Yes, of course, we are all indignant and horrified and incredulous and ashamed: the death and decomposition of the international state system causes mayhem and suffering that defies reason and imagination. Everybody has seen the wordless statement of UNICEF: they could not find words to express what they have seen and what they have felt.
Various ethnic and political groups in Syria are killing each other and they are also killed by the states of Turkey, Iran, Russia, the US, Saudi Arabia, Israel and others with weapons sold by EU members. The egalitarian, feminist and socialist enclaves created by the Kurdish left are attacked with particular ferocity by Mr Erdoğan’s army.
It is the logic of media reporting (by no fault of the press: people cannot digest too many atrocities, it’s just human nature) that the new massacre makes us forget the massacre begun yesterday.
The unimaginable horror of Syria where you really cannot single out the worst butcher among so many will create a smokescreen behind which the different kind of horror of the Turkish dictatorship is conveniently hiding. The Rohingya of Myanmar are barely mentioned any longer. Yemen is forgotten. The new dangers in the Congo are retreating into near-invisibility.
And everybody else is complaining, too, even in relatively peaceful and rich countries where the last vestiges of bourgeois democracy are vanishing and where racism and xenophobia and ethnicism are taking over. These latter are régimes of fear and hatred.
But who is feared and who is hated in this Europe where it is my fate – you might say, my good fortune – to live?
It is precisely the few who manage to escape from various locations of hell, yesterday called Aleppo, now called Afrin and Ghouta, tomorrow who knows. It is not victorious armies or fearsome insurgents, but terrified refugees driven insane by pain and mourning and by the cruelty of armed men. It is not the cruel armed men who are hated, but their victims.
It is not the torturers but the tortured. [Continue reading…]