The Israeli genocide

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By LEONARDO BOFF

This is not a war, but a true genocide and ethnic cleansing

Let's get straight to the point. The retaliation by the state of Israel for the October XNUMXth act of terror perpetrated by Hamas, from the Gaza Strip, was profoundly disproportionate. He had the legally guaranteed right to self-defense. But under the pretext of hunting and killing terrorists, they activated their sophisticated weapons arsenal.

Hundreds of buildings were destroyed, thousands of innocent people were murdered: children, women and countless civilians. This is not a war, but a true genocide and ethnic cleansing as denounced by UN Secretary António Guterres. He stated “that the Gaza Strip has become a children’s cemetery.” Today it is already a consensus among the best analysts and notable humanists.

No international body and no country came to the defense of the desperate Palestinians, revealing the complete insensitivity, particularly of the European Union, an ally and succumb of the United States of America. Imbued with the spirit of power/domination, it does nothing, as if it belonged to war, all types of crimes, including genocide, as they did for centuries throughout the world. President Joe Biden declared unconditional support for Israel, which is equivalent to giving it carte blanche to wage an unlimited war of self-defense, using all means. Humanity is terrified by the extermination and death in the Gaza Strip.

We are faced with total irrationality and frightening inhumanity. As much as it is difficult for us to accept, we must suspect, especially those of us who live in the Great South, once colonized and now subject to recolonization, that the present genocide would be inscribed in the modern, globalized Western paradigm.
This has existed for centuries and is still in force. Why this tough questioning?

Follow the following reasoning: what is the biggest dream and the great utopia that gave and still gives meaning to the modern world more than three centuries ago? It was and continues to be unlimited development, the will to power as domination over others, classes, lands to be conquered, over other nations, over nature, matter to the last topquark and life itself in its last gene and over all of nature in its biomes and biodiversity. Centrality is occupied exclusively by reason. Only what meets its criteria is accepted. More than “Cogito ergo sum” (I think, therefore I am) of Descartes is the “conquero, ergo sum” (I conquer, therefore I am) by Hernan Cortez, conqueror and destroyer of Mexico who expresses the dynamics of modernity.

The Popes of the time: Nicholas V (1447-1455) and Alexander VI (1492-1503) gave divine legitimacy to the spirit of domination of Europeans. In the name of God, they granted the colonial powers of the time, the kings of Spain and Portugal “the full and free faculty to invade, conquer, fight, sell and subdue the pagans and appropriate and apply for their own use and utility, to kingdoms , domains, possessions and assets discovered and to be discovered… for it is a work well accepted by the divine Majesty that the barbarian nations are slaughtered and reduced to the Christian faith” (Paulo Suess, The spiritual conquest of Spanish America, documents. Voices, p. 227).

Francis Bacon and René Descartes, among other founders of the paradigm of modernity, thought nothing other than the Popes: the human being must be “master and owner of nature” which has no purpose, as it is just a mere extended thing (“extensive res” of Descartes) made available to us. One must “put nature on a bed of force, pressure it into giving up its secrets; we must place her at our service like a slave” (Francis Bacon).

What's all this for? To develop and be happy, they intended! Science and technology, technoscience, were and still are the great instruments of the project of domination. To submit to domination, they had to disqualify those subjected and colonized: they are more on the side of animals than humans, they are sub-humans. Let us remember the famous discussion between the great Bartolomeu de Las Casas and Sepúlveda, the educator of the Spanish kings. The latter maintained that the original people of Latin America were not human and doubted that they were right. The Israeli Defense Minister, Y. Gallant, said something similar about the Gaza terrorists: they are “human animals and should be treated as such”. The Nazis compared Jews to rats to be eradicated.

Western European men, children of the power/domination paradigm, have immense difficulty in living with what is different. The usual strategy is to marginalize it or incorporate it or eventually eliminate it. In this worldview, one must always define who is a friend and who is an enemy. It is up to him to defame, combat and liquidate (Hitler's jurist, Carl Schmitt). He is no wonder that Christianized Europeans produced the main wars on the continent or in the colonies, causing more than 200 million deaths. Their Christianity was just a cultural ornament, never an inspiration of the Nazarene for a fraternal relationship and humanitarian ethics.

