[…] And everything under the sun is in tune, but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.”
– Pink Floyd, Brain Damage/Eclipse (The Dark Side of the Moon, 1973)
Welcome Back to Unpredictablepast.com,
I had promised myself to quickly write a sequel to the previous post, but there was no time. I am not referring only to the “material” time, but to the time window in which I hoped to be able to fit in before everything degenerated, but I was not quick enough, and so here I am, trying, in my small way, to remedy something inevitable.
This writing will be even more personal than the previous one: as I mentioned, it is very difficult in this case to remain professional in the right way, so I decided to put what I feel and think in black and white, in order to remain true to myself over time. that will come, and, hoping, so that my work does not end up becoming prejudiced by the feelings, but at the same time without pretending that these do not exist.
Last time, I’ve stated that we must fight this war even on our own, and that is important to maintain a certain degree of calm in order to challenge the apparently overwhelming threat in our terms, on our own ground. Well, we are failing to accomplish this in the worst possible way.
It didn’t even take a month for us to abandon the question of the war itself, its real motivations and reflections on how to act, now and in the future, and to transform everything into yet another show, of which when it goes well we are spectators. passive and frightened, or, when it goes badly, idiots who try to use yet another event to make a “good impression” or to cheer on one of the parties, as if it were a sports or rhetoric contest.
So, given the obvious impossibility to speak loud above Chaos, I will quietly speak about Chaos.
The Enemy Within
In the exact manner that come in place for any argument, we have trasposed everything that happened in a solipsistic race, to become in some way part of the trend of the moment, and possibily taking the “winning” side. I guess it’s totally useless to show up whit a hundred thousand examles: res ipsa loquitur, anybody could just put his head out and see.
I’m not talking, at least not yet, about the propaganda war. This is the very wrong way in which we approach every issue that comes before us. The exact term I should use is “Polarization”, and it is the way in which everyone can feel part of the trend of the moment: no skill is required, not even minimal: you choose a “part” and go with the flow. The fact that this happens among ordinary people is not at all strange, however disfunctional, bevande the complexity of the world and events would require from time to time an enormous amount of knowledge that is impossible to expect from each individual, and the emotional urgency pushes towards a quick decision.
So, if it is “normal”, where’s the “wrong” part?
The “wrong” part comes when those in charge of information and decision-making behave the same way. That is, it follows a line of Demagogy. If those who have no resources, time or skills are justified, those who have them, or at least have a way to get them, are not. Don’t believe for a second that we are interested in Ukraine or Russia. We had, to be generous, ten years before it came to this, but there was always something else to think about. To date, what we are doing is discharging our conscience in every possible way, and an information and political system that does nothing but look at what popular sentiment is opens up wide possibilities for us to do so.
We found out russian government had lied to us. Wow, shocking. If it weren’t tragic it would be almost sardonically funny.
As already saied, I’m not talking about the average man who went on vacation in russia and found out “people are fun, the streets are clean (!)”; we talk about politicians whit high roles in the government, parties with the relative majority in the parliament, writers, scholars and other so-called intellectuals who directs prestigious newspapers, television broadcast and so on.
Many blame this attitude on the strong influence of Russian propaganda in the West, which has intensified considerably in the last decade and which has been leveraged mainly on the far right (another phenomenon that everyone seems to have “discovered” now). But this is only partially true: propaganda is not some kind of “mind control”, it grows, thrives and strengthens where it finds fertile ground and, like any other weapon, is most effective when used to hit a weak spot. And, from this point of view, the targets are certainly not lacking: exactly as happened in Russia, there is a part of the Western world convinced that it can go back to the “good old days”, to a world that exists only in the imagination of some , and of which for decades the FR has become standard bearer and champion, as it was for the USSR.
The need to have a “model” of a country that did not (at least in the imaginary) have characteristics of the Evil Capitalist West (what George Orwell called “Tranferred Nationalism”) is making many go through the Five Stages of Grief: they try to deny, get angry, bargaining and enter a sort of depressive state; for now acceptance is not contemplated in any way, but after all that’s scope with which they had seen the world for decades, and they will not give up it so easily. It is not necessarily a political problem, but also one of self-recognition.
For many people this war became, particularly for the generations preceding mine (but not only, it’s not a matter of age), the beginning of a real existential crisis, the second after the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Discovering that the image of the Russian Federation as an “alternative to the West and the East” that many have naively contributed to build over the past twenty years was just a lie that others had artfully constructed for them, relying on pride and on the need to feel “out of the system” of our intelligentsiya (very apt term in this case), it has led many to hysteria and compulsion, not too differently from the times the Soviet Union ceased to exist.
In the past few weeks, we have seen many of them try to overturn all kinds of facts, even the most obvious and terrible war crimes, to the point of paroxysm, or delusional conspiracy. The most cunning have been able to disguise their reprehensible conduct behind a false pacifism, a hypocritical “super partes” position or cloying historical and geopolitical analyzes so absurd that now they have gone backwards with comparisons up to Kievan Rus’ from the 9th century. Even those who have believed in good faith in a flood of lies, cannot admit their mistake, if you can, please give me an example.
This is why there is no evidence, crime or other (as if the war were not already enough) that will change their attitude: it is not a question of denying Russia itself (think about Venezuela, for instance), but of denying its “Concept” and, in full, the deeply rooted belief that “heaven on earth” exists, and is outside there; their judgment is correct and unquestionable, like that of gods or oracles, it is mortals who misinterpret it.
