Once upon a time, philosophers were supposed to be the custodians of ethical coherence and of intellectual decency. This tradition seems totally obliterated in the present cultural landscape of Europe.
Conformism, hypocrisy, and complicity with the powerful have taken the place of intellectual courage in the mainstream media, in the academy. A few weeks ago a prominent German philosopher published a text full of comprehension for Israel, just when Israel was engaging in an action of mass murder that more and more people are denouncing as genocide. In that text the prominent philosopher (and some of his colleagues) wrote that “Likening the resulting bloodshed in Gaza to a genocide is beyond the boundaries of acceptable debate”, but they omitted to explain why Israel is allowed to incarcerate millions of people, to invade and destroy the houses of million Palestinians, to kill ten thousand children in two months, but we are not allowed to denounce these actions as genocide. Israel is indiscriminately targeting Palestinian people who are trapped in the hellish prison of Gaza, but philosophers should not call it genocide, particularly in Germany. Why so?
When German intellectuals said the words: Nie wieder, I understood (naively of course) that they wanted to say: never more ethnic cleansing, never more mass deportation, never more racial discrimination never more extermination camps, never more Nazism.
As I read the words of the prominent philosopher and of the members of the European political elite, as I listen to the silence of the majority of those who used to be intellectuals – I understand that those two words have a different meaning. I understand that from a German point of view, those words (Nie Wieder) have to be interpreted this way: after killing six million Jews, two million Rom people, three hundred thousand communists, and twenty million soviets, we, the Germans will protect Israel no matter what, because they are no longer the enemy of our superior race, but a part of it. Therefore they have been granted the privilege that we already have: the privilege of the colonizers, of the exploiters, of the exterminators.
Israel has been co-opted in the Suprematist Club so it is allowed to do what we did to the indigenous people of Southern and Northern America, and to the aboriginal people of Australia, and so on and so on. We, the white race, have decided that our new ally can build on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea an extermination camp.
European intellectuals are so silent about it that I have come to the conclusion that the category is extinct, and it has been replaced by the Corporation of the Hypocrites. In France and in Germany the political authorities seem unwilling to accept that someone tells the truth about what is happening in Gaza and in the West Bank: dissenting voices are forbidden, books are removed from the shelves of libraries, and free speech is prohibited, when it comes to the effects of 75 years of Israeli violence, when it comes to the massacres that the Ubermenschen are daily perpetrating on the Untermenschen.
In order to protect our perfect democracy the German authorities are acting as they did in the times of STASI.In order to protect our perfect democracy children are daily killed in Palestine. They are starving, suffering thirst and cold weather and rain and disease and obviously bombs, more bombs, but European intellectuals are not allowed to tell that this is a genocide. Young people are marching in the cities against Israeli occupation apartheid and ethnic cleansing, a large part of the Jewish people are revolting against the genocide but they are accused of anti-semitism by the European hypocrites.
I used to believe that reason and human rights were to be intended as universal values, but now I understand that, for European intellectuals, universal means: white. Hypocrisy has nurtured the black wave of racism and aggressiveness that is mounting in all countries of the Union. The silent intellectuals of Europe are responsible for the mounting wave of Fascism that is swamping the Union.
Horkheimer and Adorno wrote these words in 1941:“the very concept of Enlightenment … contains the germ of the regression that is taking place everywhere today. If Enlightenment does not embrace the consciousness of this regressive moment, it is signing its own death sentence. If we leave the reflection on the destructive side of progress to the enemies of progress, though, blinded by pragmatism, will lose its capacity…..”These words should be spoken again, as we are closing our eyes to the reality of tens of thousands of drowned people in the Mediterranean Sea, and to the reality of the Holocaust inflicted on the Palestinian people.
FRANCO BERARDI BIFO