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Where is Europe going? Piero Boitani’s letter to David Cameron (debate at the Man of Roma’s cafe). 2

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David Cameron &  Jean-Claude Junker controversy over Europe

Jean-Claude Juncker (left), now president of the European Commission (voted by the European Council and recently by the European Parliament) was fiercely opposed by David Cameron. Britain and Hungary were isolated. “Instead of building alliances in Europe – said Ed Milliband, leader of the British opposition – ” he’s burned them”

I warmly thank Professor Piero Boitani for letting me publish here the letter to the British PM David Cameron he has just sent to the London’s daily The Independent.

Piero Boitani – a medievalist, Dante scholar, steeped in ancient myth as well as modern literatures – is Professor of Comparative Literature at Sapienza, University of Rome, and is also teaching at the Universities of Notre Dame, Indiana, and of Italian Switzerland.

He is also – among the rest, the list IS mind-boggling – Fellow of the British Academy and Honorary Member of the Dante Society of America (together with Umberto Eco.)

Here is Piero Boitani’s voice, loud and clear.

[a 'Roman from Rome with ancient traits' voice, I'd say. Wonder if he'd agree, he is not a reader of this blog, he doesn't need to; links below are MoR's, not Professor Piero Boitani's]

Professor Piero Boitani is an extrovert despite his immense knowledge. Goethe wrote somewhere that  “the one who doesn’t understand 3000 years of history, lives in the dark, unaware, from day to day."

Blue-eyed, pensive, P. Boitani is an extrovert despite his deep knowledge. Goethe wrote that “the one who doesn’t understand 3000 years of history, lives in the dark, unaware, from day to day.” It is not the case of Piero Boitani, as one learns by reading his magnum opus, Il Grande Racconto delle Stelle [quote from here]

Dear PM,

I have followed the recent developments in your attitude to the EU with a growing sense of concern and irritation. Since the age of 10, I have been a strong anglophile. I have studied in England, have taught and published there. I visit it at least once a year. Quite frankly, I do not understand your opposition to Juncker, which has left Britain isolated in Europe with Orban’s Hungary (sic!).  Juncker is by no means the ideal President of the European Commission, but he is no worse than, say, Barroso. Was your opposition dictated by the fact that Junker is supposed to be a ´federalist´ and that he was indicated by the European Parliament rather than the governments? That is actually a more democratic method of indicating a new President than the old one of negotiations between national governments. Is Juncker against novelty or reforms of the EU? Well, governments can actually make Juncker do what they like, so if they want reforms he will pursue reforms.

In short, your opposition seems to me purely instrumental – dictated more by Mr Farage’s victory in the recent EU elections, i.e., by UK politics, than by the well-being of Britain. Unless at the back of it all be an unconfessed attempt at going with the presumed British feeling of annoyance with the EU. Threatening the other EU members with ‘The UK will leave the EU if Juncker is nominated’, or ‘Anti-European feelings in Britain will grow to the point that the 2017 referendum will turn out to be against Britain staying in the UK’, is quite inappropriate, and useless, blackmail.

Britain ought to examine herself very deeply on the matter of Europe. There is first and foremost a question of roots and culture. The cultural roots of Britain are European, from the 1st century AD to the present. Yes, there is also a different strain, wider and tied to the British expansion on the sea, and narrower because of its feeling of insularism and isolation from the Continent. But at the critical moments in history, Britain has always made a decidedly European choice, witness the Napoleonic wars and First and Second WW.

Secondly, there are political and economic reasons. Would the UK be better off outside the EU? Or, has Britain been worse off since it joined the then EEC? To say so would be a gross error. Has Britain been less ‘free’ since joining the EEC? You drive on the left and use miles, pounds, and pints. You have kept the pound sterling. You are out of Schengen. Is someone forcing you to eat taramasalata or sauerkraut? Or to learn ‘foreign’ languages? Or to surrender your navy to the Germans?

