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[Opinion] Clash of Egos

Posted November. 01, 2002 23:07,   


Ask European men about the life of the best kind he is dreaming of. An average French man would say – an Italian wife, a French cook, an English policeman and German government officials. When the roles are switched, the best scenario becomes the worst – German wife, English cook, Italian policeman and French officials. It’s a joke but describes the characteristics of peoples of Europe so well. Even those in the story burst into laughter when they hear it.

▷Nations get along well with their neighbors these days. Long ago, however, they often waged territorial wars with each other, and later lashed out at each other over the history of aggression. Still, there were good neighbors, too, due to some geopolitical factors. France and England are the latter kind. As they share a common goal of great Europe as EU members, it is remotely likely that the two will engage in a war, except a clash of egos. In the aforementioned joke, you might notice the way French people implicitly look down upon English food.

▷Such a clash of egos seems to have something to do with the recent incident in which French Jacques Chirac and British Prime Minister Tony Blair had vigorous exchanges. During a heated debate at a EU summit last week, the French leader at one point was offended by his British counterpart and said, ˝You have been very rude.˝ As the press reports on the incident came out in England, the French government announced it would delay a scheduled summit. The clash between the two leaders on the diplomatic stage was first sparked by the difference on EU’s agricultural policy, but it has turned into emotionally charged exchanges between the two countries.

▷Reporting the incident, French AFP illustrated an episode: A French man boasted great things about his country to an English man, ˝We have Riviera Coast, Eiffel Tower and reasonably-price wine.˝ The English man hit back, ˝We have a queen.˝ It’s the French’s turn again, ˝Don’t forget that we offer you nice lingerie, perfume and Juliet Binoche.˝ Then, the English man continued, ˝We gave you the D-day.˝ It is not easy to decide which one we have to side with. It’s not easy either, therefore, whether to say French-British or British-French.

Bang Hyung-nam, Editorial Writer, hnbhang@donga.com