I have traveled quite a bit, mainly with my life-partner George before he transited to Spirit in 1991. I’ve re-visited several countries since, and added Tunisia and the continent of Africa to my list of places visited. I do not count Croatia as I had been there more than once when it was part of Yugoslavia.
There was a thing on Facebook about which country you should have been born in. One of those silly Q. and A. things which always come up with the wrong answer as the Q. and A. are inappropriate. Mine came up with Brazil, a country/continent I’ve never visited, though I do have an Internet friend there.
This got me thinking which countries would I like to have been born in or lived in. I consider myself an EU citizen rather than a British citizen or an English one, and would register as an EU citizen now if it were possible.
As to which counties I would have liked to have lived in, this is a very difficult thing to choose as there are so many. Advantages and disadvantages with many of them.
The USA is appealing, especially the cities of New York and Chicago, though the Deep South such as New Orleans has its attractions. The downside of USA, of course, is its lack of a free National Health Service, and its aggressive capitalist and world domination policies. Having said that, the people of all countries I have no quarrel with, it is the governments and their policies which I am often critical of, not least the British government.
For a Marxist, of course, there are few places left. Venezuela possibly, or Cuba. North Korea is a no-no as it is a monarchy in all but name, a Stalinist one. It does, however, have some advantages: no rents, no taxes, and a very green policy. The famous satellite photo of South Korea and China ablaze with light, and North Korea in almost total darkness at night is a great boost for Green ecology policies. North Korea is saving energy by not lighting its streets at night, though this is now slowly changing. It also has few cars, like former Stalinist Albania under Enver Hoxha. So his Albania was also cutting down on carbon monoxide pollution from cars.
Former Yugoslavia was the most successful Socialist country, with its market Socialism based mainly on cooperatives. This is the economic system which appeals to me most of all, plus it was a very beautiful country. Alas it is no more, torn apart by tragic ethnic wars and genocide, and Tito’s unique brand of Socialism dumped. Hopefully it will be revived in future somewhere in the world, as it is, I feel, the future model for a successful Socialist system.
Former East Germany (the German Democratic Republic) always had a strong attraction for me, and even today former GDR citizens often have a strong nostalgia (Ostalgie) for the former Socialist republic. I loved the drama of Berlin where the Socialist East was juxtaposed with the capitalist enclave of West Berlin. On two visits to the GDR I found it a modern country, in fact one of the leading industrial nations in the world. It’s downside, of course, was the lack of freedom to travel to the West (unless you were a government official or a pensioner) and in common with the other Marxist-Leninist countries, no opportunity to vote out a corrupt government even within the Socialist Constitution.
The modern day countries of France and a united Germany I also find very attractive. I love Paris, and never had any problems with the French people. I am sure I would pick up the language quickly, and already know a tiny bit. I was starting to pick up more on two visits to Tunisia.
I’ve never had any problems with the German people either, and admire their efficiency. They were the ones who made Soviet-style Socialism work best (though Yugoslavia adopted a more efficient system). The united Germany is also attractive. I love the language, and there are some very beautiful places especially in the South of the country. Austria too is a beautiful country, again with the wonderful German language.
Barcelona with its fantastic Gaudi architecture has a strong appeal. So Catalonia (Spain) has to be added to the list.
Of course as a Marxist the old Soviet Union had a strong appeal. Moscow was a favorite city of mine with its Stalinist skyscrapers and marvelous Metro, also owing much to the former Soviet dictator. Leningrad, as it was known on my two visits, was a more historic place, with buildings painted in different pastel colors according to the century they were built. A vast federation, you surely would have plenty of variety if you were allowed to travel around the old USSR.
Australia is another country we visited and fell in love with, or at least the Southeast corner when we visited Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney, staying most of the time in the latter.
A complete no-no is Cyprus or Greece. My father was Greek-Cypriot, but despite the rumors about Greeks in the past, both are extremely homophobic, and of course the same applies to the modern Russian Federation. Much of this homophobia is due to the Orthodox Church in these countries, and Cyprus until recently had a system of arranged marriages, with gays forced to marry or go abroad. Despite the Greek-Cypriot part being part of the EU, it seems homophobia is far from being wiped out and racism abounds. The Greek-Cypriots hate the Turkish-Cypriots and vice versa because of their bloody history. My sympathies are all with the downtrodden Turkish-Cypriots, and I have several times visited their unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. I cannot say, however, that either Cypriot republic really appeals to me, nor the Turkish mainland, though there are some very interesting places there which I have visited.
