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  1. #31
    Allergic to Mornings ergophobe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    OK.

    Let's put this into context. I'd say it happened very innocently.

    She was preparing a research trip to Switzerland and Germany, and hence, she needed her passport. In the meantime, she showed it to us, and we compared it to French and Belgian ones (my associate teacher is Belgian).

    -You see, Greek passports are the most beautiful. On each page, you have drawings that relate to our own history! -she said
    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    There's the problem: it wasn't necessarily the comment, it was the context of her cultural pride being expressed, and then your perceived attack of it.
    At least from our limited perspective, that would seem to be the problem. You blindsighted her with what could be perceived as criticism of her country and the pride she clearly takes in it while she was expressing this pride...

    What were you hoping to get out of the conversation? I'm guessing a dialogue on the genocide and perhaps even insight into how someone of your friend's generation may perceive the event now. If that was the case, why didn't you phrase it the way you did here...things seem to have gotten more complicated after X date...what do you think about....versus well, the Greeks really screwed these people over and you know what, the Balkan states were all doing the same at the time...

    The truth is I'm rather extremely critical about my country. And so are Frenchmen: we don't love ourselves, it's a real drama. We are even wondering what it means to be French, since we are the sole true immigration country of Europe: the majority of the current French citizens don't have French ethnic background or French surname : look at our president and ministers for instance! Or if you're less snob, look at our national soccer team!
    I'm with you in history being what it is and we just inherited it (why take pride in something I had no hand in?) I couldn't agree more. I'm still a bit more skeptical of this view of the French as not loving themselves or all being that questioning of French identity. I've seen enough Brits and French soccer fans duke it out after a game (no question of who's French then and whose team is better ), pride in the language seems pretty strong and even if Sarkozy doesn't have a traditionally "French" name, he isn't exactly the poster boy for immigrant friendly policies and the fact that he was popularly elected leaves one wondering about how much the French question their Frenchness when faced with the new faces of French society.


    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    Maybe there is a cultural gap too. The truth is that we French or Belgians don't feel especially "proud" of our history, especially because we know it far too well. So we spend a lot of time complaining about the catalogue of crimes, hypocrisies and varied injustices it really is. For us, feeling "proud" of it just don't make any sense. History just is, and as its heirs, we didn't choose it.

    Even if here, I "play" the French guy and brag about the tremendous qualities of French culture, it's only a kind of role-playing game, just exactly when I complain about the dread Brits. I try to behave exactly the way you would expect I will. And besides, cultural stereotypes always add a kind of flavour to discussions...

    Again, the underlying question seems to be Identity.
    And Identity is often defined by useful unconscious lies, lies you cannot confront or dare to challenge.

    It's a defense mechanism.
    The cultural differences would also be along these lines:
    France is still a pretty important European player. They still have a seat on the security council and a loud voice in international affairs. Compare that to Greece, once the center of the world - they look back to their history for a reason. The French don't need to look back in order to tap into cultural pride.

    Secondly, it's very different being even handed about your history in France with other Frenchmen and another when you're traveling outside of France. One can presume your compatriots have the same historical background you do and a shared understanding that the single event in question does not define France or your identity in any way. When you speak to a foreigner about their history, they don't know that about you. It's easier to perceive a comment like that as an attack.

    Your friend is a minority, the Greek student at a French institute right? She's likely often in the position of having to speak on behalf of all things Greek. It's a bit of a shift not having to do that and feeling like you have to present a positive image of the country when you're outside of it.

    Identity is not something static or a singular layer. Identity is pretty complex and made up of lots of parts - which part gets triggered depends on the context. Inside the country, people take on regional or linguistic pride, outside they take on national pride or patriotism, at a soccer game, they highlight being a fan of whatever team they support...A defense mechanism attached to a particular layer is triggered when that layer is perceived as being under attack. When there is no perceived attack, it's less likely to trigger the defense mechanism you mentioned.


    Well, it depends where you ask in Turkey. The man of the street may well offer you the "death stare", but with scholars and within the universitary milieu, almost everybody knows the truth and will gladly ackowledge it... once they're sure nobody is listening because they could face prison if they denounce the state-negationism that is taught in Turkish schools.
    On Turkey, I spoke with a variety of people and in many different parts of the country, from the North west, south west to the center to the south east getting different answers everywhere. It was the same when speaking of the Kurds or Arabs as they are called in some parts of Turkey. Even in academia, I would not assume people are all even handed when it comes to their history. The Turks are not either, much like the [insert choice of country and its academy here]. Especially if they are not historians, unless they're interested in the area and have spent time reading about it, their version of history may still be the state sponsored one. This view of academia as a necessarily enlightened and progressive place is far too idealistic, even for me (you know that's really saying something now, friend )

    Hope your friend comes around and things aren't quite so awkward at work.
    Last edited by ergophobe; 02-12-2010 at 03:55 PM.