Everyone, rightly so, is horrified by the Holocaust that sent six million Jews to the Nazi gas chambers. But let's look at the horrific Holocaust that took place in Latin America (Abya-Yala in the language of the Central American people). In the spirit of conquest-domination of Latin America, between the years 1492-1532 and in the USA from 1607 onwards, European colonizers committed the greatest extermination ever carried out: those killed by white diseases or murdered were around 61 million people. representatives of original peoples: from the Caribbean (4 million), Mexico (23 million), the Andes (14 million), Brazil (4 million) and the United States (16 million).

This is what the most recent research by Marcelo Grondin and Moema Viezzer proves: Abya Yala: Genocide, Resistance and Survival of the Native Peoples of the Americas” (Ed. Bambual). This Holocaust of ours, according to the German historian and philosopher Oswald Spengler (1880-1936), delegitimizes any credibility for Europeans and the Church associated with the colonial project, to speak about human dignity and their rights. He killed himself with the sword and the cross.

This type of domination was based on capitalism, as an exclusionary mode of production, its current financialization and its culture. It is a crime against nature and humanity that eight people, according to a 2022 Oxfam International report, have the same wealth as the poorest half of the world's population. This absurd accumulation tolerates thousands and thousands of children being allowed to die every year from hunger or from illnesses resulting from hunger.

It is in this context, I think, that the current genocide perpetrated by the Zionist State of Benjamin Netanyahu must be understood. Would it be inscribed in the DNA of the Western paradigm? After the last war (1939-1945), weapons of mass destruction were built, to the point that the principle of self-destruction was created. Reason has become completely irrational. The march of irrationality is taking over the course of the world beyond what is occurring between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Pope Francis lucidly in his encyclical How to take care of the Common Home (Laudato Si ' 2015) saw the dominant technocratic paradigm as the root of the current and threatening global ecological crisis (n. 101s).

What was the great mistake of the will to power-domination paradigm? It was to exclusively place all the weight and all the value on instrumental-analytical reason. It repressed other forms of knowledge, exercised by humanity: sensitivity, love, symbolic reason, among others. This exclusion created the dictatorship of reason. Rationalism and the dementia of reason broke out. Because, only a demented reason can devastate the Earth, sister and Mother who gives us everything, to the point where it shows its insurmountable limits. Worse still, maddened reason has created for itself the means of its complete extermination.

But what was the biggest mistake? It was having repressed and eliminated the most ancestral and essential part of our reality. In the name of the objectivity of the view of reason, it eliminated emotion and the heart. With this, it delegitimized our dimension of sensitivity, our capacity for affection. It is the heart that feels, loves and establishes bonds of care with others and with nature. You can't hear the heartbeat that identifies values ​​and establishes a cordial and humanitarian ethic.

Pope Francis said well on his first trip to Lampedusa, where fugitives from war in the Middle East or Africa arrived: “modern man has lost the ability to cry and to feel others as his fellow man”. Because Benjamin Netanyahu and his government do not recognize the humanity of Hamas terrorists, he practically decided to exterminate them with the most modern lethal means. Have we not reached the extreme of the paradigm of modernity? It is likely to trigger a global war in which humanity and much of nature could disappear.

How to get out of this impasse? First of all, we need to rescue the rights of the heart. It is not enough to Logos, we also need the pathos. We must be filled with veneration for the height of the universe and respect for the mystery of each human being, made brother and sister and companion on earthly adventure. We do not deny reason, which is necessary to account for the complexity of contemporary societies.

But we refuse the despotism of reason. This must be enriched by sensitive and cordial reason. A united mind and heart can mutually balance each other and, thus, avoid the tragedies of wars and genocides in our bloody history, particularly the one that, appalled, we are experiencing both in the Holy Land and, in particular, the genocide committed in the Gaza Strip . May heaven hear the cries of the children who under the rubble lost their father, mother, brothers and sisters. They survived the great tribulation (cf. Apocalypse 7,14:XNUMX) and fill us with compassion.

Leonardo Boff He is a theologian, philosopher and writer. Author, among other books, of Rights of the heart (Paul).

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