Category Archive 'From Europe'

18 Nov 2006

The European Perspective


Jeffrey Gedmin explains the European perspective on American political figures.

When some Europeans say they like Americans,they tend to mean those Americans who seem most like European Social Democrats, and even then they airbrush out inconvenient details like the fact that Bill Clinton favoured the death penalty, that Hillary voted for the Iraq war, or that John F. Kennedy, that suave and promiscuous East coast liberal was also a staunch anti-communist, who frequently quoted from the bible. George W. Bush is the full package of everything that makes Europe squirm. He is anti-elitism. He’s religion. He’s morality and muscle. He’s patriotism and self-confidence. He is very un-European. (…)

When European commentators say they are yearning for an end to American unilateralism, our moral crusades and the influence of those dreaded “fundamentalist evangelicals,” what they really mean is that they are longing for the United States to become more like Europe: secular, post-national, consensus-seeking and Social Democratic. So on to the next disappointment. Even with the Democrats, it ain’t gonna happen.”

27 Sep 2006

EU Rules Britain Must Pay Traitor (for Violating His Human Rights!)

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The Telegraph today contains an item featuring European Union Pecksniffery at its worst.

A band of seven well-grown judicial imbeciles, sitting in Strasbourg, has ruled that “the law’s delay” in attending to the efforts of Mr. (excuse me, former KGB, now SVR Colonel of Foreign Intelligence) George Blake, convicted traitor, prison escapee, and resident (since 1966) of Moscow, to reclaim frozen royalties to his autobiography on Britain’s part had breached the EU’s Human Rights Convention. The EU judges concluded that Blake suffered distress and frustration thereby, and ordered Britain to pay him âu201a¬5,000 in damages and âu201a¬2,000 in costs.

The dozens? of MI6 agents betrayed by Blake (he was rumored to have received an unprecedentedly severe 42 years sentence, representing one year for every agent killed as the result of his treachery) were not compensated.

30 Apr 2006

A Gustatory Tour of Iceland

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Wolfram Siebeck visits the infrequent tourist destination of Iceland, and experiments with the local cuisine.

Part 1 -arrival at Reykjavik.

Part 2 – whale steak, cod tongue, ‘black bird,” sheep’s head.

Maybe he should have stuck to Paris.

19 Apr 2006

Ukraine and the European Union

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European Union Commisioner, and Vice President, Günther Verheugen, in response to a journalist’s question about the future of the European Union, dismissed the aspirations of Ukraine (the largest segment of the Partitioned former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, whose Western region, Galicia, had been part of Austro-Hungary in the 19th century), subsequent to her liberation, to inclusion in the community of Eropean nations, saying, “In twenty years all European states will be members of the EU, with the exception of the successor states to the Soviet Union that are not yet part of the EU today.”

Ukrainian writer Yuri Andrukhovyh, whose novel, Twelve Rings was recently translated into German, reacted with pain and indignation in his acceptance speech for this year’s Leipzig Book Prize:

In December 2004, in that miraculous moment between the completion of our Orange Revolution and the repeated round of presidential elections, I was offered the opportunity to address the members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The essence of my speech was a plea to the parliament and the European community at large to help a certain cursed country save itself. I told them roughly what I was hoping to hear: that Europe was waiting for us, that it couldn’t do without us, that Europe would not be able to realize itself fully without Ukraine. Now it is finally clear that I was asking for too much.

Since then, fifteen months have passed and I have spent two thirds of this time among you. That is – forgive my sarcasm – in Europe. During this time I gave dozens of interviews, agreed to participate in dozens of debates, round tables and even more literary readings. In these public appearances I became the re-broadcaster of a single idea which wasn’t really that absurd – the idea that we too are in Europe. These five words are a quotation, first formulated at the end of the nineteenth century, one hundred and ten years ago. With these words the writer, essayist, and translator Ivan Franko wanted to draw the attention of thinking Europeans to the intolerably marginalized, outsider position of the Ukrainians of Galicia and of the Ukrainians generally. This is a rather painful statement, just listen to it: We too are in Europe. A lonesome call in the dark.

So, one hundred and ten years have passed, and the need to re-broadcast this slogan is still there; in fact, it has become greater. I tried to take every opportunity to talk about it, because your assistance to this cursed country in whose language I write and explain myself is of vital importance. And this assistance need not be fantastically difficult, it consists merely of one thing: not to say things that kill hope.

07 Apr 2006

On the Self-Loathing of the West

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Fjordman has an interesting. must-read essay in Gates of Vienna, reflecting on the film V is for Vendetta, and the assimilation by pop culture of the Western elite’s accessorizing of Treason as an essential fashion statement. Fjordman refers to the views

of French philosopher and cultural critic Alain Finkielkraut, who thinks that “Europe does not love itself.” Finkielkraut says that it’s not forces from outside that are threatening Europe as much as the voluntary renunciation of European identity, its wish of freeing itself from itself, its own history and its traditions, only replaced by human rights. The European Union thus isn’t just post-national, but post-European. What characterizes Europe today is the will to define itself, not from an ideology, but by dismissing any sense of identity. Europe is now built upon an oath: Never again. Never again extermination, never again war, but also never again nationalism. Europe prides itself in being nothing. According to Finkielkraut, Auschwitz has become part of the foundation of the EU, a culture based on guilt. But this is a vague ideology saying that “We have to oppose everything the Nazis were for.” Consequently, nationalism or any kind of attachment to your own country, including what some would say is healthy, non-aggressive patriotism, is frowned upon. To remember is to regret. Europe rejects its past. “European identity” is the de-identification of Europe. Of the past, we are only to remember crimes. This didn’t just happen in Germany, but in all of Europe. “I can understand the feeling of remorse that is leading Europe to this definition, but this remorse goes too far. It is too great a gift to present Hitler to reject everything that led to him.” This is said by the Jewish son of an Auschwitz prisoner.

16 Nov 2005

Eye Upon the Sparrow


A Passer domesticus or house sparrow, what we in the New World refer to as an English sparrow, and look upon as an undesirable variety of winged varmint, got into a Dutch exposition center, where he made a nuisance of himself, interfering with a domino event by knocking down dominoes that over a hundred people from twelve countries had spent more than a month setting up. Exhibition authorities brought in an exterminator, who delivered retribution via pellet gun, but the Dutch Animal Protection Agency has placed English sparrows on its Endangered Species List (what’s next? cockroaches?) and is investigated the sparricide.

16 Nov 2005

The Swiss don’t fool around


Swiss authorities have impounded 54 extremely valuable paintings loaned by Russia’s Pushkin Museum to an exhibition at the Fondation Pierre Gianadda in the Swiss town of Martigny. The paintings seized included works by Pablo Picasso, Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh and had been on exhibit at the Foundation Pierre Gianadda for five months. The property of the Russian Government is being taken on behalf of Noga, a Swiss trading firm, seeking to recover $800 million in unpaid debts associated with food for oil exchanges in 1991-1992. Noga has previously succeeded in having a Russian ship, warplanes and diplomatic property temporarily seized in France, Luxemburg, and Sweden.

The Russian Government characterized the action as a gross breach of international law.

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