Saturday, January 27, 2007

On Separatism in Europe

My friend Professor Miguel Mesquita da Cunha sent me the following reflection and I have asked permission to publish it here, particularly as his thoughts have significance for India:


Europe is at heart a community of values. A scrupulous respect of the norms of behaviour whose observance ensures the preservation of liberty and human dignity is a sine qua non for any country within, or aspiring to join, the EU.

Threats or the use of force against people or their property in order to elicit silence or acquiescence is the gist of dictatorship, in fundamental contradiction with all that Europe stands for – not the EU only, but indeed Europe as a civilisation.

Yet, such is the ordinary behaviour of thugs posing as patriots in the Basque country & (with slightly lesser intensity) in Corsica. In these regions, the mere fact of opining against hard core nationalism entails a real risk of being assassinated.

There may be historic circumstances when the use of violence to repel tyranny is legitimate. But when, like in Spain or France, the state guarantees the fundamental freedoms of thought, expression, communication, meeting & indeed of vote, when governments can be elected or dismissed through the ballot box, & laws enacted or repelled by elected assemblies, then there can be no justification for the use of violence. None whatsoever.

It is hardly for outsiders to determine whether the Basques, or the Corsicans, nor any others, should maintain current political arrangements or should seek another path.

But every European country & citizen has the right - indeed the duty - to condemn & combat the egregious violations of human rights routinely perpetrated by ETA or its Corsican counterparts against any of their fellow citizens who do not submit to their ideological diktat.

Such a duty of interference – whose opposite would be a ‘sin of indifference’ – was the root of the EU’s attitude in the Balkans. Are the Basques any less European, or any less worthy of respect, than the Bosnians? Or the Corsicans than the Croats? How come then that most of Europe’s political leadership display such callous neglect of crimes committed not on our doorsteps, but rather very much in our midst? EU institutions as well as national political leaders ought to speak up unambiguously in support of Spain & France as they fight to uphold the rule of law.

Fascism is highly contagious. Europe may have to pay a high price tomorrow for letting it spread today.
Miguel Mesquita da Cunha" Sphere: Related Content

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