European elections

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By NIRSAN GRILLO DAMBRÓS*

Today, we will have elections for the European Parliament across the entire European Union bloc. Therefore, there is a crucial choice to be made

We live in a historical time marked by two wars very close to the European continent: the war between Russia and Ukraine and the massacre of the Palestinian people in Gaza by Israel.

The reactions of European countries to the war in Ukraine are evident, both on the part of government forces and populations. In Portugal, Ukrainian flags and posters in support of the country were spread across windows, walls, posts, public buildings and in every corner of the cities, in addition to demonstrations and a moving awareness of the suffering of the Ukrainian people. These reactions were widely reported in newspapers across Europe.

In the political sphere, there was an effort to penalize Russia with sanctions, while Ukraine received financial aid and even began negotiations to join the European Union. The Ukrainian refugee people were welcomed, with easier access to residence visas, something that should be guaranteed to any people suffering the violence of a war. 

But what happened to European awareness of the barbarity in Gaza? What has Europe done in the face of the incessant and cruel Israeli offensive against the Palestinians? 

Despite the condemnation by the International Court of Justice of Israel for the massacre it has been promoting daily in recent months in Gaza and the recognition of the Palestinian State by some European countries, nothing has prevented Israel from continuing to violate human rights and promote the extermination of Palestinian families. defenseless, including women and children. Israel continues to be supplied with war weapons and surveillance technologies, and trade agreements that allow exports of this war equipment have not been disrupted. They continue at full steam, as many profit from barbarity and death.

In Europe, we saw demonstrations being restricted in some countries. Young people who sported traditional keffiyeh, symbol of Palestine, or flags and posters supporting Palestine faced violence and police censorship. We also saw news of university professors and journalists being fired for raising the flag for the Palestinian cause.

Despite the willful blindness to the barbarity of many European politicians, there is resistance and struggle by a large part of the European people. Since the start of the war, many demonstrations have taken place across Europe. Students have mobilized for their universities to break relations with Israel. Famous artists have demonstrated publicly, left-wing politicians have spoken out and called on people to join the demonstrations, and journalists have denounced the absurdities and expressed their opinions against the atrocities in Gaza. Atrocities that include killing children with bombs or starvation. It is past time for there to be concrete consequences for these crimes against humanity.

You may be asking yourself: “But what can the European people do?”

Today, we will have elections for the European Parliament across the entire European Union bloc. Therefore, there is a crucial choice to be made. The most humane and ethical option is to vote for politicians committed to humanity. This largely means supporting parties further to the left, which have historically championed minority rights and social justice.

Right-wing and far-right parties have been gaining strength in Europe, and their ideologies often dehumanize ethnic and social minorities, both from other countries and their own.

Given the barbarity installed in Gaza from so many other humanitarian crises, it is essential that voters use their political power consciously and responsibly.

We hope that, even with the rise of the extreme right, European society will choose, through voting, humanity over barbarism. This election is an opportunity to positively influence the next steps in an increasingly challenging global scenario. Choosing humanity is choosing life and the hope of social justice for all.

*Nirsan Grillo Dambrós is a PhD student in sociology at the University of Lisbon.


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