Lie of union and plea for fall of nations | Sunday Observer

Lie of union and plea for fall of nations

21 June, 2020

In late February, as the new coronavirus bared its teeth in Italy, I was not too worried. The European Union was strong and I was sure they would step in with the support needed to at least curb the spread if not kill it off completely.

Yet, as the days went by I didn’t see what I wished to see and as the virus took a bulldog hold on that country I watched in open mouthed astonishment as it dawned on me that the EU was doing nothing to help it. Instead, each of the member states of the EU decided to police its borders at the nation level. That astonishment quickly turned to anger in a series of appeals, rants and whatnot on social media. Then I gave up on the EU as the EU had given up on Italy. My conclusion in early March became world opinion by mid-March.

The Union of Europe had to all intents and purposes, proved to the world that it never really existed or, probably, when push came to shove, ceased to exist in the spirit in which such matches are made. It had reduced itself to the realm of all that is meaningless. By mid-April, the EU had opened their faucets and were sobbing sorries in the general direction of Rome and to some it seemed a reaction not of the heart but of fear at the intrusion of the “infidels” of China and Cuba who both stepped in and solved Italy after the EU had abdicated its responsibility. Whether it was guilt and alarm, or, guilt or alarm is not important to me. I really don’t care. What I do care about is the fall – and I cannot call it anything less or sugarcoat it in any way – of a marriage of nations out of which I hoped for a stronger, more stable more lasting outcome from which the world could really learn a few things.


Look, folks, we are dealing with a vastly reduced world where we are closer to someone half-way across it than we are to the person living next door. We are contending, clashing and resolving across borders at the level of each individual human being regardless of the specific geography each calls home. We exist within life systems that routinely and casually bypass country specifics and nation sensibilities. We live in an era where we can create pseudo-nations of people living in multiple geographies and mobilise a hundred million people from 200 planetary points to come together and work together for common dreams and collective aspirations in a matter of days. If one is a rational human being, one must seriously reimagine the classical idea of nations.

At the seven-hour congressional hearing into George Floyd’s death, a group called “Black Visions Minnesota” (BVM) was mentioned by one congressman as a group that was being supported by some of his peers in the house. BVM apparently, had the following to say, “It’s not enough to only abolish police, or prisons, we need to abolish race, abolish ICE, abolish the military, abolish the state, abolish the borders”.


The congressman concerned uttered those words almost as if he didn’t believe what he was hearing while implicitly vilifying his peers for raising money for this group. What BVM’s motives are and/or what counter-anger or counter-hatred prompts them to make such demands is debatable, but the essence of that statement is a plea for the dismantling of institutionalised governance which I spoke about last week.

They ask for the removal of borders. They, and many others across the world, are waking up to the fact that this idea of caging and qualifying our reading of our fellow human beings through a bunch of lenses that have been forced upon our eyes like race, country, nation is a mechanism that is irrelevant in the contemporary world.

In fact, although the historic spread of the human population across the world and the resultant need for group-wise protection created countries, increasingly, it looks as if the journey of nations is done.

The faster we recognise that fact, the faster we can reboot the present and reengineer the future.

The idea is not new. I first heard it and loved it as a 13-year-old, four decades ago when I read this from Ursula K. Le Guinin The Left Hand of Darkness, “How does one hate a country, or love one? Tibe talks about it; I lack the trick of it. I know people, I know towns, farms, hills and rivers and rocks, I know how the sun at sunset in autumn falls on the side of a certain plough land in the hills; but what is the sense of giving a boundary to all that, of giving it a name and ceasing to love where the name ceases to apply? What is love of one’s country; is it hate of one’s uncountry? Then it’s not a good thing.... Insofar as I love life, I love the hills…, but that sort of love does not have a boundary-line of hate. And beyond that, I am ignorant, I hope.”

Years later, in 2007, I said, “I have a serious problem with people who claims ownership of a piece of geography that existed millions of years before they became part of it and will continue to exist millions of years after they and their kin have ceased to be even a part of its dust”.

Coloured thinking

No doubt my thinking was coloured by Ursula’s brilliantly insightful and farsighted mind, but folks, our world is now realising the wonderful potency of coming together seamless, qualifier-less, borderless.

They want to taste the fullness of untrammelled, unrestricted person-to-person engagement. Like the congress people supporting an iffy group like BMV on the principle of the matter and unlike that other congressman who was aghast at the very thought, they want to see, quickly, that which I personally thought the EU might get to eventually. They want this simplification, right here, right now, regardless of -and despite of- the legacy leaders who still default to borders and lose sight of the power of union.

Sure, the DNA in some of us enmeshed in the untenable system of differentiated nations may shudder and revolt at the very thought, but face it folks: the fact that the world is one predates humankind. Humankind, for various reasons and through various organic and situational processes, attempted to prove that adage false. Humankind failed itself and the world in that attempt.

Humankind through forces that no border can control is now urgently reminding itself of the fact. Its salvation may well lie, even belatedly, in universally acknowledging it. Regardless of who makes it, the plea for the breaking down of nations is not merely an ask. It is a necessity.