This probably happened in Greek antiques times also: if you sat in on some of the debates of the speakers, you might fall asleep. And so today, the television documentaries that now allow us to listen, or sleep through serious debate between world leaders.
More often you change channels if you are not ready to sleep. Today I watched a politician from Russia speak and deny any manipulative intent on the well known fact that Russia turns the gas off in the winter when it wants to make a point with a freezing neighbor.
Russia does not have good relations with many neighbors with it’s offended attitude hat it does not get enough respect.And this documentary today involved members of the parliament of Europe who were discussing long term plans.
It was a given, several European members said to a disbelieving representative of Russia, that once Serbia handed over the known two criminals wanted for war crimes against humanity, the process was ready to begin to encourage and eventually allow Serbia to join as a full member of the European Union, as would their neighboring state, Kosovo.
The Serb, and the Russian, squirmed uncomfortably. These two Slavic peoples are historically close, Russia and Serbia, and while such a decision was surprising, it seemed to both the Serb and Russian, it is likely in the historic inevitability that widening Europe, as it embraces and reaches beyond to consider Ukraine and Turkey, will mop up these last small bits of Europe.
And especially since this year the first part of the old Yugoslavia to break away, Slovenia, has the Presidency for this year of the European Union. What a great time to look beyond Brussels and the deep blue sea.
What one Swedish sounding member said was that Europe could embrace very naturally all the former lands of the Moors from the Atlantic to the Black Sea. He felt this could be a natural extension of a wider minded and more complete free market and democratic union of peoples, what ever it’s name.
So, in the title, we included famous leaders from each area and imagine how they used to get along. We take in north Africa with Hannibal, add Caesar, should have Cleopatra but she comes with Caesar, as did Britain, some but not all of the lands of Kemal Ataturk of Turkey, the great modernizer,the mighty Hun, Attila for north of the old Roman line.
While we all should hope, and we know they hope that Ukraine will some day join. But while huffy Ivan to the north may cut off the winter fuel, that remains touchy.
And while France is now almost completely independent of the need for oil and gas from Russia with all their nuclear power plants, Ukraine has Chernobyl still glowing and steaming, so the Russian bear holds many hostage, cuts the tap off when angry, only in freezing winter weather to panic Europe.
The man from Russia denied this when asked, and huffed and puffed much. That is why Ivan is still somewhat terrible, and stays out of the Greek antiques democracy club that may sooner go from sea to sea to sea to sea. Wow.
So imagine, one day perhaps soon. Without passport, it could happen and they are talking it now. One day you could drive a round trip, say from Oslo to Rome. Then around the great sea near Rome you drive to a grand bridge or a tunnel. That bridge will go up over, or a tunnel will go under near the Pillars of Hercules, Gibraltar, and you enter ancient Morocco in Africa.
Go see Casablanca, then drive east towards Tunis, and nearby is Carthage. Perhaps Tunisia could rebuild Carthage with funds from Europe; rich irony. And then turn it into an exclusive spa, no ancient Romans allowed. Follow the Roman ruins and modern wonders past oilfields and over to Alexandria. You then check the safety, get somehow to Damascus because it was first and is still populated for 7,000 years. Watch out for wars. Caesar and Hannibal off in the weeds.
When you see Jericho, remember it was the first town or city. It is 10,000 years old. People first cultivated wheat here, and domesticated animals. Enjoy Troy and marvel at the ancient Greek, Roman, Ottoman city of the world, Istanbul. Ataturk brought Turkey into the modern era, and many especially in western Turkey wish to join Europe.
As you cross over that bridge, you have traveled southern Europe, north Africa, west Asia, and now you are back in Europe. Down into Greece you could drive to Stagira, the town that King Phillip rebuilt for Aristotle, as it was his home town.
In a rage that his son Alexander would later repeat at Persepolis in Persia, Phillip had burned the town to the ground. But as a favor to Aristotle, Stagira was rebuilt so an academy could be created for Aristotle to teach young Alexander and other young princes.
If you pause and sit by the sea here, as Alexander must have done often, you look over at what had been mighty Persia. Imagine young Alexander taking in the heroic stories of battles for centuries to hold off mighty Persia.
Take a moment to walk that beach, glare at Persia, build a plan, talk to each other prince from each Greek city state until gradually they all refer to you as one who seemed destined to be great.
You can begin to truly believe it yourself. You boast that ten thousand Greeks, if united, and using his secret plans (16 foot long sharpened pikes against four foot long swords), could conquer one hundred thousand soldiers of Persia, to the nervous laughter of all. Within short decades it had been done.
Once you are past the fabled battle field of Marathon and Athens, you can find your way to get back to Rome. Then go home. Where you may finally have to show your passport.
That’s the new Europe, of Moorish intent. And the industry of Europe will keep them at home, prospering in democracy and free trade for all. The dream is that drive would all have been complete, without showing a passport. How civilized, how sweet.