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Blossoming on the young Rhine
2013-09-11 07:25 pm (UTC)
By the time Liechtenstein takes her seat, with her workbasket at her feet and her tea in front of her, she has her answer ready.
'I ask because I wouldn't wish to presume anything that might be misunderstood,' she replies. 'Especially where politics are concerned, and where the politics aren't my own. If I were to speak to one of France's people about Napoleon, for instance, that person might praise him, and speak highly of the good things that he had done for France. But my brother would have a very different opinion. He would not have many good things to say about Napoleon, because to him Napoleon means the Helvetic Republic...a time when his land had been invaded, and his people weren't free. So those are two opinions about one man -- and yet I wouldn't want you to think that my brother's opinions are always my own, any more than you might want me to think that yours are the same as another Frenchman's.'
Her gentle, unassuming expression seems to take on a quiet dignity, a sense of purpose that she usually reserves for affairs of state. 'Since the French Republic means so much to you, I would feel more sure of myself if I knew, first-hand, what
believe and why
fought for it.'
Even Switzerland occasionally forgets that Liechtenstein's earliest education in the art of politics came in Austria and Hungary's house, in the days of their empire. She knows the worth of hearing much and saying little, and the folly of leaving too many unspoken assumptions unchallenged. Most of the time, she has no need to draw on those lessons, but small nations cannot afford to not consider them. And she, too, knows that patriotism needs careful handling even at the best of times.
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