  2. #32
    Senior Member matmos's Avatar
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    Spike Milligan commented on the Troubles in Northern Ireland, some years ago.

    He compared it to two flees arguing over which one owns the dog.

  3. #33
    Queen hunter Virtual ghost's Avatar
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    Hm.... why this sounds so familiar ?

  4. #34
    Senior Member htb's Avatar
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    Blackmail: amusing, if tragic, story. The mother of my old pastor's wife was a Greek national, and reportedly started in on the same anti-Turk litany if somebody so much as uttered the four-letter word.

    On one hand, the only relationships that have suffered damage from political differences weren't essential; but there are enough reasonably important connections that lead me to follow the sex-religion-politics rule of conversation.

  5. #35
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antisocial one View Post
    Hm.... why this sounds so familiar?
    I think we have had something similar in the thread, American English and Australian English in the Bonfire forum.

    On the face of it the argument is absurd about things that happened more than two hundred years ago. But the emotional response to the argument is not absurd because it is occurring now in real time.

    It is almost as though we need an absurd argument to get in touch with our feelings.

    And I think the key words are, "in touch".

    We are in fact using a tactile medium but we are afraid of being touched or of touching, for when we feel something, we say we are touched.

    And what extreme lengths we go to just to be touched.

    We went through the revolutionary war, the reformation and the enlightenment, all topped off with the lexicography of English.

    All so that we can touch one another - even though it feels like punches.

    But when we punch out we are also reaching out. But we punch out and pull back behind our so logical opinions.

    It's a boxing match. Here we are stripped to our shorts under the electric lights trading punches that seen in slow motion, look like caresses.

    So we are moving from the visual individuality of print to the tactile tribe of the internet.

    We are learning something very big and so we can expect to have big emotions along the way.

    So as we retire to our corner of the boxing ring, our trainer tells us to remember to breathe. We are only in the first round and there are nine to go.

    Some of us will make it to the end and some of us will leave the ring. But a surprising number will stay for they recognise they are making their place with the rest of us in the electronic world of the noosphere.

    It's electric and moves at the speed of light. And now so do we.

  6. #36
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Mm. I'd say it's perfectly right to be angry for whatever political/nationalistic feeling you might have, yet I think the second part of her behavior (being offended, not speaking to you anymore) is rather childish. I also have somewhat distasteful feelings for the South-Tyroleans, and might go on a tirade if other people ask me about them; can't see how it could impact my relationship with said person/group of people, though. Anyway, since only 2 days have passed, she might simply be feeling ashamed about her strong reaction, thus her unwillingness to speak with you could be out of embarassment. SarÓ solo un po' imbarazzata, su
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

  7. #37
    Gotta catch you all! Blackmail!'s Avatar
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    So....

    Two weeks have passed, and this Greek girl is still snobbing me, even if we exchanged basic words like "Hello", or "I'm going out", but nothing more complex.

    In the office, her behaviour changed completely, as she began to organize furnitures, posters, computers and books exclusively around her, just as they belonged to her.
    Two other teachers already complained that their books were reorganized without their consent, but nonetheless, she's still there. She even dared to mess with my computer (I have traces of it).

    It seems she's an extreme J. She decides, we are supposed to be her slaves.

    She doesn't seem to realize we invited her to OUR laboratory. But still, she considers it's her space now, she has annexed it, and every other Phd candidate has to submit to her rule.

    So yesterday, we contacted her PhD supervisor (who is a colleague that just drop once every week, but nothing more) to have a solid explanation about what is going on.

    ---

    She has changed so suddenly. In the months before, she was quieter, shier, and more defering. But our little incident seems to have awoken a far more aggressive side of her personality.
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

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  8. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    Mm. I'd say it's perfectly right to be angry for whatever political/nationalistic feeling you might have, yet I think the second part of her behavior (being offended, not speaking to you anymore) is rather childish. I also have somewhat distasteful feelings for the South-Tyroleans, and might go on a tirade if other people ask me about them; can't see how it could impact my relationship with said person/group of people, though. Anyway, since only 2 days have passed, she might simply be feeling ashamed about her strong reaction, thus her unwillingness to speak with you could be out of embarassment. SarÓ solo un po' imbarazzata, su
    I dont feel this way about nationalism or patriotism, although sometimes I get angry when someone who does feel strongly about those things expects me to and has me pigeon holed or hates me as a result of what they perceive me to be.

    On the other hand I generally ignore anyone who is a fan of Any Rand, I hate her books and think differently of anyone or any book which has recommended them.

  9. #39
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I dont feel this way about nationalism or patriotism, although sometimes I get angry when someone who does feel strongly about those things expects me to and has me pigeon holed or hates me as a result of what they perceive me to be.

    On the other hand I generally ignore anyone who is a fan of Any Rand, I hate her books and think differently of anyone or any book which has recommended them.

    The Fountainhead, Anthem, and We the Living are all pretty good books.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  10. #40
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    It's fascinating watching how different cultures react differently to past genocides...
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

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