ourselves as ONE nation/generation.. but how, if there's a totally different history? No mutual frontier myth, no mutual European Dream myth, no mutual civil war and Independence Day, no fighting for mutual freedom, no mutual dirrrrty past like slavery and exterminated Indian tribes. No, over here, every national state carries its very own cross. Well, several mutual enemies are there though.. and apparently also several mutual values to be shared and preserved? First step? Not sure about that one. And not sure whether a genuine Euro-Identity is necessary for peaceful living on this continent. Do I have to be European in order not to fight against the French?
And of course there are some great differences in the States as well... being from Texas or being from New Jersey can be the same difference as Earthling-Martian at times.
I very much like the idea of the book being THE European medium though. Good point that guy made.