Europe and ex-colonies: ” “starting from memory

The Caliphate advances in Countries that witnessed the domination of European countries. Elsewhere poverty holds sway. History's lesson

Memory is the fundamental starting point for an analysis and a reflection on Europe’s responsibilities vis a vis the “rest of the world”, notably those areas where “European colonialism” has expanded, not only in geographic terms. A “rest of the world” which today are battlefields of war, terrorism, hatred, human rights violations.Memory is the intellectual passage that enables clarity, distinguishing Europe’s national colonialisms from the failed option of a common foreign policy that could have given different answers compared to those which, charged with failure, are in the spotlight of global public opinion. Finally, memory is the foundation for the erection of a better future. The truth on the events caused by European colonialism cannot be removed, but nor should it decrease the responsibility and the determination to develop a world where the dignity of man and of his rights are recognised and concretely ensured. To universal solidarity the European Community had dedicated a strong thought since the “Schuman Declaration” of May 9 1950. In the chapter dedicated to Africa, neglected by prevailing egoisms and national interests, the path of justice and peace, to be developed also beyond European borders, had been well defined. From that perspective the birth of the European Community, that was to become today’s European Union, thus contributed to the definitive elimination of colonialism carried out by European Countries- although it would be necessary to reflect on a page in history that left a set of hanging issues in its wake. One, among others, is the fragility of democracy and of institutions in formerly-Colonialist countries. It’s a value and a point of reference that cannot endure without a strong culture of the human person and of peoples. Democracy is born and thrives on these grounds, which are alien from imperialistic and mercantile criteria. One needs just to trace back the evolution of European colonialism to realize that this form of culture has largely been betrayed. The damage it caused was – and continues to be – severe. However, other voices cannot be overlooked, such as that of Italian statesman Giorgio La Pira, coupled by that of Senegalese President Leopold Sendar Senghor, that jointly highlighted the “path of Isaiah”, the path of hope, an indication that is concretized in the Mediterranean Colloquiums, in the World Federation of united cities, in the World Youth Conference. Those who have tried to tear down the “terror curtain” from Europe, the Mediterranean, the Near and Middle East, Latin America, have left a cultural and political heritage for today. How can this path be resumed, in the face of what is happening in lands that were once the colonies of European countries? Which is the path that could serve as the “precious point of reference for the whole of humanity”, as Pope Francis said in his speech to the European Parliament past November 25, in the context of the primacy of the human person? How can be best implemented the message of European Christian Churches, notably of the Catholic Churches, that preserve thriving relations with Churches worldwide and jointly speak out their love for the whole of humanity? Why not remember the commitment of European missionaries to this regard? What will the European Union do with these messages and appeals, when until now it has been hesitant, unsound and, most of all, forgetful? How will this message be addressed by Countries such as France, England, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Italy, that marked the pages of colonialism in many areas of the world? The past, which includes colonialism, cannot be buried. But it can be transformed into a commitment that Václav Havel proposed to the European Parliament in Strasbourg in 1994. “We need to show that we can overcome the damage caused by contradictory European civilizations”. How can initiatives be taken if Europe is overcome by national interests and fears, or if the national debate on its future continues being limited within the important – albeit enclosed – circle of the Eurozone?

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