02 August 2010

That's orange. No it's not it's purple.

One of the reasons I'm considering expatriating again is because it's tiring living a context that's calling the shots one way while you're seeing them another. If it were a matter of some cognitive dissonance now and then, I could manage. In the best case scenario, a discussion about why I see purple is able to happen. In the worse case ensues a confrontation with someone whose passions are woefully uninformed and patriotic. 

One of the many wonderful things about travel is the palette of colors thrown at you. I still don't understand my French friend, L's position on Muslim women and head coverings in France. I mentioned it to O, who's German/French, and we thought L and I might be talking about two different "garments"--the headscarf and the entire head/face scarves. O will figure it out, talk to L or something, and then tell me. She cares about stuff like understanding what's going on around her. 

The Europeans are adept at us-them and we-nesses.  Each country has a sense of an Us, from which they derive a Them, through which, as Europeans, a We is constructed. I like their We better than ours, mostly because of the principles and laws underpinning it, which I experience as more social (as in solidarity) rather than individualistic. They've been fighting over Us and Them for centuries; they've learned a thing or two. I also like it because, as the book below points out, our We is religiously propped up, as in God bless America, we are the chosen ones to spread democracy.