Saturday, March 24, 2007

Europe's leading writers' call to action. Don't celebrate "the impotent nullities". Stop massacres and don't betray our civilisation.



In today's Independent there is a very touching and exceptionally clever appeal for preventing the massacres in Darfur. (See the end of this post.)

Not only do I find this so brilliant because of the signing writers - the books of whom I have read with adoration and respect - but also because they have so definite and real suggestions: Forbid them (the reps of the Sudanese regime) our shores, our health service and our luxury goods. Freeze their assets in our banks and move immediately to involve other concerned countries.

But does the Europe want to stop the massacre? The literary masters won't let the European leaders escape by letting them hide behind the economical facts or bureaucracy. They are demanding Europe to become a civilised cultural area again, respecting the values on which the European Community was originally established: It (the European tradition) is an inherited culture which sustains our shared belief in the value and dignity of the human being.

Dear Umberto Eco,

IStori has been a great fan of yours for years. For decades. Unlike most people, who seem to like "The Name Of the Rose" best, the book that made me hold my breath was "Foucault's Pendulum": a brilliant story about crimes in the past and (even) in the future, about crimes which may not have happened after all, and also about how people can do amazingly cruel and merciless things, only because they believe in dangerous systems build up, eventually, by themselves.

And thinking the destructive theories invented by themselves are somehow divine truths.

Please Mr Eco, keep up the good fighting! (And, add Chechnya and Russia on your list.)

I will send the following to our President, Ms Tarja Halonen, and Prime Minister, Mr Matti Vanhanen. (Not that I doubt they wouldn't already have been sent the letter.)

Hopefully some Estonian brothers and sisters will send this to President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, and the Swedes to Victoria, or whoever is the biggest leader there, and so on...

*******

Darfur: a letter from Europe's leading writers
On the fiftieth anniversary of the EU, a call to action

Published: 24 March 2007

To the leaders of the 27 nations of the EU

How dare we Europeans celebrate this weekend while on a continent some few miles south of us the most defenceless, dispossessed and weak are murdered in Sudan?

Has the European Union - born of atrocity to unite against further atrocity - no word to utter, no principle to act on, no action to take, in order to prevent these massacres in Darfur? Is the cowardliness over Srebrenica to be repeated? If so, what do we celebrate?

The thin skin of our political join?

The futile posturings of our political class?

The impotent nullities of our bureaucracies?

The Europe which allowed Auschwitz and failed in Bosnia must not tolerate the murder in Darfur. Europe is more than a network of the political classes, more than a first world economic club and a bureaucratic excrescence. It is an inherited culture which sustains our shared belief in the value and dignity of the human being. In the name of that common culture and those shared values, we call upon the 27 leaders to impose immediately the most stringent sanctions upon the leaders of the Sudanese regime.

Forbid them our shores, our health service and our luxury goods. Freeze their assets in our banks and move immediately to involve other concerned countries.

We must not once again betray our European civilization by watching and waiting while another civilization in Africa is destroyed.

Let this action be our gift to ourselves and our proof of ourselves. And when it is done, then let us celebrate together with pride.

Umberto Eco
Dario Fo
Günter Grass
Jürgen Habermas
Václav Havel
Seamus Heaney
Bernard Henri-Levy
Harold Pinter
Franca Rame
Tom Stoppard

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