At the origin of Europe: a union against nature

At the origin of Europe: a union against nature


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While flocking inside the Council building, journalists and eurocrats pass in front of a modernistic statue adorning the entrance of the Justus Lipsius headquarters of the EU Council of Ministers in Brussels. There flies Europa, lasciviously riding her mighty bull!

Even those Eurofanatics who delight in discussing the merits of the Common Agricultural Policy and who can recite all the EU acronyms spelling them backwards (question: what does EFTA stand for? ) usually pass under silence the very origin of the name “Europe”!… Just another Greek erotico-pastoral fantasy? Not so, for in Greek mythology Europa was a foreigner, a Phoenician (a Levantine, a Middle-Easterner, yes!) damsel who inspired the love of the supreme Greek god Zeus, who approached her in the form of a huge white bull, carried her away and…united himself to her in an unspeakable manner!…

Then take the borders of Europe. Europeans have been ripping out each other’s guts for the whole duration of the last millennium, and then continued arguing, after the French Revolution, about the essence of Europe, but they still cannot define the limits of their own continent. A common truism goes: Europe ends where Asia begins… But where really is that? Do they flow smoothly one into another? Is there any overlapping, a grey area where Europe is not so European anymore and where Asia starts — barely convincingly in the beginning, and then resolutely becoming different?

If in the West the situation is indisputably simple: Europe ends by itself, choked by the ocean, in the East one needs a great deal of fantasy –or stubbornness– in order to draw a clear line. For if the Russians are European, then Europe ends in Vladivostok, and spans over all of Siberia and Central Asia.

Some years ago, the Council of Europe daringly defined the cultural borders of Europe. Certainly, one would say, the Council of Europe was the right forum for such a debate and its decision must carry some weight. Alas, the Council used hybrid criteria, at the same time geographical and cultural. The artificial definition adopted by the Council of Europe stated that Europe spreads to Istanbul, to the Ural mountains, and in the south to the Caucasus. That means Kalmykia and Chechnya are part of Europe, while Georgia and Armenia are not!…

And then there are the voices of those who argue in favour of the “European vocation” of Israel. After all, they say, this is a country built by European colonists… on the very lands where lived Europa, daughter of the king of Phoenicians, before being so resolutely given another destiny by the mighty bull.

One wonders how many of the thousands of Eurocrats and tourists passing daily in front of the monument figuring Europa and the Bull are aware of the fact that at the beginning of their beloved Europe lies a union against nature?

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