27 February 2022

The strength you need (if it's not too late)

Angela Merkel knows better than anyone else the reality of the East, she has always been in dialogue with Putin and has the necessary authority to represent Europe, which today is struggling to find a face, in an extreme attempt at mediation. If there is still time to stop the war. But perhaps there is time to contain the damage.
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War is the absolute absurdity and is again demonstrating this by plunging us into aphasia. Words seem to lose their meaning when brutality is deployed as in these hours. Among the most sensible, clinging to reality, those of a Ukrainian woman to a young Russian soldier: 'Keep these sunflower seeds, put them in your pocket. When you die, flowers will grow". This is similar to what Etty Hillesum: "To flourish and bear fruit in whatever soil one is planted - couldn't that be the idea?".

To be against this war and all wars is to find confidence in words, to cherish this confidence and to make it grow. The words of Carla Lonzifor example, who had experienced the war and who talked about it definitively: "War has always been the specific activity of the male and his model of virile behaviour'.

There is nothing less ours than a war, today we feel pushed even further to the edge of the world. Stopping the war is all about bringing us back to the centre of things, finding the words, taking the floor. The strength we need can only come from here.

Someone suggested that it may be a woman, Angela Merkel, who gives Europe a face on this occasion, a project whose fragility as a purely 'commercial' union we are currently seeing. After all, that was the face of Europe for many years. Others object to the fact that you wanted the Nord Stream 2 - today on standby - and that this was a serious mistake, weakening Ukraine to the benefit of German-Russian relations. But this reason today perhaps appears contingent on others.

Merkel has been the leader of a nation that has experienced the tragic consequences of war more than any other, for almost half a century cut in two by a Wall that has humiliated and weakened it, and she knows well that Russian aggression against Ukraine could mark another "profound rupture in the history of Europe". She was born in Hamburg, in the West, grew up in Templin, in the GDR, knows that reality very well, speaks fluent Russian, has always been in dialogue with Putin even though today he condemns it harshly. His political authority has always been beyond questionrecognised throughout the world, and thus your mediation and dialogue skills, you say that she would like to be remembered, with her gains and her mistakes, as a "one who tried".

It was only at the end of her chancellorship, during a meeting with the writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, that Merkel agreed to call herself a feminist. According to Alice Schwarzer, founder of the magazine Emma, lher reluctance to take openly feminist positions was a price to pay for becoming part of a conservative ruling class. which until then had been entirely male: Merkel, Schwarzer concludes, leaves behind a legacy that can be defined as feminist. because so many girls and women consider her an inspiration. To put it this way, Merkel 'tried'. She tried as often as she could to escape the trap of the neutral and not to give up the difference in her female gaze.

For all these reasons, if it is not too late, Angela is in the best position to find those words that could stop the horror of war and help avert the 'deep rupture' that could scar our lives after the Covid catastrophe.

We should all hope for this path.

Marina Terragni

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