Blog and opinion
13 February 2018 • Fenna Hup
Do you mind for some more ‘we’?
With the Tesla Roadster heading off in space earlier this month, you might fantasize using the word ‘intergalactic citizenship’ will be only a matter of time, making ‘world citizenship’ an anachronism. Well, I don’t think so. Way too soon! Listening to some non-European writers last January, I want to share some experiences on world citizenship with you, before we’ll switch to intergalactic mode.
‘We, the people’ was the theme of ‘Winternachten’, a literary festival in The Hague. I found out there are many different forms of ‘we’. “Well, ‘Duh’, that’s no surprise”, you may think reading this. What is surprising though, is the interest some people show in the other ‘we’, while the other is completely unaware of the other persons ‘we’.
Are you still with me? Here’s an example. Alain Mabanckou, a reknown young African writer from the Republic of Congo stated: “I have learned about Europe at school: it’s countries, it’s history and much more. I found out Europeans know very little about African countries and their histories.” Yes, he’s right. In case there is a European or Dutch ‘we’, we mostly speak of Africa as if it were one big country, thus denying the diversity of the world’s second largest continent.
Quite peculiar, even more, when you consider some Dutch people react kind of allergic when they are mistakenly addressed as a German or a Belgian citizen. A second example is my short conversation with Ghayath Almadhoun, a young poet with Palestinian-Syrian roots, now living in Sweden. Asking for my name, he asked another question, immediately after my reply: “That’s a name from Friesland, isn’ it?” I was happily surprised, thinking: “How interesting that this man, born in Syria, living in Sweden, knows about the geographic origin of a Dutch name.”
To return to Tesla’s Roadster on it’s way in space: “I’m way from ready for intergalactic citizenship. It’s interesting enough viewing world citizenship with a broader perspective and give some further thought on who ‘we’ are from planet Earth.”
PS: Good luck Tesla Roadster on your journey in space!
While blogger Wypkje van der Heide is enjoying her maternity leave, lecturer Fenna Hup fills the gap. Fenna has the motto ‘Do the good things even better’. Not on her own but together with the teaching team, students Facility Management and professionals.