Off the cuff (IV)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Europe that the world needs desperately at this point in time is


  • Yes to the Europe of the people, of respect for all identities, of freedom, of peace. The Europe of tolerance and creativity. The Europe that dares to know and knows how to dare.

  • No to the Europe that scorned Albert Camus because “capable of so much, he dared so little”.

  • No to the timid, fearful Europe, with chronic wry neck, always looking towards the other side of the Atlantic. Allies, friends, yes. But not subjects.

  • No to the Europe that continues with the North Atlantic Treaty without its own autonomy in Defence. The Warsaw Pact no longer exists. But the South Atlantic and the Mediterranean and the Pacific, yes.

  • No to the Europe that invades Kosovo through NATO, without the consent of the Security Council.

  • No to the Europe that substitutes democratic values for market laws; that, due to short-term interests, forgets about social justice, about the constant urgency for sharing, for cooperating.

  • No to the Europe that weakens the United Nations instead of providing it with the human, financial and technical resources necessary for executing its mission.

  • No to the Europe that entrusts the governing of the world to plutocratic groups instead of backing multilateralism.

  • No to the Europe of whirlwind growth and of progress guided by the instant benefit that resorts to millions of migrants… whom it then tries to assimilate rather than integrate or, worse still, to continue the practice, so laudable in other areas, of “disposables”, abandoning them to their fate once they have served their purpose; or, above all, to the Europe that tries to mould the identity of immigrants by imposing conditions on their citizenship.

  • No to the Europe that looks the other way when its multinationals act improperly in Latin America and Africa, exploiting countries with a wealth of natural resources against global interests and affecting the environment. The mining of coltan (columbite-tantalite) in the Congo, in the Kivus region, must be reviewed immediately; the same applies to bauxite in Guinea Conakry; the gold mines in both Africa and Central America

  • No to the Europe that continues to allow itself to be the site of tax havens, in the knowledge that as long as the possibility of money laundering exists, it will not be feasible to take to court the mafias trafficking arms, drugs, money, patents and people, as should be done without further delay.

  • No to the Europe that denounces, as it must, the lack of democracy in Cuba for 13 million inhabitants, whilst forgetting, as it should not, about Guantánamo, Abu Dhabi, Bagram, about the “democracies” of the oligarchs who, particularly in Latin America, continue to allow 42% of children to be without access to schooling and hundreds of thousands of citizens to be forced to migrate to faraway countries in order to then send funds…; whilst it is sweet-talking and encouraging visits from heads of State to countries in which it has relocated production without taking into consideration their democratic or working conditions, especially in a country in the East in which 1.3 billion people live, one hundred times more than in the justly warned Republic of Cuba, without in these cases taking human rights or the practice of capital punishment into account,… or which forget that the policy followed by Colombia, with the establishment of North American bases, is leading to the remilitarisation of all countries in Latin America…

  • No, then, to the Europe that applies different evaluation standards, rather than bravely defending universal values everywhere. A categorical no to the Europe that is not a watchtower of democracy and of human rights worldwide, that does not condemn, when it should, as it should, the atrocities that have taken place in Gaza, the “selective assassinations”, the settlements and the walls built in contravention of the International Court of Justice, gradually postponing on behalf of Israel the recognition of the State of Palestine.

  • No to the Europe that does not, once and for all, hold its hand out to the African continent…; that does not put an end to the embarrassment of military expenditure in Afghanistan –over 85 billion dollars- when the amount allocated to development and to the replacement of poppy crops (92% of opium, most heroin comes from Afghanistan) does not even amount to 5 billion.

  • No to the Europe that tolerates a media power which discredits trust, justices and equity in the eyes of the people; no to the Europe of the silent, of the sleepy, of the distracted, of the impassive, fainthearted spectators and recipients.

  • No to the Europe that condemns the veil in some countries –not in others, which are among the best buyers or suppliers- and tolerates, always for economic reasons, the humiliation of women in adverts for prostitution in the pages of even the most conservative newspapers, in television programmes, in advertising where women are shown totally “un-veiled” purely as consumer items…

  • No to the Europe that continues without any clear commitment to renewable energy, to the production of food and water in the amounts required; to health, particularly in view of greater longevity; to electric transport; to safeguarding the quality of the water in the oceans, of the air and of the earth; and which once again allows the reins of the economy to be entrusted to the same institutions involved in speculation, in arms production, in “bubbles” whose invoices are always paid by the most dispossessed and needy.

