Against war, finding words

We invite you to share your thoughts on the situation in Ukraine, removing them from the battlefield of social networks. Words to help us put order back into the huge mess that is war, to find a sense that has been lost. Send us your texts
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War is an absolute loss of meaning, the replacement of words by violent gestures.

Keeping words aliveinvesting them with confidence, giving birth to new ones is a very valuable work that can stem the destruction. Not so much and not only the words that are needed for diplomacy and negotiation. Above all the words that help us to put order back into the huge mess that is war, to rediscover the sense lost.

Not the words of flame on social networks, that force us to take sides and fight - for the simple reason that it is the brawls and fake news that drive traffic and secure business, Shoshana Zuboff has explained once and for all - but the trembling, hesitant words that need shelter to come into the world and guide it.

Etty Hillesum She would have had every right to entrench herself in hatred for her executioners, yet she chose another path, sheltering those words in her 'thinking heart', and it was on this other path that her feminine greatness was expressed.

We therefore invite you to take your words out of the senseless social battlefieldwar within the war, to express yourselves in this 'sheltered' place, helping to fan the flame of trust as each one knows how and is able.

We look forward to your free reflections - within 20 lines, for readability reasons -. You can send them to

Breaking the ice


Absurdly my very first thought was for Vladimir Putin. I cannot understand how a man who is old and fatally close to retirement, however much he may have wanted to achieve political immortality, has decided to leave a trail of violence and blood on earth as a reminder of his passing. "Didn't he have enough already?" said one. Where does this excess come fromthe dream of Great Russia, to become the last Tsar?

His life must be terrible, as often happens when power sets itself no limits. His right hand does not trust his left hand, biographers describe him as a paranoid who sees enemies everywhere, terrified of Covid and of growing old, as can be seen from his face, which has been modified by cosmetic surgery. While paradoxically, I found myself feeling sorry for him, I also hoped he would die, but this too was in a compassionate reduce the amount of violence it is bringing down on a defenceless population. I think that however it goes - and in all probability it will go - Russia, or rather its government, will get the better of Ukraine and encompass it within its borders. Vladimir Putin is a finished man, not so much and not only because of the international isolation he is subjected to, but because, as we are seeing, his humanity has been completely exhausted.

Compared to the war, I feel I have the right to claim at least a partial extraneousness: that device is of foolish men, the harrowing images from Ukraine, anything but cyberwar, give us the absurdity of a old' scene almost a century in Europe -weapons, casualties, military vehicles, rubble- and also the logic of the blocks I cannot but suffer.

When a conflict arises, each party has its own input, There is the historical background, mistakes, money is increasingly the reason for everything, for wars and not only wars. So I stand firm by clinging to two principles, which for me are absolutely imperative: those who wage war consciously accept a large part of the responsibility, he loses his share of reason and reason, he consciously renounces it, he is out of the civil consortium. The other unbreakable principle is that a people must be respected in their will to self-determine their own destiny - as far as possibleAnd here this will is manifesting itself in a unanimous and clamorous way, more than mature women who, in order not to go back to the pre-1989 situation, assemble Molotov bottles with petrol and rags, girls who assure "Even if Zelensky should give in, we will never surrender". To ask, as I see some people do, that Ukraine agree to do its part of buffer status neutral and not bothering the rest of the world is an unacceptable abuse, since it is a side that those people no longer want to support.

Everything we can do in faith with these two principles is, in my opinion, close to what is right.

Marina Terragni

WE STILL HAVE A SOUL by Eloise Mulberry

I think it is impossible to look at the horrors of war without thinking about how it is a testimony to the fact that no other species in the world hates its own kind as much as man does. Ever since man began to walk upright, there have always been wars, and the more we evolve, the more destructive our weapons become. 
Hatred seems to be, together with the inability to learn from past mistakes and horrors, a human constant. We know that no one wins the war; all that remains in the end are the victims and the suffering of those who survived. 
It seems impossible to look at the faces of the people who are fleeing Ukraine and find something positive, something that might even give a glimmer of hope.
However, there is one thought I would like to share. I have heard from those who have seen and experienced war in one way or another, the phrase "war tears at the soul."
It is a phrase that undoubtedly reiterates what an absurd, pointless horror war is. But it is also a sentence that in a way can give hope. 
If looking at what is happening in Ukraine brings us to tears, it tears at our souls, it brings people from different countries together in solidarity with Ukrainian citizens, means that we still have a soul. 
Maybe I'm just too optimistic, maybe I put too much faith in man, but looking at all the demonstrations of solidarity I think there is still something good in the man for whom it is worth continuing to hope.


