Lately I think we have a kind of social blindness or shortsightedness. We are so focused on our navel that what happens not only in the world but in Europe itself, we see it as alien. Somehow I think we feel that it is not going to affect us. That until we don’t see it, if I don’t see it, it doesn’t exist.
The very wise Spanish proverb says that “when you see your neighbour’s beard trimmed, put your own to soak”. And I ask myself: who do we consider to be our neighbours? Who does it have to happen to before we in Spain consider that we have to put our beards to soak? I am writing this article on October 28th. The day before the Ddl Zan bill against homophobia and misogyny was defeated in Italy, and in Congress there was shouting and cheering. They argued things like: that it was against freedom of expression (the freedom to express that you’re a fucking faggot?) or that it was against traditional values (hello? In classical Greece, from which the Roman Empire copied everything, I guess they weren’t very straight). I’ve been looking at the main Spanish newspapers for a while to see if there’s any news on the front page… There’s nothing. And a day or two in times of instant information is an eternity. And because now I’m on a TV detox, but if it’s not on the internet, it won’t be on TV. Do we think that it doesn’t concern us or that there is no homophobia in Spain? That reporting on homophobia doesn’t get clicks? That Italy is far away and it’s not going to happen in Spain? Or seeing the panorama with the ultra-right here, maybe it’s the opposite, that we openly admit it, that we are not interested, we are not interested in criminalizing homophobic acts and discriminatory acts against people because of their gender, sexual orientation or gender identity. Or we are simply not interested at all. Silence also speaks in these cases.
In this case, do we not consider Italy our neighbouring country either? Where is the line from the unique context of each country to an exportable event that can influence us here as well?
As we know (and are living), Europe is having a widespread energy shortage problem. And to add the apocalyptic pandemic cherry on top, now all over the news they’re hyping the global blackout of indeterminate duration that the Austrian government has prevented. (And I, being by default an angsty person, am wondering where to store non-perishable food or if I’d better retire to live in the countryside pAre we about to enter the Mad Max era? Because I’m not ready.
Maybe we look at this situation with incredulity, because shortages are not typical of the first world. Blackouts happen in other poor countries, like Iraq or Venezuela with Chavez, but not here in the first world, not here in Spain. The last time we thought like that, that Spain was far away, that it was just a flu and that it only happened in China, a huge pandemic came and nobody was prepared (I’m not saying that the apocalyptic world blackout is going to happen, but if it can… it can). In addition, China also has fossil fuel poverty and this also affects us. Europe manufactures in China, and if China can not manufacture, then in Europe we will not have Christmas presents, in fact, they say that we buy and gifts (and frozen too? that with energy is not known) because this Christmas there will be shortages.
Perhaps we think that globalization is a new invention, born in the so-called “modern world”. But it is not. Humans have been travelling and moving since the world began as migrants, as hunter-gatherers. Pandemics, raw materials or festivities (now that Halloween is coming) have travelled from one side of the globe to another and from one culture to another since time immemorial. We are all connected whether we believe it or not, and we are all neighbours, whether we want to be or not.