Stop the carnage!

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By TARSUS GENUS*

From the path of peace and war to terror in the XNUMXst century.

The paths to peace and war pass through territorial disputes, political decisions, an understanding of military tactics and strategies, religious dogmatics, internal and external struggles between classes, the historical and cultural accumulations of the ruling classes, which they exercise over the their respective people a greater or lesser capacity for manipulating emotions. But modern war today has a specific characteristic, in relation to previous wars: it is a process of important accumulation in the business classes of rich countries, through the arms industry, which reproduces new and vast fortunes on the planet through formidable legal markets, illegal or underground, entwined in the world.

At the beginning of the attacks and military retaliations between Hamas and Israel, in this new cycle that began with the terrorist attack by the Hamas group, information about the deaths of hundreds of people circulated quickly, causing stupor and anguish. Next, Israel's response transformed the entire Palestinian people of Gaza into the “objective enemy”, annexing them to Hamas, as if the population of the territory had to “pay” tenfold for the actions of that organization. The indiscriminate attacks by Israel's military forces against the civilian population are also terrorist actions and – when carried out by the State that declares war – are also war crimes.

 On July 22, 1946, a terrorist attack against the King David Hotel in Jerusalem resulted in the death of 91 people, including 28 British, 41 Arabs, 17 Jews and 5 people of other national origins. The attack was organized by Menachem Begin, a far-right Jewish leader who later became Prime Minister of Israel, after being head of a terrorist organization called Yrgun. The hotel, located in Jerusalem in the old city, housed the administration of Palestine, assigned by the League of Nations to the United Kingdom.

 If the League of Nations administration used the same criteria as Benjamin Netanyahu to confront Hamas, responding to Menachem Begin's terrorist group in the same way that the current Israeli government responds to the Palestinians, part of the Jewish community settled in Palestine, in that year 1946, she was supposed to be murdered to “pay” for the terrorism of the future prime minister. That would be unacceptable barbarism, both at that time and today. Today it is clear that Benjamin Netanyahu is more in the criminal tradition of Augusto Pinochet, Jair Bolsonaro and Javier Milei and very far from the humanist spirit of Spinoza and Issac Rabin.

If we want to give peace a chance, we cannot demonize the Israeli and Palestinian communities in the abstract, which also means not accepting the version that terrorism is the property of just one of the fighting communities; nor should we make room for anti-Semitism, although without forgetting that Benjamin Netanyahu, in fact, is a post-modern Begin. I think we must separate – in the dialectic of politics – the group that governs Israel from the majority of the Jewish community and, on the other, we must consider that the feudal monarchies that support terrorist apparatuses like Hamas have nothing to do with modern humanism.

We also know people like Benjamin Netanyahu, from the Jewish milieu, who at the Hebrew Society in Rio de Janeiro were shouted at as “Mito”, a self-confessed admirer of Adolf Hitler. The chance for peace can only be built by those who want to promote it based on the interests of those who do not have the power to decide it. Our indignation must be aimed at quelling the war, stopping the bombings and resuming universal humanitarian rights. 

Given the reiteration of war, its spectacularization and its constant presence in our living rooms, through live images or carefully selected according to the interests of each contender, violence is losing – however – its strength and moral indignation. Subdued as we are by the aesthetics of barbarism, many find in the culture of “disposable instant gratification” an escape from the urgencies of the day and the insomnia of the night, which weaken our consciousness of humanity and are capable of eliminating, in each of us, the “ hard drive” that stores our authenticity and makes us – each one – unique as human beings.

 The repetitive gets used to it and – suddenly – what we see is no longer real. It's a real battle, but it's apparently simulated in the virtual games that our children deal with every day. The fantastic is the real, but the fantastic repeated over and over again is a fantasy of colors. It no longer reflects death, but simulates a farcical game where people only exist in the coldness of screens: the smoke has no smell, the corpses have not suffered and the houses collapse under an earthquake of dust, which hides from our pain the relevance of another day of funeral heroics.

By transforming the entire Palestinian people of Gaza into a collective enemy, the current Israeli government has merged these people with a terrorist organization, in a strategic political effort to legitimize the version that an entire national population can be held responsible for a State, after it is attacked by a group carrying out terror actions. Yes, it is terrorism, military action against innocent nationals and civilian populations, coming from a State or a Government. Or coming from a terrorist (or non-terrorist) action group – no matter its technical classification – that, wherever it comes from, kills unarmed children and young people, old people, young mothers and fathers who simply live in an “enemy location”.

I thought a few decades ago that Vietnam's victory over the Imperial giant, that the Americans' flight from Afghanistan and their shameful handing over of the country to the Taliban, that Bush's lies about chemical weapons in Iraq, would change something in politics. American “policing the world and selling weapons”; of teaching torturers in various parts of the Planet in the name of defending democracy – I thought these lessons from History would somewhat moderate their story of democratic deception. And I was wrong. That's why I resist long narratives and shorten my utopias and that's why I say: stop the carnage! Don't kill any more children! Consider that each act of violence is a deposit, in the bank of time, of new violence and new horrors.

On the night I write this text, Benjamin Netanyahu's Israel, it seems, is heading towards the “final solution” that no theory will prevent or fix. It will defeat Gaza. All we can do now is repeat that stop the carnage! And let us think – on this night pregnant with blood – about a journey towards peace, with a non-political passage from Bioy Casares, in his Love stories: “Walking, we talk better. Especially talking at night.” Or, even, like Thomas Mann, more or less like this, in magic mountain: “What kind of man are you who has lost the taste for a nice walk?”

*Tarsus in law he was governor of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, mayor of Porto Alegre, Minister of Justice, Minister of Education and Minister of Institutional Relations in Brazil. Author, among other books, of possible utopia (Arts & Crafts).https://amzn.to/3ReRb6I

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