Europe can not be undone, because it is already a unit, because the spider web has united the Europeans in such a way that although the depth charges come from within the EU, from countries such as Hungary or Poland, there is no possibility of rupture. Betting on this eternal Europe appears A forgotten lesson (Tusquets Editores), by the EL PAÍS journalist Guillermo Altares, who through 20 stories traces the history of a continent, and which he presented yesterday in Madrid in a dialogue with Claudi Pérez, Spain's chief editor of this newspaper and former correspondent in Brussels.
In that conversation about a work that Pérez defined as a On The Road that begins at the roundabouts near the French caves of Chauvet, which house paintings from 36,000 years ago, to the outskirts of Priscina, as a close in the Balkan War, there was room for reflections on how little is known about the truth of Europe, where the narrations written by the victors have triumphed, giving rise to black legends like Nero's ("Actually, we do not know if he was a murderer or he was denigrated a posteriori; in the same way that we praise Marco Aurelio without remembering that he was the one who burned the most Christians, "Altares pointed out. That is why the book does not speak about whites and blacks, but it illustrates gray "that makes people think, that they understand each other in the end, when the puzzle ends", explained Pérez.
A story that rhymes
And yes, in Europe "we know how to get into trouble" – after all, according to Victor Hugo, "All wars in Europe are civil wars" – even more, "we do not even know where we come from", said the author, recalling that in Spain there was a complete change in the male population 4,500 years ago, or that the United Kingdom knew another complete demographic revolution 30 centuries ago. Even so, citing another of the assistants, Joaquín Estefanía: "Europe is the last feasible utopia".
He will not even die with the Brexit because, as stated in the presentation, Britain will be able to leave the EU, but Europe will remain within Britain. As an example, there is the sarcophagus of a fourth-century Roman found in London, a lady who, as is known from the DNA, came from Iberia and wore silks from Palmira. Altares walks the reader through the hill of Garabitas in Madrid's Casa de Campo, from where the capital was bombed during the Civil War; for the remains of the Commune in Paris; for the Berlin of the end of the Second World War. Scenarios where, paraphrasing Mark Twain, "History does not repeat itself, but rhymes".
There was also talk of Caravaggio, one of the greatest painters of humanity "and a good scoundrel"; how the Paris Commune finds the echo of its freedom in a film like the Danish The feast of Babette; of the curious Europeanist passion of Spain, a note that differentiates us from the rest of the continent, where, according to journalists, the extreme right absorbs the workers vote, and how Altars has shied away from dedicating a chapter to the city of Brussels. "What will be the 21st chapter?" I doubt that the EU explodes, although I close with the Kosovo chapter and that is pessimistic.Nationalisms build conflicts that do not exist "reflected Guillermo Altares. "The biggest problem we have is demography, and instead it is heard non-stop that the risk to the EU is immigration, when it is just the opposite, how are you going to flee from a country like Syria? European that that can be stopped? The same borders that the Syrians cross are the same ones that crossed the Hungarians fleeing from the communists. "