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Monday, November 26, 2012

Public anger in Europe may split the European Union

Iran's Press TV, 11/25/12:


People in Europe are frustrated at the central authorities as they feel that regional interests are not being met by these distant bureaucrats and bankers.

In the background of this, Catalonia citizens are being asked to vote for their self-determination with the Catalonian government wanting to separate from Spain and create its own state to avoid the economic misery dealt out by the central Spanish government through its austerity policies dictated by its global lenders.

Press TV has interviewed Linh Dinh, political analyst and writer from Philadelphia on this issue. Joining Mr. Dinh in this news analysis is Mr. Mark Mason, political commentator from San Francisco and Press TV’s correspondent Mr. Guy Hedgecoe from Madrid. What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: Our guest Mark Mason has said that a central government serves a few . If we brought in that and we're not talking about individual countries in the central government, but we're talking about Brussels itself that of course is the foundation of the EU - do you think that it is the same concept of what he's just said?

Dinh: Yes. From the United States this is highly interesting because the dynamics that apply here is that there is a growing frustration and anger towards central authorities - towards Washington and in Europe it's towards Brussels. People are feeling that regional interests are not being met by distant bureaucrats and bankers.

This crisis is a crisis of globalism; of centralized control and the Catalonians, they've wanted to be independent for a long time, but when things are going well economically it's not so urgent. But now that the Spanish economy is collapsing the Catalonians are becoming more frustrated than ever and they see a weakness in Madrid. This is an opportunity for them to break away. But I can't see Madrid sitting by and allowing this to happen.

So, what happens when they bring their troops in? And this also allows Madrid to rally the rest of Spain in the struggle to keep the country intact. So it's a way to distract from the economy, but I don't think they will be successful. But what will happen if they bring troops in - because if it gets serious enough they will definitely bring troops in.

Press TV: We have other regions also like Scotland talking about separating from the UK; Flanders region in Belgium wanting a separate country. Are we seeing a reemergence of ethnic and historical differences resurfacing in Europe that also could potentially cause a collapse of the European Union?

Dinh: Yes. We are seeing a resurgence of regional feelings and also ethnocentric feelings. And that is mostly positive, but it can also have negative side effects that are not quite being seen so clearly right now.

Press TV: Why do you think it's positive?

Dinh: Well, on the negative side… a resurgence of racism… you know, people start to see tribally and because the world is so multicultural and you have so many different ethnic groups living everywhere, such a resurgence of tribal feeling could be very harmful to immigrants.

But I want to see this positively as a kind of rebuttal and defiance of central authorities. Americans have a lot to learn from what's happening in Catalonia. One has to remember that the Occupy Movement in America happened after what happened in Spain with the tents, the indignados, so they went from occupation to protests to a general strike to trying to secede from central authorities.

So, I want to see this positively, I want to see them succeed because there is no reason why a regional people should be subsumed to these, like I said, distant bankers and bureaucrats.

Press TV: Some analysts say the formation of the European Union itself was based on false premises of uniformity in the region because of the wide ethnic, historic and economic differences that it will actually cause the downfall of this Union. What is your perspective on it?

Dinh: I guess we can conclude at this moment it is a failed experiment, it's falling apart and it's not going to last much longer although there are people who keep threatening… they keep saying that if Greece defaults on its loans that it is going to be in deep trouble, but…

Look at Iceland. Iceland refused to bail out its bankers, refused to listen to the dictates from elsewhere and is still there today so I think it is possible to break apart and still be viable. I don't think that's going to be a widespread disaster just because all these people are getting sick of centralization.

So this breaking up can have positive results although like I say, the tribalism can be dangerous. We don’t know exactly how this is going to play out, but it's clear that people are very fed-up of being manipulated from elsewhere.



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About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of a non-fiction book, Postcards from the End of America (2017), two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), six of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007), Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009) and A Mere Rica (2017), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). My writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.