The Hague, Netherlands, Lecture on nuclear weapons “The Logic of Zero”
What could I have expected from a lecture on nuclear weapons other than the usual discourse on security, the reinforcement of the war narrative and of the ‘us-them’ vision of the world? All embedded in the narrow perspective of the world that literally separates past and present. Do political elites really want civil society to believe that colonialism and financing of wars and terrorist groups in the past centuries are not having an impact in the inequality and wars we assist to nowadays? I am pretty much convinced they are not, and yet they want us to believe so. And although a critical mass is growing, political elites actually manage to manipulate public opinion quite well on their behalf.
Due to the ‘boring’ discourse of the lecturer an old thought came to my mind and heart, the conviction that women may be able to end up war and violence. One of the aspects that makes me think so is that women give birth, plus they are seldom active in wars and violent conflict. And even though in some cases paramilitary groups may recruit women and they do have an active role in the violence between parties this is not often the case. Contrariwise women are in almost all cases the victims, together with children, youth and elderly. For instance women have been targeted by the Syrian government and in Egypt too, specifically through rape as a weapon of war.
I don’t believe all women are ‘natural mothers’ and that men don’t have the ‘instinct’ to take care of children, but I believe that carrying a baby in the womb may have an impact in a person’s life and way of seeing the world. A similar effect could eventually be boosted in men through socialisation and adequate emotional education, but so far this is still not the case. And therefore we continue to assist to the massive male political elites that dispute power in the worse possible ways, totally uncaring about who suffers with their bloody games. I totally agree with Bell Hooks when she describes the effect of emotional suppression in which male child are educated: inability to recognise and express feelings and emotions in oneself and other, and in the worse cases, total suppression of emotional life. How could we otherwise explain the total lack of empathy towards victims of war, the terrible expression ‘collateral damage’, the maintenance of poverty and oppression, the violations of human rights, and so on, that are perpetrated by political elites and their ‘soldiers’?
I was deeply emerged in all these thoughts when one of the women who was assisting to this lecture stand up and said something like ‘I would like to thank you for this lecture and for your beautiful words’… I could not believe my ears and I felt ashamed by the fact that she was probably trying to be one of the ‘bad guys’, willing to be part of the ‘logic of zero’ strategic plan. The logic of zero is indeed a very good idea, pity that is just applies to nuclear weapons and not to all other weapons and more importantly, to poverty and inequality.
It really makes me angry to see women, and men, who actually stand for war narratives and are unable to understand that another narrative is possible. A narrative in which information is transparent and all people are represented in an equal way, without manipulation. Women, as one of the biggest groups victim of patriarchy, should have the courage to stand up against it, not to actually support it.
As an exercise I invite you all to start to analyse the ‘stories’ which are told about different groups and people, namely women, migrants, Roma and Sinti, the hijab, violence against women (and why not ‘men’s violence against women’?), and so on. Start to notice which attributes are used to describe them, the way they are portrayed and the value of these attributes in society. Examples are more than welcome in the discussion forum.