Monday, February 18, 2008

Independence day

I do not like being ruminative in my thinking, but these days at the Baltic seashore have peeled back those protective layers of memory, giving me a sense of convergence, that from here on the roads lie open even as the past remains frustratingly unsettled:

"I count the years
Now to seconds
Like I wouldn't have known"

By the weekend I will return to the Americas and in early March I will head down to the Yucatán peninsula. For this purpose I thought I should revive Rawls & Me, if only for a few more posts. Since the last time around I have finished my work on the "Global Fordian Compromise" as it came to me during my journeys last summer. The paper is due to be presented in Nottingham in late March and then to be submitted for publication.

Yesterday, having a pint of Starobrno with my good friend, the sleepy square outside was suddenly flooded by honking cars, fireworks and cheering crowds waiving red flags. Though long expected and maybe ultimately inevitable, I do not take Kosovo’s declaration of independence to be a good sign. Instead of trying to heal what has been broken and quickly move forward towards European integration, this unilateral move on behalf of the Albanian majority is likely to leave a bitter aftertaste in the wider region.

The Balkans do not need more fragmentation. Neither does the world at large. As always, the problem is not so much the fundamentalists as it is our own failing idealism. Days like these should urge us to renew our commitment to cosmopolitanism and to forcefully rebut the group egoism endemic to all nationalistic thinking.

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