But the worst is yet to come.
War is something that undeniably affects us deeply, for the most varied reasons. I myself have expressed numerous times the strong sense of discomfort I feel, especially after trying to talk about it for so long, understanding what was happening and explaining it, in the hope that we could be prepared. But perhaps in this sense I am no less “naive” or prejudiced than those I criticize.
About ten days ago this writing by Veronika Melkozerova was brought to my attention, and it gave me serious thought, in many completely different ways. In the first place, it was impossible not to feel the strong emotional impact that the war and everything that follows is having on a personal level: what can in fact be said to someone who writes from under the bombs? Are we doing our best? What should we have foreseen? To hold out until the aggressor’s economic collapse, given that our plan is succeeding? It all sounds ridiculous, even know this is basically true.
Initially, when this war began, I admit I was proud of the reaction of the Europeans: the castle of lies knowingly built by Russian disinformation had collapsed, after all these years, and there was a war practically on our borders. But, I said to myself, now we can finally find a true unity of purpose, we can fight with everything we have at our disposal, leaving behind all the ideological, political and social residues of a century ago.
We can do it, we must do it.
Something was wrong though. Signals that we were taking a disturbing turn.
The first was the “Witch Hunt”: as I have already said, for at least two decades we have had a benevolent attitude, at every level of society, towards Russia; now, out of the blue, anyone who was even suspected of not “being on the right side”, for whatever reason, suffers the pillory. Obviously, as always happens in these cases, those who have done some serious pro-Russian propaganda are all still in their positions, too smart to be touched.
A ramshackle army of journalists, opinion leaders, influencers, politicians and simple “activists”, all completely indifferent until yesterday, have turned into a crowd of inquisitors ready to ask for Auto da Fè, convictions, expulsions, trials or more simply to try to seem the “most pro-Ukrainian” among the pro-Ukrainians.
Even the deserving work of those who do Fact Cecking has been transformed by them into a race to find falsehoods and propaganda everywhere, even where there is no trace. And it was just such an episode that opened my eyes. Days ago I was shown a very crude video in which Ukrainian soldiers shoot unarmed Russian prisoners, probably belonging to the Rosgvardiya (FSVNG RF), accompanied by long dissertations aimed at proving that it was a forgery. While I was preparing to write a truth as trivial as it is brutal, namely that this is war, and that, if it had happened to me, hatred and anger would probably have made me act in the same way (which is no justification, but a simple consideration of the causality of that behavior), I got stuck, stupefied. Then I understand.
Emotions of one kind or another had made me blind.
None of these people really care what is happening, had it been otherwise, we wouldn’t have even gotten to this point. It’s just the “Trend” of the moment, the show everyone wants to be a part of: there are the good guys and the bad guys, and the good guys have to win. Basically it is no different from the attitude of the opposing party, of which this is only a mirror reflection. Exactly as it was for me, the stupefaction given by a sudden event only in appearance, has triggered a very simple mental defense mechanism: we discharge a sense of guilt and helplessness by identifying the “Evil”, embodying it in something, and with Evil they are not made compromises.
This belated sense of guilt is the breeding ground of all kinds of propaganda machines and, especially in Europe, not being able to create a functional one, we limit ourselves to being pulled by the sleeves from one side and the other. In this way we can avoid exposing ourselves to the really important issues, the ones that will determine whether we really “win” this war. You don’t believe me? Well, give it a try, asking who you want, authorities, journalists, militants or sympathizers, it doesn’t matter who, according to them, will have to shoulder the burden of reconstruction.
“We invented the Putler hashtag, isn’t that enough?”
I opened the previous article with a quote from “The Plague” by Albert Camus, this one: “All I can say is that on this earth there are pestilences and there are victims– and as far as possible one must refuse to be on the side of the pestilence”. It’s one of those that I happen to reread more often, in order to remind me to understand what the plague is, and how I can fight it, in my small way.
When people imagine a “cinematic”, Manichean war, where the important thing is to empathize with the good ones, those who paint us a heroic, clean and just, almost sacred, conflict against the hordes of hell, it is inevitable that they do not have in mind a real conflict, but an idealization of it, and no part can in any way allow it to be represented for what it really is, and so even those who take that position cannot even admit something elementary: our heroes are never wrong, never.
And so everything turns into a competition, the important thing is to “win”, or rather, the important thing is to feel on the winning side. Victory, on any side, is not a means to an end, but an end in itself. All that happens, for many, is just a confused jumble of news to be used, manipulated, disseminated or hidden to achieve the goal, go to bed satisfied and and shift the responsibilities onto a Scapegoat.
As far as I’m concerned, the Plague is not just the conflict itself, but what generated it. It’s not Russia, nor Ukraine, nor Europe, US or China in themselves. It’s their Indifference, Nationalism, Demagogy, Ideologicalization, Messianism, Refusal to come to terms with the past and to imagine a future that does not foresee the same defects. And the symptoms of this pestilence have become endemic on both sides, and no one can be considered immune: I’ve only realized this by writing what you have read.
I believe that people like Veronika deserve an answer, a sincere one, and deserve to be warned against something that for now is only hidden behind much greater horrors, but which, nevertheless, remains lurking, ready to strike.
And from now on, I will not be on the side of the Plague, but on the side of its Victims, past, present and future.