  • Due to its fantastic pluralism, its democratic culture, its vision of world citizenship, Europe can no longer be a submissive and frightened place. The people of Europe must rebel in order to bring about the transition from a culture of imposition and violence to a culture of reconciliation, dialogue, alliance and peace, with the creators at the vanguard, with the intellectuals at the helm.

This will be the “new beginning”, so that, within a few years, it will truly be the watchtower Europe.

Off the cuff (IV)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Europe that the world needs desperately at this point in time is


  • The watchtower Europe, of pluralism, of multilateralism, of freedom, of social justice, of solidarity. The Europe that, unconditionally, recognises and promotes the equal dignity of all human beings, as is so clearly established in the UNESCO Constitution and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Europe of “free and responsible” citizens, thanks to the democratic principles observed without exception by its leaders, to achieve the emancipation enabling it to become a point of reference for all nations. The Europe satisfied with its cultural diversity, its great wealth, united by the exercising of certain “universal values”, its indomitable strength.

  • The Europe of “the peoples”, as established in the United Nations Charter, could, in this way, “save the future generations from the scourge of war”. And it would know how to build bridges of dialogue and reconciliation in order to move from a culture of imposition and violence towards a culture of encounter, alliance and peace. The Europe that would be capable of leading the urgent conversion of an economy based on war and speculation to an economy of global sustainable development. The Europe capable of changing direction through education, science, culture and communication, conscious of the fact that nothing is doomed or irreparable as long as its inhabitants are capable of participating and expressing themselves freely; of avoiding their uniformization and gregarization; freeing themselves from the fear and submission that keeps them silent and intimidated; of rebelling against a system which has led, rather than to the reduction of rips in the social fabric, to a daily military expenditure of 3 billion dollars, whilst over 60,000 people die of hunger, most of these children aged 0 to 5.

  • The Europe which, peacefully but very firmly, resolves, at the dawn of this century and millennium, to overcome the inertia of centuries of authoritarian powers typical of a masculine society in which the sword is mightier than the word; in which women do not take part in decision making, or do so in a proportion which has not yet reached 10% today; a society which has let itself be influenced in such a way by the enormous power of the media, which is absolute and omnipresent, which without complaint has allowed international cooperation to be transformed into the exploitation and impoverishment of countries with a wealth of natural resources; which has tolerated the repeated failure to comply with the promises of development assistance made by the more prosperous countries; which has allowed the environment to deteriorate, until reaching a point where it has become essential to be aware and to act without delay, all together, without exception, in order to stop violating Mother Earth and to be able to hand down to future generations the environmental legacy that they deserve.

  • In short, the Europe prepared to lead the major transformations that must take place in order to ensure that every human being, unique and blessed with creative capacity, can, in their daily behaviour, definitively leave behind them the paths of confrontation -“if you want peace, prepare for war”- and weave, with the multi-coloured yarns of all races, gender, ideologies and beliefs, the strong and compact warp for initiating “the new beginning” that the Earth Charter beckons us to seek.

  • The Europe that knows how to untie itself from so many bindings and bonds which the few have been imposing on the many for centuries, on almost everyone, whose minds they have tried to “kidnap”, reducing them to vassals. The Europe which turns against plutocratic groups (G-7, G-8, G-20…) and reinforces the authority of the United Nations, so that all peoples can take the reins of destiny into their own hands. The Europe which remembers that, in the words of President Kennedy, “there is no challenge beyond the reach of the creative capacity of humanity”.

  • Like José Ángel Valente, I write today “from a shipwreck. / …I write about the present. / …I write about the latitude of pain, / about what we have destroyed / above all in ourselves… / …I write from the night, from the infinite progression of the dark, / from the clamour of hunger and the hidden world, / …from the hand which closes darkly, / from the genocide, / from the infinitely dead children, / from the tree wounded at its roots… / But I also write from life, / from its powerful cry, / From the suffering crowd… / I write, my brother, of a coming time”.

  • It is this Europe of culture, the Europe of creativity that is summoned to perform an essential role in redirecting the path of the planet as a whole, an unavoidable task. The citizens, at last capable of participating from a distance –thanks to modern communication technology– will elect and “regulate” their representatives in governments, giving them the self-esteem and drive necessary for the radical changes that only the “intellectual and moral solidarity” of humanity can bring about.