Thursday, June 24, 2010

Euro Tribalism (1990)

(1985) Dry Bones cartoon: European tribalism.
Today's Golden Oldie is a Dry Bones cartoon done 20 years ago, in June of 1990.

Back then we were comfortable with the idea that the borders of African states were drawn with little respect for the primitive tribes and tribal regions of their inhabitants. Europe was more civilized. The people who lived in France were French. The folks who lived in Yugoslavia were Yugoslavian. It all had a neat, intelligent, civilized, European feel to it.

20 years ago we were surprised by the post-cold war rise of tribalism (which in service of preserving our prejudices we call ethnicity). 20 years ago this cartoon brought a laugh. 20 years of European reality has killed the joke.

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As I write this column the latest news is reporting the tribal, anti-Uzbek violence by Kirghiz attackers.

Your thoughts?

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