The European Union – Rebuilding Babel

Categories: United Nations

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the flag of the Europen Union (EU)

European Parliament building in Strausburg. This building was designed by Richard Rogers, using strong references to a painting by Pieter Brueghel the Elder

On the far left is a 1563 painting of the Tower of Babel, painted by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, who was a Northern Resaissance Painter. On the right is a poster produced by the EU. It uses the 12 stars of the EU flag with the rebuilding of the tower of Babel. The EU motto is Europe: Many Tongues One Voice. The poster was withdrawn after Christians protested, but its production speaks volumes about European aspirations.

Capitoline Hill, Rome, October 29, 2004 – Signing the new EU constitution in the Apparatamento dei Conservatori, Sala degli Orazi e Curiazi. The bronze statue in the back is of Pope Innocent X by Alessandro Algardi.





The Laeken Declaration asks: “Does Europe not, now that is finally unified, have a leading role to play in a new world order, that of a power able both to play a stabilising role worldwide and to point the way ahead for many countries and peoples? Europe as the continent of humane values, the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the French Revolution and the fall of the Berlin Wall; the continent of liberty, solidarity and above all diversity, meaning respect for others’ languages, cultures and traditions. The European Union’s one boundary is democracy and human rights. The Union is open only to countries which uphold basic values such as free elections, respect for minorities and respect for the rule of law.” Delanty, G. (1995) Inventing Europe – Idea, Identity, Reality. London: MacMillan. 



“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.  Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.  So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.”  (Genesis 11:1-9)

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