ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Waking up from the European Dream

Dirty Pretty Things chronicles the lives and fears of immigrants, and presents a scathing dose of reality to counter the narrative of the “European Dream.”

The ex-President of France, Jacques Chirac, famously said that the construction of Europe is an art. The art of the possible. Indeed, for a long time, the idea and images of Europe, which have been constructed through stories, tradition, propaganda, art, and cinema, have depicted it as a world of possibilities. Post World War II, the economic reconstruction of Europe went hand-in-hand with its projection as a haven of human rights; a realm of freedom such as history has never seen before. From the ravages of the two world wars was born a community that focused on union, cooperation, prosperity, democracy, and social justice. Images were carefully constructed to support this. Paris was always represented as the city of love, London, with its palaces and bridges, as a melting pot of various cultures, and Switzerland was the dream destination for every couple on their honeymoon. History peeped from every corner in Europe, yet modernity remained its charm.

This led scholars like Jeremy Rifkin to argue that, like the American Dream, there also existed a European Dream. The dream, he argued, was one in which individuals find security not through individual accumulation of wealth, but through connectivity and respect for human rights. Rifkin also argued that a key component in fuelling this dream was the soft power of the European Union in the sphere of international relations, unlike the hard power of the United States. This European dream appealed to the generations of migrants who poured into Europe, both via legal and illegal means, looking to earn not only a living, but also experience the freedom and community living that Europe promised.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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