It’s a glum, grey and morosely beautiful day in Paris: And a public holiday in commemoration of the armistice of 1918 that many believed ( at the time) signaled the end of all wars, and the dawn of an eternal epoch of democracy.
Fast forward to the present, Europe is a vastly different place to what it was close to a century ago. Which is a short space of time as far as the history of human civilisation goes. Well, while in the interim there was a second, equally epic, war, the several lives and costs of two wars seem not to have been borne or lost in vain. As a case in point the European Union remains the most ambitious experiment at regional integration today – and a powerful political statement of this continent’s leaders at moving beyond the past. More symbolically, the existence of the EU is perhaps the highest honor to the memory of the lives of the people that France remembers today. The footage below gives an interesting insight into just how far France and Europe have come – and it is impressively far. From war to the most powerful regional configurations on the face of the earth.
Now this is not to say that the EU is without its problems – particularly today as it faces conflict of a vastly different kind. The challenges today seem to have a distinctly economic tenor – and more so, emerge not necessarily from conflict between the powerful states of Europe – but more so from countries on the peripheries of the continent struggling to manage runaway current account deficits in contrast to say, Germany that sits on an impressive trade surplus.
It’s a different era, and the concerns of 1918 seem far removed from today. But be that as it may, the mere presence of a Union among former enemies struggling with economic issues definitely seems to underscore the fact that not only has Europe come a long way – but that the lives lost were definitely not lost in vein.