October 1, 2015
It is not a fad or a passing trend, nor the result of intrinsic infighting; just the opposite. If we examine the European history of last centuries we are portrayed with a great number of wars and bloody battles, mostly motivated by the impulse (caprice) to conquer new extended territories (read: political influence). Napoleon, Garibaldi, ….name them, where the strategists of military warfare and their objectives were geographical with no concern for the culture of populations; probably they did not even grasp the concept of the term, although the old Romans did, as they organised new-conquered territories by appointing local ‘administrators’ in the knowledge that a population managed by “one of them” was guarantee that people felt part of the Empire.
Along the years, people’s education improved as culture did, States became larger and relatively stable. Still, the Great War and World War II treaties defined borders according to gained military positions and in complete disregard to the culture of regional communities (East, West Germany, Berlin, North, South Tyrol, etc.). Culture, local communities, the human dimension were all elements not being part of military or political compromises, at least not the political weight deserved; the importance of territory was king.
Today we find ourselves in a globalised era, when products from every part of the Planet can be bought in any local supermarket and the tourist visiting a country, funnily, finds himself in trouble if thinking about a present to offer a host or a relative when back home; everything can be found everywhere!
Internet and electronic messages have washed away countries’ borders, physical as well as communication hurdles have crumbled; the topography of a country has lost importance while the sense of belonging to a community –a community with a specific culture – has increased in meaning. Old definitions such as “I am French, British, German….” have been replaced by the social identity: I am Basque, Scottish, Sicilian, Tyrolese, I am a cultural Christian, Secular Humanist, Secular Jewish and so the list goes.
Are separatist regions a pariah of the sacred boundary of a nation? No, not today in a federated Eurozone; in the same way as our regions invite villages and towns to reconsider their administrative boundaries more efficiently to promote economies of scale, our States should not be afraid to let regions behave likewise. In a reformed Eurozone I envision a federal parliament populated by a select number of national parliaments’ members preventing the duplication of functions ….and compensations; the Federation would only take responsibility for the currency and all aspects affecting the external world: diplomatic relations, the army and external trade. In a reformed Federal Europe the term “sacred” should only pertain to the human individual dignity.Elio Pennisi