I don't understand why we humans have to solve our problems with violence. No, I don't, I understand it well, painfully well. When I imagine in my imagination that if the leaders of the world were women we would have a more peaceful world, I remember that we live in a patriarchal system where only power counts. Nothing else, neither humanity nor nature. Both are expendable.

I am a person with an American passport, one who after the initial horror of 9/11 said, "I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner." I am irrevocably convinced of the evil of the capitalist system, and that the extreme violence we are experiencing at the moment is a malicious and justified response to an equally hostile provocation. Putin is undoubtedly dangerous, but it is wrong to focus on him alone when we know that NATO's moves have provoked it.

What worries me now is Germany's new position, I would have preferred it if Angela Merkel was still in charge. He knows best the art of diplomacy. It seems to me that the EU has (or has had) in general a mature and measured attitude, while the US is like a selfish teenager. I hope Xi Jinping can talk sense to Putin, because I don't think the West will be able to.

Having said all this, the unnecessary suffering of the Ukrainians and their Russian brothers is incomprehensible, like the suffering of peoples in every war, in the constant wars in the world. We have learned nothing from the past.


I am Sefora Adamović, daughter of Serbian migrants, born in Taormina in 1989. I have many identities in me: My surname is Jewish, I have been bilingual since birth, I feel deeply islander, Sicilian and Italian, perfectly integrated, but all this has not prevented me from suffer immensely during the war in former Yugoslavia my whole childhood while I had my older brothers and my whole family stuck there, between embargoes, refugee flows and bombings.

This makes me very close emotionally and psychologically to the experience of the current conflict, Just as I find unbearable the mainstream narrative of the major media which not only tends to flatten any analysis to an annihilating Manichaeism, but actually censors any deviation from their propaganda.

I see economic reasons that concern the energy sphere and the ever flourishing arms market behind this war, but the bill in terms of lives will always be borne indiscriminately by civilians. I know that people are brothers and I believe in this feeling, as we were brothers in former Yugoslavia, and it took foreign-funded fratricidal conflicts to arrive at the substantial truth of everyday life: hanging out, mixing, which regenerates the community. 

I have a crazy but beautiful dream: I would love to see Putin replaced overnight by a babushka selling straw slippers at the market and Biden by an African-American supermarket cashier. A snap of the fingers and all humble women in the most powerful positions. Why? Because to stop a war you don't need competence but will. Back on earth...
In my heart I hope for what reason fears will not come true: the triumph of diplomacy over arms. And so, in the meantime, I cling to the words of the past: from Dostoyevsky to Bulgakov, I have created a small column "Letters from a distant time where every day I read excerpts from novels, poems, songs, novellas, as a form of cultural resistance for peace and a warning to consciences. 
I leave the link to the channel in case the initiative is of interest:

GLASS TEARS by Laura De Barbieri

In Ukraine we want peace. All women want peace.

Women, those who never decide on men's wars and those who are never invited to peace negotiations. Those who find themselves alone involved, with children, the elderly and pets, putting together the pieces for the survival of whole families.

We saw them die under the bombs in total anonymitylike the woman from Irpin who fell on the asphalt with her two children in tow. We saw them in Moscow lay flowers with their children in front of the Ukrainian Embassy, before they were all put behind bars, we saw the Hassan, a child of just 11 years old from Zaporizhzhia, sent off on his own, with a phone number written on his handin the last hope of saving him.

