Today's Story Line

Who are we?

When nations wrestle with this question of identity, it's often framed in terms of geography, history, and the principles and ideals embraced by their people. And with the Olympics in full swing, let's not forget the achievements of their athletes.

But for the Danes, the discussion swirls around their 800-year-old currency. Next week they vote on whether to switch to the euro. The referendum, however, goes beyond money. It's a debate over whether those elements that color them as Danish will be swallowed in a European polychrome (page 1).

In South Africa, the business community is looking for a new identity. Apartheid was the old brand. The challenge now is how to redefine and market the new and improved South Africa to the world (page 1).

David Clark Scott World editor


*BIZARRO WORLD: Reporter Dan Murphy was in the Maluku islands in Indonesia to get a better understanding of the recent violence between Christians and Muslims there. As is often the case in this job, there was an opportunity to witness a traditional local event. One day, Dan followed the governor of Maluku to his home island of Haruku to watch a tribal ceremony that occurs every three years. About 500 boys and men, or half the males on the island, gathered in the main square in front of a mosque. Dressed in white and carrying ceremonial machetes, they went into a trance and began to cut themselves. "They were out of control," says Dan. "Most were devout Muslims. But this wasn't a Muslim or Christian ritual. The roots lie in an ancient ceremony designed to show how strong or how tough a warrior could be. It goes back hundreds of years," he says. As Dan watched the bizarre ritual, a bystander offered his observations. Not about the ceremony before them, but about the inter-religious violence. "You know what the problem is? We're not using our heads anymore. We're becoming too extreme."

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