the war went bankrupt

Anna Boghiguian, A Play to Play, 2018.


Chronicle published in the magazine Argos on May 1919, XNUMX

Since November, the warring nations have signed an armistice among themselves to establish a definitive peace treaty. There are five to six months therefore; and to this day nothing has been done. Each time they extend the armistice, the nations that claim to be victorious demand more from Germany; and we have seen that the demands are destined to annihilate it and to favor the two main European powers that form the nucleus of its enemies: England and France.

Italy, through the voice of its D'Annunzio, extraordinarily unsympathetic and cabotino, claims this and that, rummages through the archives of the most serene Republic of Venice and wants to make the Adriatic an Italian lake. The others who also want a piece of land on the shores of the sea that kisses Venice, protest, make rolls, and Italians and Yugoslavians almost fight.

Mr. Wilson, President of the American Union, has arranged a very confused business which they call the League of Nations, and has launched it with loud and unusual noise through the markets of the universe. The English suspected the syrup and began to oppose it.

Japan called for the equality of the races; but Europe, which had won with the help of the Gurkhas, Senegalese, I don't know if Annamites, etc. etc., he did not accept the Yellow Empire proposal and things remained as before.

I don't need to summarize events further to show how confused this Peace Conference is.

The monstrous European war that lasted four years, in which about ten million men were rendered useless, which destroyed cities, towns, priceless monuments, libraries, memories of the past that previous wars had spared, does not know how to end.

When it started, it seemed to all the simpletons, more or less ideologues like me, that the annulment of the brutal and stupid German military power was enough for the victorious peoples, full of good faith and sincerity, to resolve quickly once and for all, right after the victory , the clauses of peace.

I even gave my membership to the Brazilian League for the Allies, from which I left for reasons that I publicly claimed.

Victory came or something like that; Germany was militarily annihilated – why then was there no peace? The war did not manage to change the mentality of the directors and their immediate customers.

There is not one of the many political states, including the smallest, which actually or virtually entered into the contest, which does not think itself to have prevailed in victory. I no longer speak of England, France, Belgium, and poor Greece. Starting with the United States and ending in Guatemala, all the others do not hide their desire to take advantage of “their victory” and to dictate peace conditions that would be favorable to the interests of their leaders.

The German ideas of predominance of this or that, of hegemony of this or that thing, their imperial statistical tyranny, regulating the smallest and most insignificant human acts, all this would contaminate the rulers of rivals, and they thought they would find no solutions based on the atrocious German conceptions, which were fought with fire and iron, means and ways for the aggrandizement of their respective countries.

In such a way that each Guatemala, each Brazil, each Italy became, through the voice of its representatives, in good or bad faith, a little Germany that cannot be understood with the others except with arms in hand.

Hence this Peace Conference that comes to nothing; that nothing solves; and who is opposed to all generous and broad innovations. It is a congress of bourgeois, some pure and some mixed, their minds entrenched in obsolete ideas and made more rigid by the virtual victory of Germany; they, its members, want to organize the Earth, each in their own particular point of view, according to the ambitions of their respective bourgeoisies.

Sometimes, those of a nation agree with those of a second, but they are already in antagonism with a third and no conciliation formula is found. This is another point and the same thing happens. And the conference continues with huge fireworks in newspapers around the world… This conference is not making the future; what she is doing is rummaging through the dunghill of the past...

It was never the lavish ambassadors and subsidized journalists and publicists who organized the future. It was the unattached and courageous ideologues in saying and speaking with the help of the masses who do not argue: they suffer, they have faith and they act...

In common times those Georges, Epitatios, Wilsons, &c. they could negotiate a treaty of trade and navigation over a small river in desert Africa. Today, they move their arms, shake their heads, say things, but we are all seeing that they don't have a soul, because they lack that of the peoples they claim to represent. They are dolls; São João Minhocas there!

The war solved nothing; it failed as a process for resolving issues between states. The resolution of these questions can only be obtained by eliminating these small states...[1]

Lima Barreto (1881-1922) was a journalist and writer. Author, among other books, of Sad end of Policarpo Quaresma.



Lima Barrett. the militant chronicle. Edited by Claudia Arruda Campos, Enid Yatsuda Frederico, Walnice Nogueira Galvão and Zenir Campos Reis. São Paulo, Popular Expression, 2016.



Today, May 13, 2022, we commemorate the 141st birthday of the writer Lima Barreto, whose centenary of death will be completed on November 1st, and apparently in the midst of a troubled scenario, elections in Brazil and war in Europe. This is a war that national and international analysts regard as propelling a new world order. Lima Barreto, a contemporary of the First World War, wrote a lot about it, with a critical look and an anti-capitalist perspective, he realized that peace would not be lasting, because what was at stake was what we are witnessing again [Maria Salete Magnoni].

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