Ostrogoto [en]

To war, everyone

In 1997, the Hollywood film industry brought out a movie that imagined a dramatic terrorist attack in New York in revenge for the death of loved ones during one of the many civil wars fomented by Western governments (in this case, that of Bosnia Herzegovina). It was a movie made for the box office, nothing special, and would soon have slid into oblivion had it not been for the events of September four years later. With hindsight, the movie did not fail to attract the attention of certain people. And not without reason. There was a scene where the perpetrator of the attack clearly explained the reasons that had pushed him, a mature and cultivated man, to carry out such an act. There, although engraved on film of the spectacle, the reasons were anything but cinematographic. Indeed, one could imagine them pulsating in the breasts of tens and hundreds of thousands of human beings in flesh and blood scattered around the world.
«You will say of my act: “Of course, why not? They’re just a bunch of animals. They have been slaughtering each other for centuries.” But the truth is … I am not a monster. I am a human being just like you, whether you like it or not. We tried to live together for years, until we found ourselves at war, all of us. A war desired by our leaders. But who supplied the Serbian cluster bombs, the Croatian tanks, the shells of the [Bosnian] Muslim artillery that are killing our children? It was the Western governments that drew up the borders of our country, sometimes in ink, sometimes in blood, the blood of our people. And now you are sending your peacekeeping forces to rewrite our destiny yet again. We cannot accept this peace that gives us nothing but pain, pain that even the pacifiers must feel: their wives, their children, their homes, their churches … There, now you know, now you have to understand. Let us find our own destiny. May God have mercy on us all.»
But God does not exist, so has no mercy on anyone. The pacifiers know that but, in spite of all their information they don’t understand, can’t understand, don’t want to understand. What one scriptwriter found through his imagination, swarms of politicians, journalists and ordinary citizens fail to see, even when it is there in front of their noses. Otherwise it wouldn’t be so hard for them today, in the aftermath of the acts of war that led to the slaughter in Paris, to see how this could happen, how it was possible to desecrate good old civilised Europe with such brutality. Fourteen years after that September 11th, those who have come to bring the war home to us no longer even have the scruples to target strategic objectives. They do not attack symbolic structures of enemy power simultaneously (like the Pentagon and the World Trade Centre), or get upset with vipers’ nests (as the blasphemous Charlie Hebdo editorial group were perceived).
No, they slay anyone directly, blindly, firing into the crowd. They might try to hit a president of the Republic, but at the moment that he finds himself in a stadium surrounded by fans; they open fire on the clients of bars and restaurants only interested in eating and drinking; they carry out a true massacre of spectators at a rock concert. This is the horror that has left so many dismayed and devastated today. “It is an attack against humanity,” many have said; not against a hostile government, not against a competing economy, not against a rival God, but against ordinary human beings intent on living their daily lives.
And it’s true, it is an attack against humanity. It only remains to ask ourselves what humanity are we talking about.
It is humanity that rejoices after a goal, the humanity that belches after a hearty meal, the humanity that blithely dances all night long. Nothing wrong with that, quite the contrary! But this humanity, which pays and claims to exert its right to weekend revelry, and so is horrified by the death of 129 people on a Friday evening in Paris, is the same humanity that sighs and is bored stiff if anyone reminds them that the war in Syria has caused 300,000 dead in four years (about 200 a day, every day), or that the dead in Iraq since the start of hostilities are estimated at around 500,000 (over 100 a day, every day). It is the same humanity that the day before hardly noticed the slaughter perpetrated in Beirut by the same possessed by God. It is the same humanity that on 3 October deplored the bombing of a hospital in Afghanistan by the US Air Force, then forgot it as soon as the government of the stars and stripes apologised. At the time, journalists excited by the smell of the blood of others did not rail against the Christian bastards; no beautiful souls organized vigils, no candles in the squares, no “Je suis Kunduz” written everywhere.
