GUEST BLOGGER: KIMMO LEHTONEN
As Jeff is currently touring around Europe, I think it is appropriate to focus on this continent for a moment.
For some evil minded (mostly Europeans - of course), Europe is an aging continent clinging uselessly to its glorious past. Not as bold as America, not as quick as Asia, Europe has lost the race to future. For these people, Europe is a huge History Park - with splendid sights and historical monuments spread inconveniently over a too big area. And the quality of the services for tourists are burdened by the lack of common language and odd local customs.
For those of us who live near these gothic churches, grim graveyards and places with almost mythical sounding names like Hastings, Waterloo, Poltava or Marathon, these places are metro stops, train stations and location of the nearest Ikea is. Oddly enough, we are the first to forget what these places symbolise, what they still should mean to us.
The biggest problem for Europe is to define itself. Where does Europe end? Should Turkey or even Ukraine be included or not? The futile effort of European Union to draw up a unifying constitution failed for the lack of common nominators between the 25 countries. Our culture is too diversified, our visions for the future too contradictory to be shared. Just the mention of Christianity almost ignited a new religious war between Poland, Italy and the rest of continent.
The only common thing between all European countries is the history - the devastating wars and bloody conflicts which nobody wants to relive. Peace in Europe is just about the only thing we all can agree upon. For at least as long as we can remember the lessons of the past.
Looking around the world today, one can only wish that other parts would remember this too. That everybody else would be as fed up with useless fighting as us Europeans.
From the land of Linux and Nokia Kimmo Lehtonen is a Finnish SF active and a writer of speculative fiction. His third novel, LUEMINUT (README), is available on the web under Creative Commons license, but unfortunately only in Finnish.