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Europe’s mistaken identities

History suggests that it may even be easier to create an identity for others than to find one for oneself. The ‘Us and Them’ syndrome, where the ‘Them’ are dumped together in a separate communal basket, makes the process a bit easier… The Greeks called all foreigners barbaros because they couldn’t decipher their babbling. The… » read more

Posted by Richard Hill

It’s not surprising that the best way to describe a profound longing for something unattainable is a German word: Sehnsucht. According to Wikipedia, it “is difficult to translate adequately and describes a deep emotional state. Its meaning is somewhat similar to the Portuguese word, saudade.” Maybe, but it’s a lot more than that. This Sehnsucht… » read more

Posted by Richard Hill

One of the things that sticks out in the perception of a foreigner is the overriding sense of fairness of the Belgians in their dealings with others. I say this as one of the English who supposedly invented the concept of fairness and gave the word to the rest of the world. The people of… » read more

Posted by Richard Hill

The French, who for so long talked about ‘nos ancêtres, les Gaulois’, may have felt justified in not looking too closely at their antecedence. The Germanic element is in fact more important: according to Luigi Barzini, the Italian author and politician, almost half the inhabitants of present-day France are the descendants of Germanic tribes. As… » read more

Posted by Richard Hill