Eurocentrism and war

Image: Mihis Alex

By LORENZO Stained Glass*

European media coverage of the war in Ukraine is partial and reflects a complete lack of self-criticism.

On the basis of French newspapers, I am referring to Le Monde and Libération, in which one would expect a more reflective approach to the Russia-NATO-Ukraine conflict, everything indicates that the dominant French, and probably European, public opinion has still not been properly informed about what is at stake in this conflict. Reading the editorial Le Monde and the first issue of Libération of March 12, we see some common sense propositions that reflect the old, incurable Eurocentrism, which has bequeathed us all the tragedies of colonialism and the great wars of the last centuries.

O Le Monde However, it does not fail to notice, at first, the contradiction of the European Union, which, having endorsed the sanctions planned by the USA, continues to pay 700 million dollars to Russia, per day, to guarantee the supply of gas. The brave 27 NATO countries recognize that public opinion, particularly in Germany and Italy, is not ready to accept the impact of a radical disruption of Russian supply. For the Le Monde despite this weakness, which is expected to be temporary, the decision of the 27 to provide a billion euros for arming the Ukrainian resistance goes in the right direction (“go the right way”) and will mitigate Volodymyr Zelensky's disappointment that the 27 did not bankroll Ukraine's immediate membership in the European Union; and it is also compatible with Ukraine's promise to join the beautiful “European family” in the future.

For the newspaper, Ukraine has paid in blood, in 2014 and now, for its choice of “freedom. The good news, always according to the Le Monde it is the European “awakening” to the need for an arms escalation to contain the Russian “regime” (the only winning country so far, that is, the USA, thank you…). O Libération it is more blunt: the headline is that Paris and Berlin will put Putin “against the wall” through new sanctions; and demand that Russian forces withdraw from Ukraine and then, like good civilized people, initiate diplomacy, which has been refused by the West since 2007, with the Russian warning against NATO expansion towards the east. The newspaper, reflecting the words of The Elysee, uses the desperate humanitarian situation in Ukraine to demand a Russian withdrawal. For the The Elysee, all Russian statements are lies and Vladimir Putin seems to be starting to feel the blow because he no longer talks about “denazifying” Ukraine or deposing Zelensky.

What is on the agenda is which version of the real of this war should prevail. We don't know yet if there will be a net seller, like that of the Allies against the Axis. As is well known, the good version is that of the winners. The demonization of the other Russian has been very successful so far and seems very difficult to reverse, above all, because those who are dying are not the usual Arabs, Asians or Africans, but white Europeans, which was noted by American public opinion despite his notorious ignorance of geography.

It suffers from the absence of European self-criticism in the sense of not yet reflecting, for the general public at least, on the consequences of a hasty and exclusion of a country with the importance of Russia, regardless of the moral judgment of its actions. Everything happens as if we were returning to the traditional European view of the brutalized Slavs whose nobility, as well narrated by Tolstoy, was communicated through the civilized French language.

We are very far from any kind of recognition of different civilizing conceptions as if there were in fact a belief in the end of history and in the definitive victory of the so-called democratic framework of Western countries, which can be re-discussed contemporaneously in view of the inclusive movement of millions of people to the basic needs care system in the context of China's concrete economy in contrast to the increasing exclusion of large swathes of populations in the Western fiat economy; the Western system, despite being a formal democracy, ceases to be a republic with the decline of the welfare state.

In the end, as already pointed out by many, it seems to be this “passing of the baton”, whose consequences will define the century, that is at stake. It is also necessary to recognize the repetition and definitive burial of any pretense of civilizing “progress” along the lines of the Enlightenment.

*Lorenzo stained glass Professor of Linguistics at the Faculty of Letters at UFMG.


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