"Working together for a free Cuba"




Playing Tricks with the Alliance of Civilizations.
By Pilar Rahola

They will tell me, welcome is, before the evil of others, the goodness of Zapatero. Minimally the president travels the world with the "good intention" knapsack, and wrapped in his "Mafalda" vocation, he goes to UNO to ask that we save the world. It is true that, after this, his speeches do not land in the unpleasant activity of making concrete proposals, but they navigate freely the emptiness of rhetoric, but it is a minor evil because after all, who believes -at this point- UNO is for anything else but a place show off one's speech skills? Not that the beloved institution has failed again in its try for reform, it is that UNO is an organism from the past, kidnapped by dozens of dictators of which it is made of, which succeed at hiding their heavy tyrannical load thanks to the legitimacy offered to them by the General Assembly. In the UNO, those counties which violate all the essential rights, those who feed and harness terrorism, those who make their women slaves, those who use their wealth to consolidate fascist ideologies, all of them, become allied states. It has been many decades since UNO failed in its mission to preserve international rule of Law. Today, more than a guardian lighthouse, it is a bath were systematical destruction of all fundamental right is whitened. Thus, it might be okay going to the UNO and tell big truths, even if it is to keep the conscience of wrong in shape.

In spite of everything, if you will, personally I am tired of Zapatero's inclination to the paternalist preaching when an international microphone is presented to him. Preaching that is no followed up with social and solidary policies, really enaged in house, although at that Zapatero is unique. Without going any further, that paradigm of world progress,
Lula, is very knowledgeable at it.

However, beyond good-will speeches already acknowledged as ZP's house brand, it begins to stick as a great idea, in co-creation with the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the concept of "alliance of civilizations," born no doubt as the opposite to the rotten concept of Huntington's "clash of civilizations." We go back to the goodness. No doubt, between the conception of clash of cultures and one that speaks of alliances, pacts and universal love, good people prefers the latter. Not only does ZP have the celestial sympathy with his idea, but he also appears as the reasonable man before the irrationality and exclusion. There we have, the approval of some (especially Islamic dictatorship enthusiasts), the support of others and even the good Kofi Annan personally endorsing the idea. No need to say I have fought the idea of "clash of civilizations" in several articles, not only because I deem it as deceptive and dangerous, but also because, on top, it is sterile. But going from the concept of "clash" to that of "alliance" without other consideration that love for exotic diversity and "look how cute we are, so different and still friends," seems to me as deceptive, dangerous and sterile.

I think ZP has created a good media headline without other content than the one found in the "Diversity Festival" and the "Porto Alegre Forum," whose inclination to non-criticism and third-world paternalism are an anthology. What does alliance of civilization mean? Does it mean to deem as belonging to Islamic civilization the lack of essential rights, the enslaving chauvinism or the theocratic conception of Law? That not only eliminates at once all opposition to current tyrannies, but it also legitimates, as natural, all tyrants which reign with koranic impunity. This leads to a second but essential question. Does alliance of civilizations take place with the citizens -who do not have democratic organism of representation- or with their political leaders, the majority of whom are not so due to their democratic culture? And if the godfather of the thing is Kofi Annan, does it mean that an organization that has not produced a single resolution against the countries that enslave women; who go hand in hand with countries the export terrorism, like Iran; that do not worry about the burning of Synagogues but raises his little finger every day against the evil sionist (the heavy soviet inheritance rests unchanged), and that, summing up, legitimates all dictatorships in the world, will be the referee in such a singular alliance?

Personally, I am ready and joyfully willing to be allies with an Islamic woman who has been sentenced to death by stoning. Or with the opposition to Ahmadinejad's Iranian dictatorship, or with the journalists who fight the Moroccan dictatorship. But the idea of a generic alliance, without considerations other than the solidary goodness and that, far from identifying the problem in the brutal lack of democracy in Islam, places it in the rhetorical abstraction, it is not only inutile, but it is also perverted. More than fighting tyrannies, it consolidates them as interlocutors. The only possible alliance is written in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and beyond religion, use and tradition of peoples, its violation is not exchangeable.

The hand in favor of Islam can only be that pointing at the heart of the problem, that denounces the use of a religion to enslave and fanaticize, that which does not deem as "natural" the lack of freedom. All of this, I do not read in the small writing of ZP's proposal. If the "clash of civilizations" was barbaric to me, Zapatero's alliance is a pure
rhetoric resource, more avid of media exposure than able to dig into the real problems. Do they want alliance? Let us be allies of democracy, let us denounce lack of freedom in the name of Islam, let us expose the colors of the dictatorships in the UNO forum, let us explain that the enemy of a culture is he who uses it to fanaticize and to kill.
But if we do not do any of this, we are legitimizing as if it were a different "civilization" all that which happens to be pure tyranny. Huntington seemed to me, at that time, perverted. ZP seems to me simplistic. The two of them, regrettably, are playing with fire.

Translation by: Felipe Guacache
Pilar Rahola: Diario El País. Madrid.