Tagged: eu

Is euroscepticism gaining momentum in Ireland, as it supposedly did in France and the Netherlands?

Less than half of the Irish population voted on the Lisbon Treaty, the so-called Constitution of the European Union. In other words: 862,415 votes against and 752,451 in favour, giving a majority of 109,964 against, decided this time the future of nearly 500 million Europeans. Some pro-Europeans are asking now what eurosceptics have often asked before: “Is this what we call democracy?” The ‘No’ has eventually prevailed, while the Lisbon Treaty had been already ratified in 18 EU member states; those ratifications will possibly serve for nothing, more or less like the previous ratifications of the European Constitution after voters in France and the Netherlands rejected it in similar referenda.

The most common sentences heard in EU member states among supporters of the No are “the EU isn’t a democracy“, because “they didn’t inform us about this or that”, or “they are doing things without us“. Even if such slogans are obviously false and demagogic, they are equally repeated by all parties looking for the No; actual reasons behind No-ist groups are, however, quite different, and can usually be summed up into:

  • Radical leftists, always asking for a “less capitalist” and “more social” Europe; something like a renewed Warsaw pact?
  • Ultraconservatives, who won’t accept anything against their national supremacy concept, be it for racial, cultural, linguistic or historical reasons.
  • AND, no matter what ideas behind them, opposition parties just wanting to take the lead of their country or region, using referenda as another way to show popular support, no matter if it affects the rest of us Europeans. If the Government says YES, they’ll look for some reason to say NO.

Of course, they all “win” when the No wins, and ‘the others’, be it ‘capitalism’, or ‘progress’, or the party looking for the Yes, “loose”. Apparently, apart from British and American eurosceptic media and lobbies, European neonazis and communists are also cellebrating the one-million No throughout Europe, even after complaining so much about the “false democracy” the EU represents, what gives a general idea of who actually “loses” in the European Union with this vote, and who actually cared for democracy in Europe and who didn’t…

If Europe had one common language – and I don’t mean a lingua franca like English, or any Esperanto out there – political discussion and regulation debates at European level could be followed by all; if Europe worked as one democracy, were the majority (not individual countries) decided about the future of us all; and if Europe was something less a customs union, and more of a real country, maybe people would bother to go and vote for their future, instead of resting at home letting the different euroscepticisms – or, better, euroegoisms – of their country’s minorities rule.

By the way, I’m not currently for the Yes of a Constitutional treaty that brings us more of the current distribution of the EU budget pie, among the (unofficious) predominant English use in official communications, the (not-so-official) English+German+French rules regarding common translations, and the 25 official languages into which every important communication should be made available; and the thousands of millions of euros spent yearly to support the so-called “multilingualism” policy in the EU in any possible way, with different programmes and investments, whithout directly admitting those costs as part of their language policy. But, that 862,415 Irish supporting Sinn Féin‘s or UK businessman (founder and funder of Libertas anti-European lobby campaigns) Declan Ganley’s views decide that the rest of us 490 million Europeans should pay for yet another project of the EU Constitution until it is eventually approved, that’s certainly not the idea I have on how to improve things in the EU…

Swastika: A Stupid Taboo in European and American countries

Hindu SwastikaThe swastika (Wikipedia)– from Sanskrit svástika स्वास्तिक – is an equilateral cross with its arms bent at right angles, in either right-facing (卐) or left-facing (卍) forms. The term is derived from Sanskrit svasti, meaning well-being. The Thai greeting sawasdee is from the same root and carries the same implication.

It is a widely-used symbol in Dharmic religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism). Hindus often decorate the swastika with a dot in each quadrant. In India, it is common enough to be a part of several Devanagari fonts. It is also a symbol in the modern Unicode. It is often imprinted on religious texts, marriage invitations, decorations etc. It is used to mark religious flags in Jainism and to mark Buddhist temples in Asia.

Archaeological evidence of swastika shaped ornaments goes back to the Neolithic period. In 1920 the swastika was appropriated as a Nazi symbol, and has since then become a controversial motif. In the Western world, it is this usage as a symbol of Nazism that is most familiar, and this political association has largely eclipsed its historical status in the East.

It occurs in other Asian, European, African and Native American cultures – sometimes as a geometrical motif, sometimes as a religious symbol.

Indo-European and Sanskrit Etymology

The word swastika is derived from the Sanskrit svastika (in Devanagari, स्वस्तिक), meaning any lucky or auspicious object, and in particular a mark made on persons and things to denote good luck. It is composed of Skr. su- (Indo-European (a)sus, cognate with Greek ευ-, and Hittite asu-), meaning “good, well” and asti a verbal abstract to the root Skr. as, “to be” (Indo-European es); Skr. svasti, IE (a)suesti, thus means “well-being”. The suffix –ka forms a diminutive, and svastika might thus be translated literally as “little thing associated with well-being”, Indo-European (a)suéstikā, corresponding roughly to “lucky charm”, or “thing that is auspicious”, although some relate it to the IE reflexive swe (“self”), thus Indo-European swéstikā. The word first appears in the Classical Sanskrit (in the Ramayana and Mahabharata epics). For more on these etymologies see the Etymological notes of our online Indo-European grammar and Indo-European etymological dictionary.

The Sanskrit term has been in use in English since 1871, replacing gammadion (from Greek γαμμάδιον), from Greek gamma.

Alternative historical English spellings of the Sanskrit word include suastika and svastica. Alternative names for the shape are:

* crooked cross
* cross cramponned, ~nnée, or ~nny (in heraldry), as each arm resembles a crampon or angle-iron (German: Winkelmaßkreuz)
* fylfot, possibly meaning “four feet”, chiefly in heraldry and architecture (See fylfot for a discussion of the etymology)
* gammadion, tetragammadion (Greek: τέτραγαμμάδιον), or cross gammadion (Latin: crux gammata; Old French: croiz gammée), as each arm resembles the Greek letter Γ (gamma)
* hooked cross (German: Hakenkreuz);
* sun wheel, a name also used as a synonym for the sun cross
* tetraskelion (Greek: τετρασκέλιον), “four legged”, especially when composed of four conjoined legs (compare triskelion, Greek τρισκέλιον)
* Thor’s hammer, from its supposed association with Thor, the Norse god of the weather, but this may be a misappropriation of a name that properly belongs to a Y-shaped or T-shaped symbol. The Swastika shape appears in Icelandic grimoires wherein it is named Þórshamar
* The Tibetan swastika is known as nor bu bzhi -khyil, or quadruple body symbol.