The European Economic Community. Courtesy of Britannica Kids

The European Economic Community. Courtesy of Britannica Kids. Source

What is there in ‘Europe’ that annoys the UK? Its bureaucratic structure? I admit it could be simplified and made more efficient, but you must yourself admit that a democratic administration for nearly thirty countries is not easy to achieve without a bureaucracy, and that the mandate of this bureaucracy is to uniform and unify, not keep the thousand tiny differences that exist within Europe. If you want free circulation of people and goods among those 30 countries, you will need laws – uniform laws all over – to protect that circulation. Didn´t the British Empire do exactly this, impose the same laws all over?

Or is it that Britain does not want a supranational European state, something many (not all) Europeans want so that Europe may count more in a globalized world? But Britain already is out of that state. It has ‘opted out’ of so many things. But to think that it can stop the others from having a tighter union if they so wish, wouldn´t that be considered presumptuous in any human relationship?

Yet the British public is annoyed by Europe (you will of course understand that the rest of Europe might be slightly annoyed with Britain). I suggest that the British public serenely and rationally examine themselves about Europe and decide once and for all whether they want to stay in or quit. Should they decide to leave, they should realize that they will give up, together with what they consider the disadvantages of being in the EU, also the advantages.

Britain’s prime minister David Cameron holds a news conference during European Union leaders summit in Brussels today after Jean-Claude Juncker was nominated for European Commission president by an overwhelming majority. Photograph: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters. Source file

“Britain’s prime minister David Cameron holds a news conference during European Union leaders summit in Brussels today after Jean-Claude Juncker was nominated for European Commission president by an overwhelming majority.” Source and caption: Irish Times

One no longer is a member of a family, or a club, if one decides to leave it. They shall have to pay duty on their wines from Europe and grow resigned to selling less whisky in Europe because we will have to pay more duty on it.  But at least they will stop having headaches about being or not being European, being or not being in the EU.

I confess that I feel upset when I have to show my passport upon entering Britain. I am particularly annoyed at having to change euros into sterling (something from which only banks profit) and having to buy plug adaptors for every electrical appliance I acquire either on the Continent or in Britain (something from which only the makers of such adaptors profit).

If Britain, at the end of such self-examination process, decides it wants to leave the EU, I shall be sad, but will face the situation serenely – and will give up my strong anglophilia without any further headache.

Piero Boitani
Rome

Picture of the Day- June 6, 2014

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Man of Roma:

606x345_map-beaches

Italian American Rosaria has written on Facebook today:

“To our veterans:

You were willing to pay the ultimate price to defend the principles your country stands on. We are glad you came back to your home and friends. We are glad your life was spared, so that we can hear your story, of combat, of living away from the familiar, of worrying each minute of each day if you, or your comrades were going to make it out alive, if the war was worth all the pain and resources and damages it caused.

It is that story of courage and fear and …”

ψ

I had replied in my usual dialectic-moronic way:
[paraprased, since I can't find the original words in Facebook, MoR]:

Manius Papirius Lentulus

“Stai parlando dello sbarco in Normandia, oggi, credo. Anche io come italiano sono contento di quello sbarco anche se noi eravamo i nemici. In realtà gli italiani capirono molto prima dei tedeschi che Mussolini era diventato lo schiavo di un pazzo e fu per questo che se ne liberarono. Molti criticarono l’Italia per aver lasciato l’alleato germanico. Ma chi fu più etico, i tedeschi che obbedirono al male fino alle fine, o gli italiani, che rifiutarono il male?

Forse è un dilemma etico insolubile …[e poi un antico romano avrebbe fatto la stessa cosa dei tedeschi, ndr]“

Manius Papirius Lentulus

“Only one thing, Rosaria Williams, since the Romans are stubborn. I’ll speak in your maternal language.

