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Old 09-24-2007, 08:59 AM   #21
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Originally posted by LJT
What does bind you to the people of rural Texas culturally? Same anthem and flag? It's not really much when you think about it....I don't think the US is any better Europe at creating a common cultural identity, people in the US still obviously tie themselves back to the old homeland ie. Irish-American. What is an American? What are his or her ties to every other American?

whole courses of study at the graduate level are dedicated to this topic, but the fact remains that as culturally isolated as i feel from the rural Texans we filmed, there are certain things we share, certain symbols we respond to, certain commonalities we all share. i'd probably have much more fun at a dinner party with a bunch of Londoners or Parisians than these people, so you're right -- there's really not miuch that ties us (me and the texans) together, except for a few very overt displays of national identity that seem to be more than enough to keep this country together. i'm merely suggesting that there's much Europe can learn from the North American experiments. i'm not saying this will be easy, or it's obvious, or that there's no reason for European provincialism -- i know where it comes from and why it's there. i am saying, that as a matter of survival, it's time a European Identity was created.

so, yes, i will say that North America is much, much better at the creation of this common identity. it's slightly different in the US than it is in Canada, but both countries are generally quite successful at maintaining a set of rather abstract national characteristics that enable both the ease of immigration as well as allow the most disparate populations on earth to find a sense of belonging to a greater nation. in many ways, this is the triumph of the "New World" (for all it's myriad faults). the ties to the homeland -- Ireland, India, China, Brazil -- are more cosmetic than anything, and generally speaking, are quite positive and create what might be called American "culture" (insofar as it lacks a native, from-blood-and-soil culture ... the issue of the American Indian is something quite different, and quite complex). everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day. everyone has a margarita on Cinqo De Mayo. everyone adores good Italian food.

i will say that i think the most interesting comment in this thread was the poster who said that the Flems and the Walloons probably have a greater attachment to a European Identity than to a Belgian identity. that's quite interesting to me.

People the world over need to recognise each other's humanity more, rather than having to manufacture some false identity.
i agree, mostly, but what is Europe going to do? can the status quo continue? can you afford to not intergrate into a genuine European Union? can you afford to have a growing, dispossessed, unassimilated minority sitting for generations in suburban ghettos?

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Old 09-24-2007, 03:26 PM   #22
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Of course we can't but I don't think it is much to do with having to create a European identity...a change in attitude is needed in how many Europeans decide who is German, Irish or French...It will take time though, a European identity would have to evolve in Europe not be created like the American one was (I do not mean that as a slur in anyway against being American, or to denigrate it, or that Europe is better because of it.) Europe has been about evolution, America revolution, the states were created to be much more malleable than any European state.

I personally would not find much value in a manufactured European identity, it's a bit like the British non-existent identity, everyone is Scottish, Welsh or English, very few people would ever say they are British first and foremost.

I don't neccessarily agree with your bleak assessment of what could happen to Europe....nations are clamouring to get into the EU, Turkey most notably. Human rights issues aside, probably the main reason member states aren't that happy with Turkey's application is that it ain't a wee state lookin for protection , if it enters it enters as one of the big boys, so there is some stupidity working along those lines in the EU that will hold it back.

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Old 09-24-2007, 03:52 PM   #23
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Originally posted by Irvine511

i will say that i think the most interesting comment in this thread was the poster who said that the Flems and the Walloons probably have a greater attachment to a European Identity than to a Belgian identity. that's quite interesting to me.

I'm Flemish and I value my Eropean identity a lot more than I value my Belgian identity (or my Flemish identity). I'm proud to be European, but, especially at this moment, I'm definitly not proud to be Flemish or a Belgian.

The problem with a European identitiy is also that we don't have a true spokesperson. The EU is a beaurocratic instition, that, although it is explained to me over 10 times, I still don't fully understand. The decisions that are being made by the Eu never get a lot of media attention and people don't see any immediate impact. I know more about the American government than I do about the European government.
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Old 09-28-2007, 11:41 AM   #24
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I do agree that the lack of insight in the European Government is what's keeping European integration behind
“Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.”
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Old 07-16-2008, 09:22 AM   #25
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Belgium's government collapsed Tuesday, unable to resolve an enduring divide over more self-rule for the country's Dutch and French-speakers. The gap was so wide the premier suggested the end of Belgium as a country was looming.