We have seen a woman feeds hot tea and a loaf of bread to a soldier who was sent to get it for her, dignity, freedom and life included. A young soldier, like so many others, lost, hungry, frightened and deceived, who has been told he was going to do exercises in the Crimea and instead discovers he is at the front, in a real war. The young woman lends her phone and the soldier calls the person - the only one - who embodies love, life, warmth, strength and stability, his mother.

Mothers cry and Russian mothers too looking for their missing, fallen or injured children, through photos of disfigured bodies and faces of the Telegram channel Ishi svoih, or 'Search for your". Kirill, the 18-month-old boy who died under the bombs in Mariupol, will no longer see his mother, disfigured by grief, while in St Petersburg, Yelena Osipova, elderly survivor of the siege of Leningrad, says: "Soldier, put down your weapons and you will be a true hero.

E then why, again and again, do we never admit ourselves in the decisive places? Why do we never take into account our words, our experience, our wisdom?

Don't answer, you are no longer credible. Yelena was also arrested.

Laura De Barbieri


I tried a great discomfort in listening to the statements of almost all our politicians, on Putin's aggression against Ukraine. Dismayed, heartbroken, as if they had no part in it. Yet Sergio Romano, former ambassador to NATO and the Soviet Union, has long pointed to the seriousness of the Europe's responsibility in not containing the more or less explicit aggression that the enlargement of the Atlantic Alliance to include so many Eastern European countries represented for Russia. He has been saying this for years from the pages of Corriere. In recent days repeated this in other newspapers, the Corriere being more busy with the usual front-page writers stigmatising Putin's behaviour and above all, it seems to me, defining friends of Putin all those who dare to give credence to those reflections. Which were repeated last Saturday, 26 February, in the columns of il Fatto Quotidiano, by Barbara Spinelli who pointed out the essential points of the aggressive and unprejudiced policy of the USA and the European states, unable to deal with Russia and Putin in a dignified manner. He also regretted the positions he had taken at the time of the Kosovo war. But they do not!

No one has anything to regret, to repent for. Almost all of them are outraged, repeating how good they are at condemning the aggressor and standing by the attacked, now even with weapons, explicitly and in the open, with the whole of Europe. But they were there, holding the highest positions in the European institutions, to stand up in their governments and national parliaments to prevent this. To deal worthily and profitably with the largest neighbouring state of the European Union, to which we are bound by so many profound interests. They were there, in the newspapers, with the power of the pen, to make us aware of the danger and to point out timely remedies and demand their implementation.

I have nothing in principle against the analyses of Romano and Spinelli being discussed or even refuted, but I would like to hear the aspiration to conceive a different foreign policy. Instead, I continue to read the usual signatures of incurable anti-communist sufferers, mild-mannered and courteous history scholars in many ways, and others, variously competent, all of whom are dedicated to name-calling, even to the mockery to the point of ridicule of those who give in to the temptation to look for reasons, explanations, to Putin's choices.

Attempting to identify wrongs or responsibilities, God forbid, in the behaviour of the West, the EU, the US or NATO, seems to be nothing more than waffling or bad faith. As if this were not always the only sensible way out of the most serious difficulties: looking at what can and must be corrected, from where we are. In the words of Barbara Spinelli - Admitting our mistakes would be a not insignificant contribution to the peace we say we want. -. Or with those of the Nobel Prize winner Giorgio Parisi which, tracing the East/West relations for the regulation of nuclear testing, with clear reference to today, states: "We are not just talking about ...if one does not make a sincere effort to understand the other's reasons, it is very difficult to reach an agreement that is then respected by all parties... -.***

Instead, their writings are full of expressions such as 'Mad czar', 'increasingly isolated and out-of-control autocrat', in a long jaculatoria of self-absolutions. I read with attention and sadness their arguments, which always have the flavour of counter-arguments - literally, against someone, as in a settling of scores - and I cannot free myself from a word that besieges me: warmongers.

An exaggeration? I don't think so, because if one does not try with thought and pen to find the well-founded reasons and motives that triggered the aggression, it will be difficult to find a lasting way out.

