Podcast Episode Two: To the "Foreign" from an Istkalener
Our Union is home to a great many peoples and cultures who do not conform to those of the rest of Europe; Yosaians, Sertians, Duxburians, even my own people, Istkaleners, and many more. At first, to us all, the Union seemed an inviting place. To many of you, it may seem still to be inviting.
The deadly, terrifying truth is hidden behind a thin veneer of acceptance. The official motto of the Union is "United in Diversity," and indeed, from a cursory view, this seems to be largely practiced; but look any closer, and it seems as though we are more about conformity than anything. Many of those in our Union only accept that diversity which they can understand, and reject all others. They were thankfully thrust from power by the protest of the ignored; but now they threaten to crawl back and reimpose their rule.
To them, we are "foreign;" we do not belong. Look at Councillor Tusk's words on issues with calendars, a symbolic point of contention:
"Since the creation of this chamber, I think nobody, or barely someone has got any problem with acts interpretations because of the Gregorian calendar. Every Councillor here works with it, even in the debates when we set deadlines or we mention several dates. Changing this is simply stupid, because I doubt somebody will have 'significant problems'. And if someone does, I encourage them to use the Internet, which has very useful tools."
If he, and by extension his Eurogroup, cannot give any ground on this issue, so simple and yet so symbolic in its meaning, a representation of differing interpretations of the same thing, can we really trust them to give any ground on anything else? They have spoken the language of sovereignty, yes, but they have not recognized this most important of issues - cultural integrity. We will merely be getting more of the same, of acts and institutions that do not care about our cultures or the way things work in our nations, because, again, to them we are merely a "foreign" minority who shouldn't be here in the first place. We will be forced to implement motions and legislation that makes no sense to us and that does not work in the context of our nations again and again, into eternity.
Not, of course, to speak of the complete ignorance of the different economic forces that might be driving the life of our countries. They assume that all countries are roughly the same; they do not account for any differences, apart from perhaps in levels of economic development. Istkalen and Ruthund are agrarian in part because of the unique paths they took; if I understand it correctly, the Duxburian Union has a significant weapons industry for somewhat similar reasons. They don't care; they think we're all the same, and that, again, those who are different are a tiny minority and shouldn't be in this union in the first place. They'll dismiss us in the same way they do when we bring up cultural issues, with indifference, telling us merely to make the necessary adaptations.
Of all the issues plaguing our Union, this is one of the least tenable, and yet it is the one which absolutely no one else has mentioned. It damages our dignity and our livelihoods, it damages, in fact, far more.
Yes, this time around, almost all the candidates are speaking the language of sovereignty. But sovereignty, in particular the political sovereignty they speak of, is different from the respect of diversity of cultures and histories; of the diversity of nations. Sovereignty does not afford to peoples true dignity, especially when no attempt is made to change general political cultures which are on the whole against dignity, respect, and accommodation for many; for those they see as "foreign."
For those who go further, for the most part they look at it in too abstract of a way. They see people demanding greater sovereignty, and never understand the reasons behind this demand; they only demand sovereignty themselves. They develop a solution, in essence, without actually knowing or understanding the underlying problem.
My plan is simple, and informed by this issue rather than any abstract political ideas. I intend to decentralize the powers of EU institutions to state-level ministries, to allow for greater flexibility; to modify EU laws to ensure that they genuinely accommodate different cultures, in particular by avoiding the usage of confusing terminology and by allowing member-states greater flexibility in their interpretation and enforcement of laws - in essence, their ability to adapt laws to national conditions. Even to give development directly to the people, to nations, rather than to unwieldly EU bureaucracies. To foster self-development, self-enforcement, within a framework of cooperation with dignity, respect, and equality.
Let us stand up for a genuine answer to our problems, instead of these hackneyed attempts. Let us stand up for what we deserve; true sovereignty, true respect, true dignity, and true cooperation!
Thank you for listening.