Una volta nel mio blog parlai (it, eng) delle Torri Gemelle, the Twin Towers, viste dai tunisini e dagli arabi. Quacuno fu sorpreso? Non so. Ma tu dicesti:

“This post brings a new perspective to the problem of 9/11″

What is so new (I raise my voice for the sake of a discussion that will not occur, I shoot too many posts) dear Italian American woman?

For heaven’s sake, is it THAT hard to see things placing ourselves into the others’ boots?

Gli Americani pensano ai loro caduti, ok, ma perché non ai caduti (to name just a few) inglesi, canadesi, indiani, tedeschi, marocchini ecc. ? E RUSSI? The Russians? 20 milioni di morti! Non saranno loro, forse, ad aver sconfitto Hitler, mi domando? PLus, why don’t Americans care too about the deaths of the losers?  (Italians, most of the French, the Germans, the Japanese?) Because, as protestants, the losers are in hell? [changing the text altogether, MoR]

US President Barack Obama flanked by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski attends the Ceremony at Sword Beach to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion at Normandy. Gettyimages, click for source

US President Barack Obama flanked by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski attends the Ceremony at Sword Beach to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion at Normandy. Gettyimages, click for source

Speaking of Italy, my country was accepted this year in Normandy for the first time.

Originally posted on Natalia Maks:

Commemoration of the D-Day
IMG_9266 copy

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At a Londinium cafe. Exchange between Maximus (soldier of Rome) and Richardus (an Ancient Briton)

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An outdoors cafe in Rome

Outdoor cafe in Rome. Courtesy of Lonely Planet

[stolen from here onwards]

MoR: “I think I’ve commented here twice. Well, ok. Good night Richardus.”

Richard: “Twice? That’s because you’re so much faster than me, relatively speaking.”

MoR: “I am slower, Richardus.”

MoR (*using too many smartphones in outdoor cafes, people screaming toasting): ” I am confused. Got moderated, probably. 1:20 am Rome’s time. Time to get back home. G’night.”

Richard: ” Keep a watch for predatory animals and itinerant males.”

Manius Papirius Lentulus Maxumus (soldier of Rome):

“I always do.”

An old Anglo-Saxon weapon, called an axe-hammer. Click for credits

An ancient Anglo-Saxon weapon, called an axe-hammer. Source

M. P.L.M: “An inspiring man, Richardus, stemming from the Ancient Britons, id est the Romano-British prior to the adventus Saxonum [the good ol' days, *sighing*]. Hope R. won’t get upset about my reposting his article on The Magic Mountain. “

Richardus: ” I hereby give retrospective consent, relatively speaking. Not so sure about the inspiring, unless you refer to my snoring.
I was just guessing about my Ancient Briton heritage. It must be there somewhere.”

MoR (*tapping on his phone, sun having risen tho his studio getting none*):

“Wull, snuuring can be inspuuring”
Said the Saxon with distraction
Rising his axe that is never lax
Tho THIS Brittonic is faster: he *thwacks*

Now the time, sodalis, has arrived,
An ancient heritage we ought to dive,
For u to reveal in full detail
Tonite, u sprite, [yes!] over ale.

Maxumus

Capitoline She-Wolf. Rome, Musei Capitolini. Public domainYou might like other dialogues of the same sort.

The gentle nature of friendship

Posted on

Man of Roma:

Alma Tadema 001_Small

Invocation, before a mind journey

To my belovéd Anglo Saxon friends,
And to Chaerie dearest Faerie,
Queene of the Greatest Isle, Américà.

O Goddess, Thou, so heauenly and so bright!

Shed pls thy faire beams into our feeble eyne,
And raise, our thoughts being humble and too vile,
The argument of our afflicted style.

M. P. L. M.

Originally posted on Notes from Around the Block:

Chip at the Wheel

by cheri

I remember visiting my grandparent’s home in Oakland in the late 50′s. On the wall of their kitchen nook was a framed cross-stitched message in blue which read, ” To Have a Friend, Be One.”

What an order! As the years passed, I glanced at that little frame, usually in a hurry.

