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    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Timothy Garton Ash has written, in 'Free World - Why a crisis of the West reveals the opportunity of our time' (2004):

    "If I go to Warsaw, Berlin, Paris or Madrid I am abroad. If I go to Warsaw, Berlin, Paris or Madrid I am at home. This 'being at home abroad' is the essence and wonder of Europe."

    Do you agree?
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Unfortunately that statement is gibberish for (at least) two reasons.

    Firstly, people feel at home in a place because they go to that place often. I regularly go to Paris, Malaga and Moscow and so I feel at home there. I recently went to Geneva and didn't feel at all at home. The only times I felt at home in Geneva was when I was in places that I would find in the UK (like English/Irish pubs or McDonalds, these things are of course indicators of lack of diversity!).

    Secondly, I also often go to New York and feel at home there. I suspect I feel more at home in New York than I would in rural Poland so this concept of feeling at home abroad has nothing to do with Europe.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I feel at home in "old" Europe. I do not feel at home in the UK nor in the EU newcomers nor Scandinavia (excluding Finland). Those countries are still too nationalist and reject the notion of being European. They are like sons rejecting their mothers and I don't want brothers like that. (At least until they become more mature).
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Gheryando,

    "I don't want brothers like that", well unlucky, you've got them as brothers whether you like it or not, that's a thing about family, you can't choose who you get. Rather than reject your brother (which would mean you were not a very good brother) better to help your brother become better and work together on any issues you have.

    As regards "old" Europe, as Jack Straw (then UK Foreign Secretary) said in the UN Security Council debate about an Iraq resolution, Britain is "old" Europe as it was founded in 1066 by the French.

    I'm not sure how much you would feel the alledged nationalism or rejection of the EU of the nations you mention as you walk down the street, certainly I don't sense any British nationalism on London's streets, I just sense a multi-culturist and cosmopolitan community.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I first visited Europe (Paris on business) in 1975, since then I have made inumerable trips to France, Holland, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria and Germany for business .

    I have also spent holidays in all those countries plus Poland, Austria and The Czech Republic. I have also visited the US and Soth Africa both for pleasure and business over the same period.

    I have to say that whilst Europe has always felt like home, including rural Pland - my long time partner is originally from Poland - the USA often leaves me with feelings of being out of step and a long way from home.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Right...that is why I love London. You can (almost) get better Italian food in London than in Italy. Also, surely I can't choose my "brothers" but as long as they dont discover Europe for themselves, preaching will not do any justice. I acknowledge this stems from geographical reasons since Britain and Scandinavia (yes I know Denmark is still on the Continent and Sweden borders with Finland) are seperated entities. This surely contributes to their feeling of being special. It is, however, from the eyes of the continentals, a rather annoying point of view and as much as I like to feel at home in Britain like I do in France, I can't just yet.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    If a country rejects the concept of being European then it is wrong for other countries to be critical of this. That's called bullying and it's rude. Let us continue to hate Europe but like Europeans.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    gheryando,
    I'm busy now so I don't have time to comment. I very much agreed with your comparison to China on the other thread.

    However, what makes you say "I do not feel at home in the UK nor in the EU newcomers nor Scandinavia (excluding Finland). Those countries are still too nationalist and reject the notion of being European" and "as long as they dont discover Europe for themselves, preaching will not do any justice"?

    I'm not sure where you get your facts for these statements? (Perhaps other than the fact that Western Europe is still very expensive for many people from the EU newcomers.) Since I also feel targeted by your comments, let me just point out that I've been to many countries in Western Europe and have lived in some of them. If I critisize the EU, it's not out of nationalism or because I would reject the notion of being European. I think Europe a great idea but its current execution is poor and, as it is conceived now, it doesn't sufficiently benefit Europe's people and businesses.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    If I moved to France and felt at home I'd be quite upset. I could have saved my money and stayed at home. The value, interest, charm and allure of moving to a foreign country is based upon cultures, methods, attitudes and languages being different. On the other hand, there is a big difference between difficult and different. If it is very difficult to find work in France if you are not French then that's something that could be improved.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Going back to the original statement, I have to agree with GaryLondon, in so far that being "at home" has so many cultural and personal implications.
    I lived in Germany for a number of years. As I got better at the language, and language is fundamental to being able to live "abroad", the more I realised that I really understood less. From asking what did they say, to what does that mean, to where on earth are they coming from? And that wonder never went away, although I was able to accept it, embrace it and enjoy it.
    Equally, whilst I met acceptance and accommodation from Germans, I was earmarked as a foreigner as soon as I opened my mouth - and, however you cut it, was always treated as such.
    So you have to ask how TGA can truly be at home whilst abroad?
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Is it not oxymoronic to be at home whilst abroad?
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    oulematu, what I mean is that whenever I talk to Swedes or Englishmem about the EU they roll their eyes and tell me that they don't want the EU. The Swedes say they feel (at most) Scandinavian and the English say they feel at most British but they ain't got nothing to do with a Frenchman. Statements like these produce mutual feelings and I have often heard the wish from other continentals that Britain should just leave the EU if they are not happy with it. Then again, this is a rather short sighted statement and I believe the better way for Britain would be to stay in and change it the way they want it. Also, I felt very at home while in London because London is like New York, it is international. The question, I think is not so much whether you feel at home in another EU country but whether you feel welcome and whether you believe the locals share your most important values. Obviously home is only where mama lives.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Sharing values is one thing (I don't think that value sharing exists even at the national level but I don't want to get into that discussion here). Feeling welcome would be a big step forward to begin with. Unfortunately, I don't feel very welcome since a randomly chosen group of Europeans labelled for the sake of simplicity as "Eastern Europeans" are consistently portrayed in Western Europe as some kind of primitive locusts that adhere to no standards and only wish to parasite on the old member states.