At the beginning of the century the West was facing a challenge. The West is the civilization born on the shores of the Tigris and Eufrates, which had further developed on the delta of the Nile and in the planes of Galilea, on the islands of the Aegean Sea and in the Peloponnese, then on the shores if the river Tiber and from there spreading to the whole of Europe, and finally – enriched through the assimilation of cultures of indigenous and allogenous peoples – took root beyond the Atlantic ocean under the aegis of freedom. The challenge was ambitious but possible: to export the values, which the West had been strenuously building up throughout the centuries, through a dialogue and an exchange among equals. An exchange, which would have made possible the assimilation of the different and precious values grown within other civilizations and other histories.
The arrogant and violent initiative of Bush and of the potent power group, of which he is expression, is to be blamed for this opportunity having been lost. The ponderous (and often blind) American military has not only broken the army of Saddam: it has smashed the hopes for the development of the world based on a dialog among cultures and faiths. This is the rationale for the persistent preaching of Wojtyla, the only one among the powerful of the world who understood the stakes of the game, and therefore the most consistent opponent of this war.
At the other extreme (the inner doll of the Matrioshka), there is the suicide of Italy. Subjected to the worst political class that has ever inhabited the land between the Alps and the Sicilian channel, prey of a bizarre array of characters, united by the stubborn will to consistently and systematically substitute private interests to public ones, to pillage the future in the name of the maximum exploitation of the present, the nation seems to be condemned to a fatal end. There is in fact no sign of an alternative really capable of presenting itself as such, that is embodying alternative values to those of Mr. B., capable of giving coherent answers with such values. An alternative united because it can be enriched through diversity of positions, and engaged in outlining the strategy and the program of a government opposition.
The most confused sector is certainly the left. The left should be held responsible and yet it should be a source of hope: for its wealth of ideals, for its potential organizational strength, even for its residual consistency, for the attention that it deserves for the most vital reaction against berlusconianism (that of the “girotondi”, of the unions, of the rainbow flags). Today the left is divided in a conflict that is pernicious because it is tenaciously closed in a sterile game of labels, of personalism, of the small-scale tactics of the party bureaucracies. It should be said: to be blamed are the faults (or the mistakes) of those who have ruled and still rule the political formations of the left, who have been repeatedly defeated and (an anomalous case in the democratic world) yet were not able to leave the scene after the defeat.
Between one and the other suicides there is the suicide of Europe In this case, more than suicide we should talk of murder. It seems clear enough to me that not to answer as Chirac and Schröder did would have meant subjection to the arrogance of Bush and the loss of any hope of an autonomous position of Europe on the stage of world politics. Europe would be reduced to the role of satellite, as Mr. B. would like. And nevertheless, in the midst of the difficult path towards the enlargement of its borders and the establishment of its constitution, towards the overcoming of the purely economic conditions and becoming Europe in the sphere of politics and of the civic values, the continent has seen the reemergence of the borders between the different states and the reduction of its political weight. As a consequence the hope of playing a strategic role of dialog and peace among civilizations, religions, and cultures becomes more remote.
And nevertheless I believe that it is here, in Europe’s ability to again take up its path, that hope lies that the values of the West devastated by Bush’s war might yet be recovered for the future. Haven’t we seen, anyway, a united Europe, beyond the differences between governments, in the peace demonstrations, and through the connections to analogous protests and hopes beyond the oceans?