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e-politik.de - Home  Brennpunkt  Europa   Das Europa der Menschen - Living Bridges-Dossier   Europe and the World - Das Europa der Menschen


Autor Tino Xavier, Portugal

Helping our World

Autor :  e-politik.de Gastautor
E-mail: redaktion@e-politik.de
Artikel vom: 28.08.2000

By writing this article on a Friday night, sitting at home instead of going out with my friends into a noisy disco somewhere in a gloomy road in Lisbon, I'll try to share some of my ideas with you, inspired by my "Italo-British" friend Matthew.


Everything started after the end of the Living Bridges conference in Lisbon. Wandering around Lisbon and discussing the most interesting things in the world, we finally reached my university and out of the rainy clouds, the sun shined very brightly and we sat down at a café. Sipping a nice cup of Portuguese "galão", watching the bright and beautiful Portuguese girls passing by, I took advantage of this harmonious moment and spoke about an aspect that troubled me.

We Europeans are a leading block of countries in matter of demilitarization and peacekeeping forces. The European Union is trying hard to resist to the dominant position of the United Sates, and since this is almost impossible in financial and military aspects, we have to concentrate on social and cultural aspects that can help this continent to better its image on this planet.

Tremendous demilitarization efforts are being done. A strong Army should not be necessary in the near future, even if today we could hardly imagine such a scenario. Still, countries like Germany, France and even Portugal are heading towards a professional Army and are considering abolishing (or have already done so) the compulsory military service. The best way would be to achieve this in all European countries. But all this is not the central point.

The young people of Europe and their relations to the rest of the world are also important. Young Europeans are being "invaded" by the American mentality of individualism, materialism and ignorance and disrespect towards the rest of the world. Therefore I think it is absolutely necessary to avoid this cultural imperialism and put forward good alternatives. Young Europeans need a broad-minded perspective of the world. They have to know and see with their own eyes what is happening in more than half of this planet, where begging and going hungry is daily life. That's how we will open up our eyes and we will not only construct a better Europe, but much more than that: a better world.

How can we conceal these two so antagonistic aspects such as the end of military service and the need of a world perspective for young Europeans? My idea is tremendously virtual, but not impossible: Instead of a military service where 18 year old boys are confronted with guns, violence and an exaggerated discipline, each country could start sending its young people to a third world country for some months. Instead of paying for food, generals and guns, the government could pay a cheap air-fare to an African capital, send the young people to a (not so) specially prepared camp with some organizers and let them help in some social work for some months (teaching young children, working, helping out with secretarial work, translating, playing with children etc.). This would surely not be as costly as a military service, it would be accepted by all African countries looking for social support, and most importantly, it would give all young Europeans a great experience, an experience they would never forget and always be thankful for their future. This is how we could help the world.

Matthew finishes his "galão". The discussion had ended, although it had been a monologue. The girls are still passing by, and the sun is timidly returning back behind the gray clouds. We abandon the temple of knowledge and walk into a great and global but decadent world.



Autor: Tino Xavier, Portugal



   


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