Different and Diverging: Do we believe in the same values?

Take a good look at the map of Europe we have enclosed with the article. Does it look like.

“OK, West Europe is blue and these are the former capitalist countries. And the red is, hmmm…. Eastern Europe and the former Socialist countries?” Well, almost.

In fact, this is the map that shows the support for the samesex marriages in Europe. There is an almost clear cut between East and West, with a noticeable exception of the Czech Republic switching to the Western side. There is also a clean split in what one half of Europe considers tolerable, desirable, OK, good, whatever you call it, and what the other half consider taboo-ish, undesirable, bad, not OK. Never in its history, since the religious wars, Europe was so divided, and this division comes in the times of peace.


The West has its own problems, and we are not talking only about the Western Europe. In the USA, if you see the headlines, you will notice what kind of news dominates – is Colin Kaepernick a hero or a traitor, endless debates about his protests, Black Lives Matter (of course, they matter), LGBT rights, anti-immigration issues, anti-Semitism, anti-Islamism, gender issues… How can we presume a person’s sex? Or is it gender? Is it fluid when we declare that sexuality is fluid and it is a spectrum, rather than black and white? Some of my friends got instantly banned from an LGBT-website purely by joking “OK, if there more than just two genders, how can the letter “B” stand for “bisexual” when “BI” means “two”?

“When you marry anyone you want to and say you are whatever you feel, but it has to be just one person, so, is that monogamy?” “Why is this so when we have polygamy in real life, even in the West? And polyandry in the Himalaya region, and of course, the old-fashioned polygamy in Asia, Africa, the Muslim world and further? When does that end?” Why are we inventing new language constructs to change psychology? Who knows?! It is all up in the air now! The West is preoccupied with the identity questions, although identity is purely individual.


In the East, with Eastern Europe increasingly drowning in nationalism and conservatism, from Ukraine and Russia to Poland and Hungary, from Croatia to Albania and Bosnia and Serbia via the breakaway province Kosovo, people are increasingly raising their voices against this fluidity. The Muslim World was, just like Eastern Europe until recently, imitating the West, but now, it seems that everybody is getting tired of imitating. They are trying to form their own identity. Some of them tried that with the Islamic State, Al Qaeda or Muslim Brotherhood, but the experience proved to be too bitter, so they switched to a more liberal Islam. But this is not the liberal Islam from 1955, when every woman had a choice to wear a scarf or go bare-headed. Now, in many countries, with Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and especially Tunisia being exceptions, almost all women wear headscarves. Even if they are not obligated to! They refused us, they refused our system, our values, they spat us out as tasteless and rotten. They don’t converge to us, nor do they have a wish to. They despise us for our materialism, for not having kids and family, for pursuing careers and pleasures. Once it was called freedom, now it is a shame. We did something wrong, maybe? It all depends on your point of view. Even Turkey is trying to find its way and its own cultural model.


OK, enough with Kipling, although sometimes his verses come to mind when you are asking yourself certain questions. In China, they don’t even give you a chance to see the other side. The most recent surprise, which was not in fact really a surprise, was the censorship of The Bohemian Rhapsody in cinemas. Fox allowed China to cut some pivotal moments from the film, which we now know include a mention or an allusion to Freddie Mercury’s sexual identity. Freddie’s kiss with his colleague and his boyfriend were cut. And the crucial scenes like the one when Freddie Mercury’s lover and friend Mary confronts him over his sexuality and when he says: “I think I’m bisexual,” and she replies with: “No, Freddie, you’re gay.”, are entirely cut out. The scene when Freddie gropes his boyfriend is also cut out, so the audience does not have a clue how he knows the guy all of a sudden. The scene where Freddie follows the truck driver into the toilet also cut out. And so on.


These are two different films in fact with almost all seminal moments taken out. We don’t even have different opinions; we see different versions of reality and art. Does that seem normal to you? Maybe it is, but to me it is somehow sad. When I was a kid I believed in a Star Trek future; all races and religions of the Earth united with no trace of racism, sharing the same values. I fail to see many shared values nowadays, apart from a common wish for profit and fame.


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