This week friends named Sharon, Doug, Mary, Donna, Pam, and Linda have been on my mind. Zuby, Gary, Sara, and Ben. Christy, Joyce, and Anna. Richard, Don, Bill, and Susie. Kayti, Jennifer, and Vicki.

The souls I am privileged to call friends are  loyal, diverse, intellectually curious, and most importantly (for me), authentic. Some of my friends I don’t see often. They have been patient with me throughout the years and were you to call for their evaluation of my attention to the edict in the cross-stitch, they would say that I have always been too busy. Too…

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One post a week from today. We need Loisir for 3 goals: Chaconne, Goldberg Variations, Novel. Argh?

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Pursuit of Happiness

Happiness

MoR, before he croaks, has three happily looming tasks to carry out with exact deadlines:

1) Performing ‘as is’, plus improvising, J. S. Bach’s Chaconne on a guitar (here A. B. Michelangeli demonic version: )

Here our Neapolitan Walkiria Maria Tipo’s version (much more poetic, singing) :

2) Performing ‘as is’, plus improvising, all J. S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations on a guitar (here Hungary’s leading guitarist József Eötvös’ version: “the transcription of the century”: )

A piano keyboard. Click for credits and to enlarge

I used to play a few of those outstanding variations on the piano, 40 years ago although Bach’s Well-tempered Clavier was my playground.

I luv Sokolov’s performance though I deem Maria Tipo to be a bit better (if only she danced more: Bach danses)

[Maria tipo btw was awarded the "Diapason d’Or" for her Goldberg Variations recording]

ψ

[Fulvia (100% real): "Too ambitious, Giorgio, I am afraid for your health, dear man. C'mon, I mean: you stopped playing for 40 years ..."]

ψ

3) Making a novel out of his blog which has been a terrific wisdom journey that possibly confused readers but did greatly enriched he who is writing.

[Flavia (80% fictional) : "You pallonaro romano, swollen head!! False prophets btw clearly disconcert those who meet them, which doesn't necessarily imply they're unhappy. The prophets of malchance. Ah! What kind of perverse reward do you get from all that???"]

“You just shut the fuck up” (non ehm fictional)

Rude, ok, but not in slightly Romanesco-spoken Italian.
(its regularity, incidentally, not diminishing its effectiveness)

:twisted: :oops: :oops: ]

 

Performing. How

Performing, in MoR’s book (in everybody’s lol) means enacting before an audience.

An uploaded YouTube video – where he who is writing can be seen and heard – is a sure output.

Whether the video will be shot in MoR’s studio or on a stage, with just one person or another guitarist or whatever interacting and jazzing back, it remains to be seen.

One post a week
(at least)

Thus having been fussily said, and needing MoR some more time to lazily reflect & relax (otium) in order not to fail reaching 1) 2) 3):

We’ll post once every 7 days, id est Man of Roma might even post repost one / three / ten times ecc a day should he feel like it, although every seventh day starting from today – unless the unwanted guest arrives – and article will appear.

Capitoline She-Wolf. Rome, Musei Capitolini. Public domain

All the best
From Mediterranean West

ψ

Related posts from the MoR (on the connection between relax and creativity)

1, 2 (in italiano), 3

Cherry in the pie:

Bertrand Russell’s In Praise of Idleness

The Roman Jews (1). Are They the Most Ancient Romans Surviving?

Posted on

Man of Roma:

No thoughts to add. Only to remind Lichanos that Romans do not surrender (and don’t take prisoners.)

ψ

On a side note, the one-post-a-day discipline has ended so we’ll now post once every three days.

ψ

More time for living? For writing?

Flavia: “Sei un universo introverso”
The Old Man: “Sei un universo estroverso”

Why on earth 2 opposite universes (not to mention one being a matriarch the other a patriarch, one a man one a woman) EVER got together?

ψ

Exeunt … *quarelling*

Exeunt … *smiling*

Mario: “BASTA!”

