The last time I visited Rumania, in 1977, I went as a peace researcher. At that time, the political climate was growing colder, after the relatively open years around 1970. Europe was in decline.
– À la fin tu es las de ce monde ancien
Bergère ô tour Eiffel le troupeau des ponts bêle ce matin
Tu en as assez de vivre dans l'antiquité grecque et romaine
Ici même les automobiles ont l'air d'être anciennes.
Seventy years after Roosevelt our continent is getting a New Deal. Old man Europe was split by an iron curtain after WW2. Now it is visibly starting to cohere. This time, I am here as a librarian. And I am not at all tired of l'antiquité grecque et romaine.
Two weeks ago, at the central bus station in Florence, I saw the morning bus from Italy to Romania pulling out of its bay. Western businessmen are pouring into Bucharest – a new capitalist frontier. Romanian artists, programmers and ordinary workers are percolating westwards. They will come back – with time. Migrations belong to the longue duree (Braudel).
The making of the modern world-system (Wallerstein) started with guns, colonies and exploitation. Today, it is the flow of people that ties societies together.