King Albert II immediately began political discussions with lawmakers to try to resolve the situation, talks expected to take several days. He did not formally accept the resignation of government offered by Premier Yves Leterme late Monday, so Leterme's government stays on in a caretaker capacity for now.

In an unusual declaration, the premier said Belgium's constitutional crisis stems from the fact that "consensus politics" across Belgium's widening linguistic divide no longer works.

"The federal consensus-model has reached its limits," Leterme said.

Leterme failed to get his cabinet — an unwieldy alliance of Christian Democrats, Liberals, Socialists and nationalist hard-liners from both language camps that took office March 20 — to agree on a future together by devolving more federal powers to the Dutch-speaking Flanders and Francophone Wallonia.

Francophone parties expressed surprise that Leterme threw in the towel. Vice-premier Didier Reynders urged him to stay on, saying the government must go ahead with its social and economic program. Elio di Rupo, leader of the Francophone Socialists, said the constitutional reform negotiations were held in a "constructive, positive climate."

But mainstream Flemish parties — including Leterme's own Christian Democrats — accused French-speaking parties of not negotiating in good faith.

Granting Belgium's Dutch and French-speaking communities more self-rule began, gradually, in the 1970s, in such areas as culture, youth affairs and sports. Since then education, housing, trade, tourism, agriculture and other areas were shifted from the federal government and Flanders, Wallonia and bilingual Brussels were given regional governments and parliaments.

Now Francophone parties accuse Dutch-speakers of trying to separate themselves completely from French-speaking Wallonia, where the 15 percent unemployment rate is triple that of Dutch-speaking Flanders.

Flemish parties want their more prosperous, Dutch-speaking northern half of the country to be more autonomous by shifting corporate and other taxes, some social security measures, transport, health, labor and justice matters to the language regions.

Mainstream Flemish politicians say there is room for more regional autonomy in one country but hardline nationalist parties in Flanders advocate the breakup of Belgium.
Belgium government collapses - Europe -
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Old 07-16-2008, 01:03 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Vincent Vega View Post
Concerning cultural identity I can recommend this little flash film:

I'm going to Italy every year and like everything in this film is right...
I love stopping at a crosswalk and see the angry face of the other driver + the walker's unbelieving look ...LOL
and yes bureaucracy is also awesome! I had to go to the police cause someone damaged my car. but you can't just go to 'the police'...nobody wants you, so you can try carabinieri, polizia stradale, polizia municipal etc...
Anyway, sometimes I think a lot of things are so different in daily life, but I have much more in common with them as I thought. For example, that Berlusconi is back now; everyone thinks like : those italians! But the thruth is, that I only hear complaints, people whining everything is corrupt even their beloved football (soccer) is lost in corruption. But the people are great, I like them! I pity them, they deserve better! They always try to make the best out of the worst situation.
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Old 07-16-2008, 01:26 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Irvine511 View Post
i really should read more about this before i respond, but i lived in Belgium (lived, worked, paid taxes, etc.) and the linguistic/cultural divide astonished me. it struck me as European provincialism at its absolute worst.

[q]“We are two different nations, an artificial state created as a buffer between big powers, and we have nothing in common except a king, chocolate and beer”[/q] I'll never get that.
I live at the border triangle ( germany, holland and belgium). I went to an elementary school which was in holland but it was more like a german school with german teachers and most kids were german. But we always had like 5 oder 6 dutch/ french speaking belgian kids in our classes. They didn't communicate cause one does not speak french or dutch. (not that they could speak any german) How could they be 'so different' but living in a country that is as big as this city, we often asked that!
Now, a few years later, visible economic devision and highly astable governments doesn't make it all easier...

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