Neither NATO nor Russia: considerations against dehumanisation

The war knocking at our doors here in Europe. Allegedly Europe is a happy island but, in reality, it is like a fine carpet under which to hide its dirty deeds while forcing us Europeans to reflect on how fragile our privileged position is.

During Claudia Palazzo’s interview, Mario Corti,  former director of the Russian Service of the U.S. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, has said: “Putin is convinced and he is not far wrong,  that we are just wimps willing to give in so that we won’t  give up our standard comforts”. Laziness and privileges. This is very true, let’s not hide behind a finger.

We are the Panem of the real world, we have been convinced that we deserve our privileges and that no other system can be contemplated -if this was the case we would still be living within feudalism, thankfully systems tend to evolve and we would have already lived into a very different society that cares about the common good, the so called “revolution of care”. Instead, we are here supporting a system that is treating us as slaves and is making us numb. A system clearly not based on equality, but on submission, exploitation, wealth into the hands of the few depending on the poverty of many.

Peace holds the knife between its teeth.

This war forces us to see the truth about a system we live in and the rotten link between imperialism, capitalism and fascist political structures, nationalist ideologies that are strongly based on lies and exploitation of peoples and territories and that harms human beings with the whole planet. Moreover, with war we have the comeback of sick stereotypes and language. It is useless to express hatred towards the war if nobody acts against any precondition that laid the groundwork for it.

According to the Annual Report of the General Secretary of the Atlantic Alliance (March 2021) and despite the economic impact due to Covid, in 2020 there has been a considerable increase in Global Defence Expenditure compared to the previous year.  It says “The upward trend in military spending within NATO is thus confirmed for the seventh consecutive year. The largest expenditure continues to be that of the United States, which covers about 70% of total NATO expenditure. The Report also shows a 3.9% increase over 2019 in total defence spending by Europe and Canada.” It would be wise to remember Europe is not NATO, and vice versa. Europe, as a concept has proven to be “successful” in terms of progress and internal peace keeping, knowledge of all its cultures among neighbouring country and educational experiences such as Erasmus that promotes successful human and cultural exchange. Yet, this is not what the current system in the world wants to feed on. 

Conceptually there can be no Pax without Bellum, but in reality, we can only hope for a better world. If the political and economic structure of Imperialism and Capitalism we are drowning in were dismantled, money could be invested in improving everybody’s lives, starting from education. However, this is not happening as the system of governments and lobbies -starting with the Army-would implode and the world leaders would need to give up their throne and be “common mortals “like us. Let’s not also forget wars are not only a system of aggression but also a business worth billion.

What we are witnessing is just a fake pacifism, the same kind of pacifism that is “imposing” the Italian government to send weapons despite Italy refusing war -clearly stated in its constitution. Quite bizarre.

There was meant to be a big change, but clearly Covid did not teach us any lesson. The paradigm has not changed. We thought we would be better, more aware, with priorities such as caring for others and defending communities. Instead, we are back to a very surreal situation similar to a Second World War scenario.

What does feminism have to do with war?

Well, Russian feminists issued a statement -translated from Russian by Jacobin- that received appreciation by the worldwide feminist network on March 8th and it was marked by demonstrations, including the Italian general strike joined by Usb, Cub, Cobas, MFPR with Slai-Cobas, Adl Cobas, Sgb, Si Cobas and Usi.

The last International Women’s Day was a strike against war in all its forms, from the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the battles that are fought daily within our households. No matter what you think, the consequences of a war will inevitably fall on women first: with the comeback of the war, women’s rights are downgraded worldwide with a dangerous domino effect.

The war against Russia is a battle that has several layers and it has a huge impact on the economy. Any economic sanctions fall fiercely on the working class people before affecting the elite, with bad consequences on the most fragile class of our society, the refugees.

Deserving refugees

The violence of a war has already produced its destructive effects, but it has also fed the hypocrisies typical of Western society. The difference in treating the news between Ukrainian refugees and the refugees coming from the Middle East and Africa, was astonishing. It is clearly stating there are refugees who deserve more media attention than the rest.  Clearly a double standard regardless of this tragic situation. 

Public speech is contaminated by racist and xenophobic rhetoric comments about refugees and migrants specifically directed to those coming from the Middle Eastern and African countries. This escalated so much so that countries like Poland have adopted extremely hostile policies. However, Ukrainian refugees -which is good to know- are finding solidarity and acceptance. 

How can inequality survive even now? Where are those people waiting with open arms when it comes to Palestine, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq and so forth? Why nobody cares about the millions of people who do not have access to medicine and food in countries like Venezuela? Most importantly, how did those nations end up in this critical situation? Why doesn’t anyone have the courage to say whose fault it is and act accordingly instead of fooling us all with rhetorical speeches?

With Russia or with NATO?

Are you taking the side of Russia or NATO? The only answer to that question is no, you can’t. Instead, we have to take a moral position as citizens without borders, citizens of a globalised world. We have the moral duty to be united as people and if war is inevitable then it should be us, the people, against the system that exploits and oppresses with the sole purpose of empowering the very few- the same 22 wealthiest people who own more than the equivalent of the wealth of all African women.

This article is inviting you to reflect; it does not offer scoop but a cue to, perhaps, change the perception of what we live. “If every wall were associated with a face, grasping its impact would become a matter of empathy. What a wall means in the life of a person, whether physical or political barriers, in the era of dehumanisation of half of humanity is not so immediate if the subjugated community is not given a name. Giving it a story becomes a political act, before being a journalistic one” (Chiara Cruciati, “Tra i muri che costruiscono chiusure e odio“, Il Manifesto, January 3, 2020).

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