If a separation wave tosses the UK's shore…

The separation story of Scotland stems from modern nationalism and perhaps from the fact that it’s the last chapter of a kind of story, which cost a lot to the whole world and our region in particular.

If a separation wave tosses the UK's shore…

Akif Emre

The election results, which will determine whether Scotland will break off from the UK – or to be more clear, from England – is significant, especially for the individual voters. The election, per se, is pregnant with important consequences.

The dismantling of the UK, which once was the empire “where the sun never set” and looked like a fisher isle, can be read as the decline for the advanced historical point of European enlightenment today.

The unity of Scotsmen with the British also means their common history, in which they built the British Empire, enlightenment, industrial revolution and the idea of Anglo-saxonism together. 

It did not remain simply as being in such an intertwined state since their existence affected the major part of world history in the last two centuries to some extent. Now, we are talking about how this fascinating political, social and intellectual magic was disillusioned.

The separation story of Scotland stems from modern nationalism and perhaps from the fact that it’s the last chapter of a kind of story, which cost a lot to the whole world and our region in particular.

In fact, the recent history attests how modern nationalism invoked terrible plagues to Europe. Just as in the case of fascism, which modern nationalism gave birth to with dreadful consequences, its relevance to our case is about the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire, which cannot be accounted for any other reason than nationalism.

When I checked the registries of Scots at the castle of Edinburgh who fell during the defense of their country, I recall having thought about the meaning of nationalism in the imperialistic sense. Most of the locations where these soldiers died in World War I were recorded as Gallipoli, Palestine and Baghdad, all which we forgot a long time ago. Regardless of its intense tone, the French nationalism, just like the German and British nationalism, was the determining movements of the age of imperialism (colonialism). Interesting enough, nationalism, as the dynamic behind the colonial empires or which functioned as social cement, played a complete destructive role for the Ottoman Empire in particular.

For the sake of imperial projects, especially among the various subjects of the Ottoman Empire, nationalism was encouraged and provoked. These effects of a sort of epic nationalism were going to turn into the shackles, with which the colonial politics would bind the feet of the new nation states.

At this point, the special condition of modern nationalism, which emerged as a destructive and separating movement in the Ottoman Empire, can be put as follows: Nationalism developed in great empires first among the ruling bodies and advanced into the establishment of the state nation concept around this idea.

In other words, in the French empire, there is no case of minority nationalism, but the ruling authority nationalism. Thus, an assimilation process was activated in order to “frenchify” the remaining ethic differences. It is a reality that in many European countries the ethnic belonging is shaped as a super value in the consequence of similar processes.

On the other hand, this project operated a destructive function for us. It can be said that nationalism appeared first among the non-Muslim minorities and then transferred into the ruling Muslim subjects. It developed at a very late period among the ruling Muslims. The disaster of Turkish nationalism afflicted us only in the final period.

The separatist wave of the Scottish nationalism tossing the British shores is a sort of complementary point of such historical cycle. This process indicates that the English political reasoning, which once was capable of retaining the British imperial power through intrigues, is now desperate to design its own homeland. An ideological movement, which it urged as a destructive thing to tear apart the Middle East, has finally struck its own shores.

On the other hand, when we read this in the formula of the European Union, we find that a different identity is co-operating in parallel with this micro-nationalism. As an ideal of the Roman Empire, the European Union is a project that aims at removing the boundaries for a super value, as opposed to the micro nationalism, which dismantles the current states, in particular, of the Middle East. 

At this very point, what remains as a paradox is the EU’s supra-identity which has encouraged the rise of ethnic and regional nationalism, like the Scottish nationalism.

In many countries ranging from Spain to Italy, there will be similar cases of separation, which will come out to the surface from now on. On one hand, there is the EU, which ostensibly seems to be a unifier; on the other hand, it provides a new wave micro nationalism, which tears countries apart in these regions.

Let us see if Europe’s skills for producing solutions with its contradictions will help it in this new term. The 20th century witnessed the collapse of the European myth. Let us see if the EU formula, as a last resort for Europe before the waters dry up, will help it or not.

Last Mod: 21 Eylül 2014, 17:31
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