The new map is more reminiscent of early modernity, of the trade and pilgrimage routes, of the links between holy cities and routes of world communication. Periphery and centre, far and near – everything is being re-positioned. Even the most recent scenes of coming clashes are marked on this map of the new Europe: the London underground stations, the Moscow metro, the suburban railway station of Madrid-Antoch, where the bombs exploded. Marked on these most recent maps are the places where Europe is at its most vulnerable – in the public spaces of its great cities.
I wish I had expressed this as effectively as Karl Schlögel has here. However, the fuzzy world which he sees coming into view–the one formed in spite of the memories of Cold War conflict between Europeans–has a much deeper history. The Wall divided Europe, but the since of East and West has been ingrained in memory for much longer, at least since the Enlightenment.
Where the West ended and the East began was never clear, and many would argue that they were truly in the West, those over the next hill were in the East. But East and West were two parts of the Christian world at different stages of development. Progress and openness on one side of the continent appeared opposite despotism and feudalism on the other. The western states were in control of their own nations, subsequently dominating the world. The eastern states-if they could be called states–were at the mercy of competing nationalisms.
Moreover, the eastern states were at the periphery, muddle in affairs of Asian countries and peoples. Their orientation forced them to adapt to their social and cultural institutions to the proximity of the non-European world. The orientalism of the West allowed them to overcome geography and dominate the non-European world. The vestiges of this perspective appear whenever affairs of Georgia or Turkey are discussed. It’s not the division between East and West made manifest by Soviet domination. But it is a division made by the West, with a longer life.