Sunday, February 15, 2009

Keep on walkin'

Each place I've traveled on this path has been a choice. Perhaps not right or wrong. Just the choice that takes me down a harder path and the one that's takes me down a path that's easier. Or one that takes me on the roundabout way and another that takes me directly, with both ending up at the same point. I keep walking. I'll consider and reconsider, the thoughts will swirl and put my stomach in knots, the pictures in my mind will speak of sheer disillusionment. The world will continue to turn and I will remain just a speck upon it, trying to find my way...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Straw poll among the Italians

The other night we headed out with three Italians from D&G whom Ev does business with. With some very loud, live Turkish folk music playing in the background I began to ply the Itals with questions about the EU and Turkey. Turkey officially started accession negotiations with the EU back in 2005.

But in the last few years the government has been accused of stalling on the reforms necessary to meet EU requirements. France and Germany have both come out vocally against Turkey's bid. But there are plenty of other EU members states that have been vocal about their support. Many, however, say that Turkey's dream of EU membership will never be realized because it is just too different culturally, too Muslim, too big, etc.

So, what did the Italians have to say:

What do most Italians think of Turkey and its EU bid?

--Well, the Italians think the Turkish people are wonderful. They like them a lot. But the population is just too big. [With the current population of the EU at close to 500 million, Turkey's population of almost 70 million represents a 14 percent chunk]. It would be like Turkey taking over the EU.

But does the size of its population really weigh more heavily in Italians' minds than the fact that the country is majority-Muslim?

--Well, that is another factor. The culture is viewed as just too different from Europe. Tied to the religion, Turks see things as only black or white, whereas the European perspective has a gray area. There would be a culture clash. I meanm Turkish culture is great, but just too different.

But most EU member states already have large Muslim communities of their own...

--Yes, that's true. But having a country with a majority-Muslim population in the EU is a different story.

I'm afraid that's it folks. The results of the straw poll show that Turkey's EU bid is screwed from all directions. So what about the milieu in Italy?

What do you see as the biggest problem facing Italy today?

The Italian people are becoming more and more inward focused. The country is gradually isolating itself from the rest of the world.

OK, well, sounds like Italy's screwed, too. Great. Thanks to Giuseppe, Luisa, and Roberto for offering their opinions and for a fun night out. Well, until that last part anyway... Ciao!