Every time I start thinking about you, a parallel slalom starts in my head. I both like, and dislike, the names of the competitors in this sporting event, the result of which is unpredictable because, it seems, there is no finish to it. We are destined to be with each other, to pursue this Sisyphean task of climbing and descending the same hillside, always in two tracks. This is a run that one can follow from left to right, from one row to the other or the other way around, from right to left, and from what we don’t like to what we do like about you. The marks that are left behind by these parallel streams of thought are shaped as both an ode and a lamentation, and can be read either way. Both streams are equally worthy. Only the content, as well as the flags down the run and the style of skiing change with time. So, take your place in the audience.
Ready, set, go – Europe!
to believe that from inside you we can make changes that will affect not just us but the rest of the world.
your capital cities when their names sound like those of Babylon and Alexandria once did.
your revolutions and torn down Bastilles.
to think that the European space is truly without borders, although we still haven’t achieved that goal.
the way I miss you when I’m in America.
the idea that you are an open continent, that your borders are not limited by seas or mountain ranges.
to see the web that your rivers have created, like lines on the palm of a hand. From these, following the Rhine and the Danube, we can read your destiny.
the fact that you have lost all your empires on other continents; you should have stayed at home.
the fact that we think about you most intensely, that we sense you most strongly, when living onyour edges – the places that are already turned towards other continents, like Constantinople, St Petersburg, Edinburgh, Sicily or Cordoba.
the fact that your true representatives are those who cannot call any of your corners their own, because they are at home in your entirety: all those nomads, mongrels, hybrids, travellers, people with no country, polyglots and Romanies.
the fact that we can imagine you, never sure of what you really are, what the meaning of your name might be, or even what you are supposed to be… and the fact that we recognise you, oh so well, the moment we leave you behind.
the fact that you could embrace millions of people and that they could still feel at home.
the fact that I know you, even if you will never truly know me.
I guess it might be because of your lack of interest, or your prejudice, insolence and notion (historically wrong) that your centre lies in the North-West.
to keep finding a part of you everywhere in the world, as well as finding the world within you – and not as some independent part of your landscape, but as an inseparable part of yourself without which you would, today, be worthless.
the fact that your best literature is European. How could one write nationally, anyway?
the bare-knuckle boxing match I have with you, where the punches we throw at each other are fierce, just like the hugs.
these things about you, even when they remind me fo things that
I don’t particularly like…
|I don’t like…|
your arrogance and your indifference towards abject poverty, not just within your boundaries, but also beyond them.
those ficticious North-South, West-East axes, that turn geographical parameters into acts of fate.
the creation of visible and invisible walls at your borders, or within yourself.
the fact that fragmentation is often the end result of your unification methods.
it when you divide things into ‘old’ and ‘new’.
the myths about your origin; they are useless.
the fact that you have looted half of the world and displayed the bounty in big-city museums. Today these objects are a testament to your shamelessness and the compromised nature of your name.
the fact that you leave people to drown near your shores.
the fact that EU is your synonym, because I still believe that you are something more than that.
your nationalism, the one that boasts about Europeanism.
the fact that you betrayed both the Spanish Republic and Sarajevo.
it when you subject everything to market forces – it wasn’t always like that.
the shiny helmets of your Conquistadors on the slopes of the Andes.
it when your turn your back to the Southern coasts of the Mediterranean, in spite of the fact that the Mediterranean is impossible to divide.
tha fact that you gave the world the concept of concentration camps.
it when you try to define yourself. When you try to define who, or what, has the right to be European (or not) and what is meant by ‘non-European’.
it when your governments arm themselves in order to defend their elite from people like us.
it when my travelling companion goes to the EU queue and I go the one marked ‘Others’ – and then he has to wait for me.
it when you think of yourself like a centre, while all the while you are nothing but a narrow cape.
the fact that the ‘heart of darkness’ is always someone else, somewhere else.
it when I only think negative thoughts about you. Then I have to go right back to the beginning and choose another track. I think about those things that, when I hear your name
I actually do like…