(from the website of the Libreria delle Donne in Milan, see here)


As soon as I read that the situation in Ukraine had precipitated and that Putin had invaded the country, in what was a time bomb that had been ready to explode for some time, my first thoughts were of the prostitution industry. Immediately afterwards, mothers with their children popped into my mind, along with all the other protagonists that recur in a war and the possible geopolitical consequences of this conflict. However, I thought in the first instance of prostitution.

Not everyone can imagine the existence of a close link between prostitution, pornography, militarism and war conflictsNor, therefore, that wars are detonators of markets for prostitution and, consequently, pornography. This happens in two ways: peacekeepers or soldiers kidnap women and children to traffic them and set up areas where they can prostitute them; pimps and traffickers in human prostitution take advantage of the fragility of humanitarian corridors and of the flight from war zones in order todespoiling and kidnapping women, girls and children and forcing them into the business. They represent two constants that recur in almost every conflict today.
Not everyone knows that when the Korean Warat the end of the Second World War, an million Korean women were prostituted by the US military. and that pimps tried to kidnap and sell North Korean women on the prostitution market in China (see here). Not everyone knows that the UN blue helmets contributed to the trafficking of women and children for prostitution in the Balkans (see here).

Unfortunately, the examples are numerous and varied and cut across all ideological creeds. Not everyone is aware that prostitution in turn feeds the pornographic industry, as there are frequent images of trafficked and prostituted women whose rape is turned into pornography. Moreover, Pornography was used to foment aggression among soldiers.before and during some of the conflicts of the last century.  
Unfortunately, I have already learned that there are cases in Ukraine of pimps trying to seize the right opportunity while fleeing women to neighbouring states to pretend to offer them accommodation or something else, so as to lure them (see here).
Wars for the conquest of new territories are based on the same premise as prostitution and pornography: the fetishisation of violence and the need for more and more new monetisable resources. With the only exception that in prostitution and pornography monetisable resources are women.


Anti-violence preaching has no shortage of moral arguments, but it lacks a leverage point. to raise the just demands and lower the arrogance of the powerful.

In ancient times the leverage point was the divine word; in modern times it has been the ideal of progress. Which today is dead, as dead and perhaps more dead than God. Today, because of global competition, exacerbated by the current crisis, the idea that it is possible for everyone to be better off no longer operates; prevails that the best is for some at the expense of others.

The realisation that we are no longer motivated by the dream of making everyone better off is a mortal blow to the ideal of equality and the politics of rights. E forces us to reopen the debate on the use of force. There is a violence in things and among living beings that heralds a return of the law of the strongest: we need to think about this.

The discourse can be opened by simply saying that, in certain contexts, under certain conditions, it is advisable not to use all the strength at one's disposal. But it must be kept available if you do not want others to take it.One cannot give up one's strength without succumbing to other forces. It is therefore a question of measuring it without losing it.

Anti-violence preaching would have us believe that the right measure would be set by the border between force and violence: no, the trespass between one and the other is often inevitable. The measure to be sought is in the coincidence between rightness and justice of action, coincidence that must be sought, not by trial and error, but almost. Rightness (which is a relative of effectiveness) is above all of the means, justice is above all of the ends. Their correspondence, always to be sought, is opposed to the cynicism of the end that would justify the means, but also to the paralysis of acting entirely in accordance with the established rules. And it is a name of politics.

Dosing the use of the force at one's disposal is part of the strategy of political action not as just any option but as a necessary knowledgeThis is well taught by the ancient Taoist philosopher Sun-Tzu in theArt of War. Justice, for the general commanding the army, consists in obeying the orders of the Emperor, but the general knows that 'there are orders from the Emperor which are not to be obeyed'.We need to know this if we are to shorten the distance between the right thing to do here and now, and the justice of our doing, which will also be recognisable tomorrow and the day after.

Secondly, there must logically be aopen discussion on the idea of just violence.
Our systematic failure to call God into question (which has its own good reasons) makes it perhaps an impractical question, because Just violence is by definition divine violence, i.e. the manifestation of a being who is essentially just. Which is certainly not the human being. Among the divine names is also Sun of Justice. Does it not exist? Patience, we will light ourselves with candles, but theoretical truths remain so even in the absence of facts, and let us keep them in mind.

