The EU melting pot is melting down

On immigration, Italy's populists are the future. Germany's Merkel is the past.

PHOTO: REUTERS

One hundred and 10 years ago, the British author Israel Zangwill completed his play The Melting Pot. First staged in Washington in October 1908 - where it was enthusiastically applauded by President Theodore Roosevelt - it celebrates the United States as a giant crucible fusing together "Celt and Latin, Slav and Teuton, Greek and Syrian - black and yellow - Jew and Gentile" to form a single people.

"Yes," declares the play's hero (like Zangwill's father, a Jewish immigrant from Russia), "East and West, and North and South, the palm and the pine, the pole and the equator, the crescent and the cross... Here shall they all unite to build the Republic of Man and the Kingdom of God."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 18, 2018, with the headline 'The EU melting pot is melting down'. Subscribe