Originally posted on Man of Roma:

An image of the Roman Ghetto. Giggetto restaurant and Augustus' Porticus Octaviae behind

An image of the Roman Ghetto. The famous Giggetto restaurant on the left with Augustus’ Porticus Octaviae in the background

“Who’s more Roman than the Roman Jews? Some of us date back from the times of Emperor Titus [39-81 AD]” – Davide Limentani told me in the early 80s.

Limentani was (and perhaps still is) at the head of a big wholesale and retail glass and silver company in Rome. I had phoned him three days earlier for an interview that had to be published on the Roman daily La Repubblica.

Ditta LimentaniI remember a lovely spring day in the old alleys of the Roman Ghetto, with swallows crying over a glorious blue sky. He was sitting at his desk in the aisle of an impressively ramified, catacomb-like store in via Portico d’Ottavia 47 (look at its stripped-down sign above,) crammed with an immense variety of crystal, pottery…

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A Berber from the Monti rione makes (today) jewels. The Berber Augustine (2000 years ago) shook Antiquity & Rome. Both changed (never to change)

_public_media_croci tuareg

Italian original

[Draft. We'll stop posting for a few days, this blog crying badly for graphical renovation]

A Berber jeweler,
in today’s Subura

Not far from our house and from Rome’s ancient Subura there’s a little shop where a Berber Tuareg – a tall, dark-skinned man of a majestic beauty – makes splendid jewels that perpetuate a multimillenial tradition – married, inter alia, with an equally beautiful woman from Northern Italy.

ψ

The Samnite: “An ‘acquired’ Roman, one might say.”
The Tobacconist *nodding, with a radiant smile*

A Berber metaphysician
2,000 years ago

Saint Augustine and Saint Monica by Ary Scheffer (1846)

Saint Augustine and Saint Monica, his mother. 1846 painting by French Ary Scheffer (Wikipedia, click for credits and larger image)

Another ‘acquired’ Roman – born almost 2000 years earlier (and Berber too from his mother’s side) was Augustine of Hippo.

More precisely, Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis (354 – 430 CE,) his family having been legally Roman for more than a century.

Augustinus didn’t make jewels but he almost certainly wore some very similar to those made in the small shop of the Monti rione.

The African sage ruminated, instead, his vast soul tormented.

Augustine praying in his study, by Sandro Botticelli, 1480, Chiesa di Ognissanti, Florence, Italy. Credits

Augustine praying in his study, by Sandro Botticelli, 1480 (detail.) Chiesa di Ognissanti, Florence, Italy. Credits and entire painting

From such torment stemmed The Confessions and most of all The City of God – two visionary works that only a Berber-Punic Algerian could conceive.

An explosion of visions, ideas, and mysticism.

ψ

The pagan gods were shaken (but adapted themselves).

The myth of Rome was nearly destroyed – the City of God, metaphysically celestial, going way beyond the Urbs beacon of the Orb (though Rome adapted and survived, licking her wounds.)

Tomba di S. Agostino nella Basilica di San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro a Pavia

Tomba di S. Agostino nella Basilica di San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro a Pavia, Italia. Source (bigger picture)

 

Governess of a billion souls (of nations no more), with a Pontifex Maximus, Francesco, shepherd at last and close to the poor (like Augustine), Rome the eternal looks today at the greatest intellectual of the first millennium CE (on this side of the planet.)

With deep love and profound respect.

 

ψ

We, in our lowest pochezza, nurture the same feelings.

Without forgetting, allow us, that our roots are, and remain, pagan.

 

Capitoline She-Wolf. Rome, Musei Capitolini. Public domain

Nota. L’idea mistico terrena di Roma, cemento ideologico dell’Impero Romano, venne indebolita, e l’impero con essa, dall’esplosione creativa di Agostino.

Ma l’idea non morì (e mai morirà).