The humanity they are talking about is the civilised, educated, tolerant humanity that lives in a more or less secular capitalist society. Those who live in a fundamentalist theocratic society do not belong to humanity, they are simply monsters. Because you must be a monster to slay hundreds of innocent people like that. The civilised beings that make up humanity press a button when they want to commit random massacres. It is monstrous to dirty one’s hands with blood, it is civilised to carry out bloodbaths with bombs dropped by airplanes. It is monstrous to go voluntarily to one’s death at the age of 20, it is civilised to voluntarily obey living towards death at the age of eighty. It is monstrous to fire on French passers-by on orders of religious leaders, firing on poor Brazilian children on orders of political leaders (the UN itself, only a month ago, denounced “the high number of summary executions of children” by the police of Rio, but who talks about that?) is civilised. It is monstrous to cut the throat of your enemy, it is civilised to kill him from a distance or to lock him up inside four walls for life.
It is monstrous to believe that seventy virgins await the martyr of war in paradise, it is civilised to believe that a pension awaits the martyr of work in old age (who possibly has no hesitation in believing in a Son of God that performs miracles and was born of a virgin). It is monstrous to demand that women be submissive and go around without baring one piece of skin, it is civilised to aspire for women to be submissive and walk around with the fewest possible clothes on. It is monstrous to pray by the religion of the desert, it is civilised to pray by the religion of the Stock Exchange. It is monstrous to enrich oneself with the spoils of war, it is civilised to enrich oneself with the arms trade. Monstrous is the Islamic State that claims acts of war against those who laugh and enjoy themselves, civilised the democratic State that justifies acts of war against those who weep and suffer.
That is the humanity that is stunned today. The humanity that is outraged and gets all emotional on command, the humanity that considers acts of terrorism perpetrated elsewhere against others right and necessary but those perpetrated here at their own expense mad and cruel. A humanity for whom the massacres end as soon as the news goes off. Only, in times of war such as the present, the slaughter does not stop. For those who haven’t noticed, they never end. If soldiers of Isis could kill one hundred people in Ankara on October 10, why couldn’t they kill a few more in Paris a month later? Perhaps because the first were ready to take up arms against the Caliphate, while the second limited themselves to being against them at a distance?
Or because the Islamic cutthroats should basically be grateful to the governments that are fighting them a lot less than they had announced and are capable of? Not only is the main source of funding of Isis being spared the raids ‘against terrorism’, as they are very lucrative oil wells, but just as in March 1991 the ones exporting democracy to Iraq with bombs allowed the tyrant Saddam Hussein to drown the insurrection that broke out in the country in a bloodbath (750,000 victims), in the same way today have not moved a finger to prevent Assad from suppressing the Syrian insurrection and are doing everything to hinder the self-government of the Kurds in Rojava.
Let’s be done with indignation and stupor. Enough of the hypocrisy. We are at war, everyone. A war that our leaders wanted. Who built the phosphorus bombs that burned Fallujah, who trained the pilots who bombed Gaza, who provided information technology to the secret services torturing in Damascus? It was governments, multinationals. Governments voted in democratically, companies working legally. Here. One knows, but without fully understanding. That’s why there can be no pity for anyone, not even for ourselves (we, the great revolutionaries who would like to destroy everything, wage war against the existent, but are no longer capable of hating anyone to death, even our worst enemies). That’s why now there is only room for terrorism. After long decades of clouding of consciousness, rarefaction of intelligence, numbed feelings and paralysis of the muscles, disasters and civil wars have good days ahead. Freedom and revolution, much less.
And now it’s easy to predict what will happen. Against the iron fist of the sharia, the iron fist of civil and criminal law. State of emergency, laws of exception, more control, less freedom for all. Against the risk of dying at Islamic hands, the security of vegetating at democratic ones. And reprisals, of course, that will feed other reprisals in an endless vicious circle. With the reactionary herd inciting hatred of foreigners as such, and the progressive scum that will invite us to love foreigners as such. And whoever does not have a position to take in either of these two camps, who does not see around them any “we” to identify with, who wants to desert this insane and terrorist war because it is another war that they want to fight – against every God, against every State – will find themselves increasingly surrounded and watched.
But only we can have pity on ourselves. Let’s take a deep breath, and abandon all despair and commotion. Tears blind the eyes even more than blood. In spite of all appearances, we will never be totally powerless in our attempt to spread disorder, sacrilege and subversion.