History is at the heart of all things. It helps us better understand the current state of our societies as we look to the future. The study of history and communications is not only invaluable, but indispensable for the future of our world.
Europe is unique in that it is the only continent that has been historically so conflicted but is currently relatively at peace. In our current historical frame, the European Union serves as a laboratory of universal peace, presenting a unique framework for integration to the whole world. Despite the predominantly economic character of its goals, the EU's founding principles promote the establishment of peace, stability, and cultural tolerance.
From the ruins of the Second World War was born a supranational organization, an arena for dialogue between all European nations. This free and open dialogue was the hope of our grandparents, today a privilege and responsibility that corresponds to our European citizenship .
Nations excluded from the realization of this «European» dream are slowly being called to its boughes. Our task is to strengthen the union between individual European states promoting the learning of their relative national histories. Without factual knowledge of the histories and cultures of new member states, it is impossible to foresee a common future rooted in mutual understanding. In this light, it is necessary to revisit national myths in their various forms, revise unfounded preconceived notions, and dispel of prejudices.
While this process is taking place in Europe, it is important for us not to let the mistakes of the past recur; to avoid at any cost the reconstruction of a dividing wall in Europe. Herein lies the cent aim of our project in Ukraine.
Ukraine, literally 'border-land' or 'edge' – refering to its geographical location between Europe and Asia – is not well known by the French. However, as the EU grows, this region is crucial to understanding and even forming European identity, especially considering the recent Russo-Georgian conflict and the energy conflict. Our generation has a different task to undertake than that of its forerunners: to consolidate its European identity and to this end defend the peaceful and stable environment left to us by our grandparents.
Ukraine is knocking on the EU's door, it seems necessary to show its vast culture, history, and landscape to our fellow citizens. The aim is not to promote Ukraine's integration into EU institutions, but to dispose of common sterotypes such as the 'Ukrainian mason,' which echo all-too-well-known stereotypes to their western neighbours, the 'Polish plumbers'.
Why the Second World War?
Despite the global character of the conflict, we tend to approch the Second World War in its European scope, never forgetting that it originated in Europe as a result of the animosity between old continent powers and the coinciding outburst of nationalism(s) and clashing claims to universalism typical of the European civilization throughout history. This is not to say that we do not acknowledge the reprecussions of the war throughout the world, just that we accept the critical role played by Europe in the accession of this world-wide catastrophe.
On the European front, this conflict constitutes a collective inheritance in which lies our common future. To name a culprit of this tragedy is masking the real issue: the darkness of physical and psychological violence that can spread throughout Humanity as a result of the 'group effect'.
The stance finger-pointing on one hand and of extreme victimization on the other only leads to the kind of dangerous reductionism in which a sense of collective responsibility is eschewed. Such a stance will not help to understand the dangerous ascent of aggressive nationalism, discriminatory ideology, and meticulously planned extermination policies. Thus, we are more concerned with the explanation (as far as it is possible) and in the communication of the chain of events to the end that such a tragedy not recur.