Otherwise, based on what actually happens among humans, it is believed that violence is bad in itself. And the ground is prepared to argue that it is only justified if its use is regulated by law. This overlooks the fact that the law uses violence as an instrument for purposes that the law itself declares to be just: a vicious circle from which there is no escape without breaking it, given that existing law reflects the state of the balance of power and violence is no stranger to it. Things already said and known. Can we pretend to ignore them? It is a question of thinking about a violence that is not anyone's instrument, that the law cannot make its own by justifying it, and no one can make it their own, a manifestation of a justice that goes beyond us, but which we humans can allow ourselves to use, aware of the inevitable risk of falling into errors and excesses. Therefore, just violence not as a category of law, on the contrary, whose historical conditions the law cannot codify, only recognise a posteriori. They can establish them, from time to timeonly the circumstances.

Force, under certain circumstances, can rightly and effectively be exercised to the limits of violence and even beyond them. But for there to be any point in discussing this thesis, right or wrong, I have to ask myself whether I really have the capacity to act with all my potential strength, whether I actually have it. If not, and if this defect of energy were widespread, as I fear, it would be ridiculous to look for a new leverage point, like trying to jump on a bed with broken springs.

Anti-violence preaching, insofar as it excludes a priori the idea of just violence, encourages abdication to act, if necessary, with all necessary force. And this has repercussions on people's intelligence: those who do not use their strength when it would be useful and necessary seem stupid, but those who have renounced it a priori really do. No one says this but, in my opinion, the tarnishing of collective intelligence in this country of ours is not only due to consumerism and similar things, but also to the end of the communist challenge that conveyed an idea of just, revolutionary violencePolitical judgement matters little here, I am talking about inner dosages.

By saying "all necessary force", I mean the dual force of awareness (not recriminating and complaining but seeing and realising to the full) and of drawing the practical and logical consequences, those within the possibilities of the person who sees and realises.

It was within the power of the peacekeeping forces in the former Yugoslavia to defend the defenceless civilians who were murdered en masse in Srebrenica in 1995. But what did the UN military do? They helped select the victims destined for the massacre: they did it not out of fear or complicity but out of simple stupidity, unable to perceive the monster of hatred that was before their eyes. (...)

Philosophers complain that we confuse different concepts such as power, domination, force, violence. All right. But when, in response, they start giving us their careful definitions, I would say to them: before that, you should investigate where and how confusion arises. And ask yourselves whether what appears to be confusion might not be the manifestation of something you would do well to look at more closely. Re-read that masterpiece packed into a few pages that is The Iliad, a poem of strength by Simone Weil.

Although force and violence are very different, separating them by definition only obscures an ineradicable aspect of human reality. There are distances and proximities that are not established verbally but actively: the right definition will be found in the light of this action. In short, less philosophy and more practice.

from Via Dogana no. 100, March 2012

FATHER RUSSIA by Veronica Tamborini

Vladimir Putin is behaving with Ukraine like those fathers who are violent and patriarchal towards their wife and daughters and who assault them to the point of killing them to subject them to their own need for control and domination.

The Ukrainian state has been invaded by Russian military troops since 24 February: a traditional war of death and violence is opening up in the centre of the European continentthe eastern borders of which reach the edge of the Ural Mountains.

Relentless tanks in long lines advance, attacking and bombing, tightening borders, taking cities and territories, forcing the population into the state of war. The streets and cities until a few weeks ago filled with the flow of daily life of a country of 42 million people for just over 20 years in the laborious search for an economic, democratic, civil and political balance after independence from the USSR.

The economic, political and military interests around this country The phases of change have alternated with periods of strong tension, in which political and economic influences have been pressing from both the Western and Russian blocs. All this in aUkraine, which has long resented Russian domination and tells a story that predates the founding of Moscow and the Tsarist empire.

