On May 9th we will be celebrating Europe Day. Since i won't be around here, i'm startin' the party early I didn't actually know where to post this, so i made a whole new topic just to show EUrope some much deserved love cause these days i'm embracing, not losing my identity. If anybody else cares to join me, fine, if not, i'm more than capable of and equipped for dancing by myself lol.
For a few days now i've had this crazy idea about what the world would look without Europe. It dawned on me how precious and how important we truly are for world History and heritage.
Beyond all our mistakes over the millenia – everything from crusades, to colonialism, religious wars and strife between nations and ethnicities, Eurocentrism and all other sins we might have committed against others or against ourselves – the world as it is today cannot possibly be conceived without Europe. Just take a look at this map and make an exercise of imagination. Take Europe out of the it.
What would History have been without us? Everything from Greek philosophy to Roman genius, from the craftmanship of Michelangelo and Leonardo to the mastery of words of Goethe, Pushkin or La Fontaine, from French wine to Italian fashion, from German bakeries to Greek olive oil – all of this and plenty more would have been lost.
For better or for worse, the Americas and Australia are extensions of Europe. Of course these continents and all the countries that make them up have developed marvelous identies and cultures of their own – especially my home away from home, the U.S. - but their roots and great part of their heritage is of European origin.
We represent only about 8% of the world's surface and we are second to last when it comes to population among the worlds' continents. Yet, the 740 million Europeans which inhabit the continet, with over 500 million of us united in an unprecedented and unparalleled social and political experiment called the European Union, are an unshakable and irreplaceble part of the world scene.
I guess we are just another example, although at a different scale than that of the individual (as it has happenned with many saints) of the Lord's brilliance and magnificance. He loooves to work with miniscule and apparently insignificant entities in order to fulfill His grand plans. For all our mistakes while spreading it, Christianity itself could not be the world's first religion without Europe.
Also, it is quite beautiful to notice that the world's smallest state - the Vatican, is the source of hope and inspiration (don't care for no vile jokes or anti-Christian propaganda stemming from conspiracy crap some might be tempted to attempt after reading this) for one billion Catholics the globe over. One cannot help but love Jesus' sense of proportion.
It does pain me to see Europe losing its Christian roots. The statistics about church attendance all over the continent, the low number of priestly vocations as well as the huge number of people declaring themselves atheists are frightful indicators of how morally destitute we are becoming. As in all plans of the Providence, the election of Pope Benedict XVI is not a coincidence, but even he, with all his efforts and his grace cannot compensate for the lack of faith of so many. He needs our help in order to breath a renewed Christian life over an old and tired continent. I am convinced this can and should be accomplished without hurting the sensitivities and the rights of people of other faiths or those without any.
By chance i found this very good opinion piece from quite some time ago. It revolves around the role and the importance of the E.U. It rightfully points out that the Union is not in any real danger of dissolution. If that were the case, not only would Europe fall back into its ole' patterns of division, warfare and animosity, but it would also destabilize the entire planet.
These days, same as it was at the moment when the article was written, the Union's leadership is being questioned as are the prospects of the Euro zone. Its quite true that our leaders have the tendency to take their time when making decisions and at times doing nothing is worse than doing something apparently wrong. It is also true that the EU aparatus is one huge bureacratic machine and most people on the continent fail to recognize the benefits of membership or be in tune with their European identity and citizenship. Notwithstanding, i'm positive all the right measures will be taken in time in order to hold together this beautiful and awesome community of nations.
I really are a citizen of this anomaly in the sea of space and i believe all countries and continents have their beautiful contributions to make to life, but these days i feel very proud to have been born in the beautiful land which is....EUrope.
The above puzzle of lines and colors holds in it some of my favorite places and people in the world. No matter where life will take me and i'm pretty sure i will get to visit a few other corners of the planet (others than the marvelous U.S. which i've already seen and i can't wait to come back 2), Europe will always be home for me.
My 'little' reflection about Europe was partially started when i ran into this next picture on my office comp which captured a lil' game i did in late October last year on the BBC News site. It was around the time when everyone was goin' crazy over the 7 billion mark for world population. I remember there were some really fascinating things from National Geographic at the subway. Returning to the site – you had to fill in your birthday, country and gender and the result would have shown you "where you fit into this story of human life?".
Nevermind the fact that i don't believe our identities are defined by numbers. Any sort of statistic like that brings back awful reminders of Nazi tactics. Also that number cannot possibly be accurate since soooo many other children were born on the same day all over my country, but it was a fun exercise to engage in anyhow.
The question of who and what i am has always been important to me. As any other human being i have overlapping and at times conflicting identities. For example, with my own country and citizenship i've often had a tortured relationship ranging from complete rejection of it to great pride and all other nuances in between. For my parents i'm a daughter and for the rest of my family a member, for folks at work i'm a colleague, for my friends (especially those that i keep in touch so 'often' they gotta ask me if i'm still alive lol) a real pest, for some i may be a dream come true and for some others their worst nightmare, but to whom it matters most, to God – i'm only one other child of His trying to make the best of some rather nasty situations.
And since we are talkin' online quizzes and stuff. Here's another, from Facebook this time around and from a few years back. It turns out, among all the other things i are i'm also'angel Michael' lol. Some called it 'funny'. I would have used another word, but like they said, it fit with my personality. I really ain't scared to stand up and face my enemies, however powerful they may be, in the physicial or spiritual realms. But i've also learnt from Sting to avoid them when i can.
I've rambled moreee than enough. I believe it's high time we got some samples of that awesome European art i was mentioning in the beginnin'.
Just kiddin' of course. I said i saw the US, but that would be unfair to such a diverse country. I've only seen a bit of California, but there'll be time for seeing the rest of it as well. Here are some European artists whose work i've always admired (as well as their country) and whose catalogue i've been using in rather surprising ways lately. Here are the Corrs with Runaway.
If it weren't for the radio playin' the song while i was writin' this scroll, i would have forgotten about lil' Mike's EUphoria song. The lyrics and the whole vibe are quite appropriate to describe my current mood – euphoric to be European. Lord willingly, it will last a long time, both the sense of happiness and the pride about Europe lol.
Beyond all else i may or may not be, at the end of the day i'm just an European gal wit an American dream ;)