Les mans Kampf – l’Europe bez peoples*

3. marts, 2010

“To put it briefly, “identity” is a concept on which a peaceful and thriving society cannot be built. Identity-based society is a society of exclusion and fight. Most often, it is the last spasm of a society, which passed its zenith and is desperately looking for a return to its glorious or inglorious past. More generally, “identity” is the symptom of our inability to accept the world as it is.”

This philosophic contemplation about national identity and structure of society is not thinking by some naive who is thrilled with ideas of communism in the beginning of the 20th century. Next quote of the “thinker” shows how close it is to nowadays:  “l’Europe des Nations” (Europe of Nations) is a relic of the past. It is the kind of Europe, which is unable to solve problems. And it is the kind of Europe, which will hardly play a significant role in the multipolar world of the 21st century. (..) The future of Europe and the European Union will be post-national or it will not exist at.”

Article De Standaard

The quotes mentioned here are from the heated article in Belgian newspaper De Standaard of 24 February, by the Leader of the European Parliament group of liberals (ALDE), the former Prime minister of Belgium and a candidate to the post of the president of the European Commission – Guy Verhofstadt. Earlier, Verhofstadt had lectured the Government of France, in French newspaper Le Monde, on how one must not solve issues of national identity in France, and has received a well-deserved response from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, Bernard Kouchner. However, being heated up now, he pays a revanche by revealing his political and philosophic views fully.

In his article, the “thinker” “punished” Johann Gottfried Herder not only for the glorification of national character, but also for his wish to squeeze words of foreign origin out of the language, for restoration of folk-songs and return to the authenticity and national history. That’s talking about Herder. Talking about those who keep thinking based on identity, Verhofstadt is very direct: “The 20th century has taught us that the ultimate consequence of thinking based on identity is the gas chambers of Auschwitz!!!”

That’s how far we are now. Everyone who strived to maintain the national idea during the occupation of Latvia, who strived against extermination of the Latvian language from the public domain, celebrated the prohibited Jāņi fest (Midsummer day), sang and still sing folk-songs, wore and still wear national costumes, fought for restoration of the independence of Latvia and everyone who wants to see all of the mentioned above in the future as well, have been labelled – actually, you are the same Nazi, and you have no room in the future Europe!

What does Verhofstadt offer instead of national identity? He has proven a thing or two in his work – during the ten years of prime ministership in Belgium, he succeeded to achieve that the country, apart from beer, national football team and the king, has no identity at all, besides – this country suffered a deep crisis of disintegration recently.

Following the article of Verhofstadt, let’s imagine what does his ideal future Europe look like: there are no countries anymore; a language spoken by Europeans contains words of different languages; there are no national costumes or music even at ethnographic museums (because they remind of identity); there are no national holidays anymore because not enough of people to whom they would have any meaning live in the same area, – true Europeans live everywhere and at the same time nowhere. Maybe also a family does not exist, in the eyes of the liberal, because family has certain relation to identity. In any case, everyone can picture him or herself the scene of the future post-national Europe which “bravely competes in the multipolar world”.

However, the most disturbing in all that is the fact that the political group lead by Verhofstadt – ALDE Group – is the third most influential one in Europe and their stand is decisive in many important political matters. And that is why his bizarre statements are not as insignificant as we would wish for.

* Simple mix of several European languages with the idea: “My fight – Europe without peoples!”

Full texts of the articles mentioned in this blog are available here:

De Standaard | english
Le Monde | english

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