So, to sum up, I guess I would be happy to be an EU citizen in a federal United States of Europe, able to travel thruout the EU without restriction, and proud to stand up for the EU anthem Ode to Joy and respect the blue and gold EU flag. I feel an affinity with all Europeans, and never want war to break out on our continent again. Yes, it is a capitalist EU at the moment, but many member countries have strong Socialist/Communist traditions, and with the European Left Party, which I am affiliated to through Left Unity Party in Britain, I have high hopes of a Socialist EU or breakaway European Socialist Union in the distant future.
Better still to be a world citizen under a confederal world government and proud to salute the UN flag. That, however, is even further away than the prospect of a federal European Union.
Hi and very interesting Tony and as a non – political globetrotter I have to say Caracas, Venezuela having lived there does not appeal, very dangerous and corrupt; the wealthy have all!
Though spending formative years in South East Asia with few memories of it though more of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia than anywhere. Australia and New Zealand and Africa have never called me but have always wanted to see Japan, towns like Kyoto to see the traditional architecture.
Having been to the caribbean and seen its amazing beaches and turquoise for real coloured clear seas finding since cruising them that one was much like the other! I suppose this echoes of spoilt brat, I do realise I am fortunate to have traveled but you are curious to see where and where not people want to travel and logically reasons needed to determine why.
Russia though St.Petersburg attracts as does Mocow for its architecture, it also does not pull me me to visit. The U.S.A. I enjoyed though N.Y.C. to visit not to live and South Beach, Florida the same.
Colorado and Ohio a similar story but loved seeing the varying panoramas of the various states. An interest to visit California and like to see San Francisco as it looks extremely pretty but informed often fogged over! Canada has not pulled me so now the places of interest?
Home where my heart is Bavaria, having lived there love it, breathtaking scenery, friendly and welcoming people, Bavaria is a separate state within Germany but the country appeals to me generally. Living in Gran Canaria and loving the beach and party life there for three years, great memories of it though I would hesitate to say I would like to live there again.
Sweden beautiful but in truth could not learn the language in the four year there and found the Swedish people hard to integrate with though communication not a problem, the most being profficient in English with no trace of an accent. The Swedes are perfectionists by nature!
Paris always my favourite city so would like to live there but with money so an apartment close to the Champs Elysee and with the cash flow to travel from there and return et Je parle un peu francais so would find the language no problem. Like yourself I have never had a problem with being accepted by and acceptable to French people as similarly in my four years in Bavaria never ever experienced prejudice!
It’s the Britsh prejudice against the Germans not vice verse. Odd as the Germans were occupied by other Germans, the Nazis as not all Germans were but had to keep quiet or be shot or worse themselves. People do need to do their homework in this respect and get their facts straight and not pre-judge in ignorance!
Romania, Czechoslovakia and Hungary again interesting to visit as so too Italy but no hankering for return trips. Spain being a different story, love the people, the langauge, the mentality!
Mi secundo idioma en el mundo es Espanol so that helps!
I have never had a connection with England where I am from, always felt a foreigner here and most particularly ironically in London but felt comfortable living in Swansea, Wales finding the South Welsh people welcoming to me. So in conclusion places I would like to visit being Morocco, Istanbul, Dubai, Israel, Hawaii, Monaco come to mind.
If offered a ticket to the place of my heart though and even a one way trip und das ist mein heimat, eine kleine stadt Lohr am Main, Bayern, Deutschland fur heute und immer naturlich!April 20th, 2014 at 1:20 am
We are both truly world citizens, Andrew. Though Venezuela and much of Latin America has changed, and is changing. In the case of Venezuela since the late Hugo Chavez came to power in a popular vote. He and several other Latin American leaders are championing the poor, so are not popular with the powers that rule the USA. Remember what happened to Senor Allende of Chile when he tried to help the poor, not to mention Pope John Paul I when he proposed selling the Vatican treasures to help the poor!April 20th, 2014 at 1:29 am
Totally agree with you about being and feeling European and wish this identity was felt stronger in the UK then it is at the moment.
Though I fully agree about our Cyprus- beautiful place but completely ruined by the two dominant religions tearing it apart.April 20th, 2014 at 6:53 am