Europe is rightfully mine, but I am not, nor would I ever wish to be European.
Nor would Europe have me. It is fine with my presence only as long as I’m from a distant stolen overbearing land you “discovered” for me. Nonetheless Europe is mine.
And not because I could buy it (I can’t). And not because it is in my blood. This they would happily concede. I can even live there as long as I don’t have anything deeper to say about who you are, who we are, what we’ve done. Together.
Terrible collaboration. You promised us wealth you thought you could take back later. As you’ve so often done. And we committed your crimes for you: kidnapping, murder, rape, plunder. And gained our peculiar taste for blood. Memories for cotton and gold. An empire of smoke. Fake smiles, false hope, perverted dreams. Now you do as we tell you, as long as we don’t try to tell you who you are. Europe is mine.
It was mine even when you wouldn’t have me, didn’t need me, pretended not to know my name, as you stole my food and my land starving me on rotten starches in Ireland, pushed me into ghettos, camps and graves in Poland, Ukraine, Germany, Belarus, Hungary… I could go on.
Europe is mine.
We’re the monster you created in your image. Overbearing Americans. Ignorant Americans. Imperialist Americans. Exceptional Americans. White night. We’re your brothers, we’re your children and your parents, we’re your nightmare, we’re your four horsemen, we’re Pandora and the box, both Jupiter and Saturn, holy partners in sin.
Yet I long to wander the streets of Prague, Vienna and Petrograd, Dublin and Belfast, Gomel and Uman, rural Kerry and Donegal, to hold them close, to see more than lost shadows, touch more than broken earth and stone, hear more than a jumble of wispy half-remembered words torn out from a promise of edifying memories, of more than sorrow, fear and pain, to speak in disremembered dismembered tongues, whispering that I’m not lost, oh no, I am found, to belong to more than somber songs urging me to keep the children in the school or to come back to hushed valleys and visit the dead, Europe is still mine…
But America (in all its plurals) is not mine. And never will be. And never should be. Nor is Africa. Nor Asia. Nor the so called “Middle East”. Still there I am, here I am. An uninvited guest, overstaying, “mistaking” hospitality for generosity for thanksgiving for salvation for destiny for cries for help for natural hierarchy for family values for fait accompli. I’ll leave my shoes on thank you very much. Just slide the keys under the door.
So I pray if there is any justice, if there is any hope, if truth has any meaning at all, you and I will be devoured and Europe will be theirs.
If you love it, set it free.