Contro la guerra, trovare le parole

Vladimir Putin - to justify its military aggression - rewriting the history of Ukraine claiming that cannot exist independently of Russia; also invents the concept of units of Russians and Ukrainians. These words, with their brazen denial of the violence waged against Ukraine, are reminiscent of the words of the worst patriarchal fathers who use the concepts of unity, family and mediation even in contexts of domestic violence.

Ukrainian women, like victims of male violence everywhere, turn themselves and their daughters into refugees to protect, heal and go where life can still go on.

In the meantime, the Russian regime is cracking down hard on internal protests, with tens of thousands of people detained and arrested; newspaper and broadcasting offices are closing one after the other and the now very rare independent publications such as Novaja Gazeta - of the murdered Anna Politovskaya - are chostage to an unspeakable aphasia: the words 'war' and 'invasion' are banned in the Russian press.

In these hours more than 2.2 million Ukrainian women, girls and elderly people are on the run towards the western border. Yet most of the civilian population still remains confined in a dark and horrible trench. The Russian attack proceeds to encircle the Ukrainian people in an indecent attempt to weaken and subjugate them.

Like all bearers of violent attitudes Vladimir Putin's regime denies acting violence and lies not only about its intentions but also about the facts, in a process of manipulation and disinformation also through technological tools and through funding and economic interests. One cannot avoid linking this behaviour to that of men who perpetrate violence on women and children.

There is no possibility of going in search of the justifications for aggression and domination.

Putin disguises itself from Mother Russia. But Russia and Ukraine are not with him, the violent 'father'.


What is still to come before a serious path to dialogue is embarked upon? What are the reasons, the imperatives that prevent an end to the violence of armed conflict? And how is it possible to even try to find the right reasons today for the exercise of a violence that has grown enormously in its hybrid, cybernetic extensions?

There is no real reason or 'rightness' in war; there are - of course - reasons for both, reasons which are both sufficient and, at the same time, both wrong.

Violence is always an act aimed at to annihilate the other person identically, humanly and physically; to literally transform him - as Simone Weil writes - "en pierre"up to the extreme cosification of the "cadavre". So, nothing more than "des choses à tuer"human thing petrified but still alive; thing among things, reduced to a 'means' or instrument, this way from Kantian 'end in itself'.

What, then, mediation to invoke that does not result once again in a disastrous failure? At what distance should one place oneself, or rather, what just distance should one seek for those whose humanity has not yet been touched by the horror of war? How, if not in the name of 'forcing together'?

We should perhaps look back, consider in our present the Simone Weil's lucid thinking, never abstractly ideal, but deeply rooted in the reality of material life.

Whichever way you look at it, Force - which Weil does not always distinguish from violence - also annihilates those who exercise it and not only those who suffer it, the test in his own flesh. We know how it is consistent with his inner maturity, Weil finally agrees to take part in the collective tragedy, taking his share of evil upon himself. But perhaps today we should have learned, also thanks to his masterly example, that the good practice of non-belligerence and, more broadly, of non-violence may not be a naive utopian abstraction but the constant and decisive management of the conflicts that have always agitated human beings.

LOVE by Nevia Giunta

This war, in my opinion, is imitating what Hitler was in the past. I'm very afraid that we're heading for a third world war and, as in the past, world diplomacy has moved too late and has been forced to take up arms. It is not enough to be told "pray that the Lord will take care of it". The powerful must all sit down at a table. to end the war and stop making people suffer. YOU WHO KNOW HOW TO DO IT, TEACH PEOPLE TO LOVE WITH THE HEART and at the same time I thank you for what you have always given me: "Love".

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Child rapists: shock report in UK
In Great Britain, 18 rapes a day are committed by minors on their peers: in 2022 these cases numbered 15,000, almost always by very young males. A British police report shows how free access to violent pornography online is normalising criminal sexual behaviour in England and all other Western countries
For years, we have been reporting on the psychological and material damage produced on an entire generation by free access to violent online pornography, consumed by boys and girls from the age of 7 but also much earlier: gang rapes committed by minors are just the tip of the iceberg of this dramatic phenomenon, which has now been analysed and quantified by a study by the British police. On this topic you can find previous articles here, here, here and here. We were almost only [...]
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