ψ

Si pensi solo che gli ultimi due imperi del continente europeo dissoltisi con la prima guerra mondiale erano guidati da uno Zar, russo, e da un Kaiser, tedesco. Sia Zar che Kaiser significano Cesare, ovvero:

Gaius Julius Caesar, Pontifex Maximus e iniziatore dell’impero romano.

[Se uno credesse ai segni ... ma non ci crediamo]

 

 

 

Un berbero di Monti (oggi) fabbrica gioielli. Il berbero Agostino (due millenni fa) scuote l’antichità e Roma. Che cambiano (per non cambiare mai)

_public_media_croci tuareg

English translation

[We'll stop posting for a few days, this blog crying badly for graphical renovation]

Gioiellere berbero,
nella Suburra, oggi

Non lontano da casa nostra e dalla Suburra c’è un negozietto dove un berbero Tuareg – uomo alto, dalla pelle scura e di maestosa bellezza – fa gioielli meravigliosi che continuano una tradizione plurimillenaria (tra l’altro essendosi unito a una donna anch’essa molto bella, del Nord Italia).

ψ

The Samnite: “Un romano ‘acquisito’, si potrebbe dire”.
The Tobacconist *annuendo, un sorriso luminoso*

Pensatore Berbero,
2000 anni fa

Saint Augustine and Saint Monica by Ary Scheffer (1846)

Saint Augustine and Saint Monica, his mother. 1846 painting by French Ary Scheffer (Wikipedia, click for credits and larger image)

‘Acquisito’ lo fu un altro romano di quasi 2000 anni fa, berbero anch’egli da parte di madre, Agostino d’Ippona.  Per la precisione, Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis (354 – 430 d.C), di famiglia legalmente romana, appunto, da più di un secolo.

Augustinus non faceva gioielli (ne avrà solo indossati di simili a quelli del Tuareg di Monti).

Augustinus in verità pensava. E si travagliava.

Augustine praying in his study, by Sandro Botticelli, 1480, Chiesa di Ognissanti, Florence, Italy. Credits

Augustine praying in his study, by Sandro Botticelli, 1480 (detail.) Chiesa di Ognissanti, Florence, Italy. Credits and entire painting

Da tale travaglio nacquero Le Confessioni e soprattutto La Città di Dio, due libri geniali che solo un punico berbero algerino poteva scrivere.

Un’esplosione di visioni, idee e misticismo.

ψ

Gli dei pagani ne furono scossi (ma si adattarono).

ll mito di Roma ne fu quasi distrutto – la Città di Dio metafisicamente celeste andava oltre l’urbe faro terreno dell’orbe (ma Roma si adattò e sopravvisse, leccandosi le ferite).

Tomba di S. Agostino nella Basilica di San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro a Pavia

Tomba di S. Agostino nella Basilica di San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro a Pavia, Italia. Source (bigger picture)

 

Governatrice di un miliardo di anime (non più di popoli), con un Pontifex Maximus, Francesco, finalmente pastore e vicino alla povera gente (come Augustinus), Roma l’eterna guarda oggi al più grande intellettuale del primo millennio d.C.

Con amore profondo, e con rispetto.

ψ

Noi, nella nostra infima pochezza, proviamo gli stessi sentimenti.

Pur non dimenticando, ci sia concesso, che le nostre radici sono e restano pagane.

Capitoline She-Wolf. Rome, Musei Capitolini. Public domain

Nota. L’idea mistico terrena di Roma, cemento ideologico dell’Impero Romano, venne indebolita, e l’impero con essa, dall’esplosione creativa di Agostino.

Ma l’idea non morì (e mai morirà).

ψ

Si pensi solo che gli ultimi due imperi del continente europeo dissoltisi con la prima guerra mondiale erano guidati da uno Zar, russo, e da un Kaiser, tedesco. Sia Zar che Kaiser significano Cesare:

Giulio Cesare, Pontifex Maximus e iniziatore dell’impero.

[Se uno credesse ai segni ... ma non ci crediamo]

 

 

 

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