The continued controversy surrounding Franco Bifo Berardi’s censored ‘Auschwitz on the Beach’ performance has prompted the Italian philosopher and DiEM25 Advisory Panel member to write the open letter below.
At DiEM25 we believe censorship is the coward’s way out of controversy. Dialogue, fierce disagreement and, hopefully eventual synthesis, is the hard road that true democrats dare to tread.
I read somewhere that in the 1940s, when Paris was occupied by the Germans, a Nazi officer visited Picasso’s studio. “Did you do that?” he is said to have asked Picasso while standing in front of a photograph of the painting “Guernica”. “No,” Picasso replied, “you did.”
In do not want to make a comparison between Picasso and the authors of the (invisible) performance ‘Auschwitz on the Beach.’ Far from it.
Yet, I watch the reactions of large part of the German press (although some of the commentators, like Philipp Ruch of the Suddeutsche are rejecting the prevailing hypocrisy) and I see that they are engaged in a lynching against me and my collaborators because we dared to remind them of a sentence: Nie Wieder Auschwitz.
Reading some of the comments (like those of Jens Jessen of the Zeit) one may think that we have committed a crime against humanity.
No, dear German journalists, crimes against humanity are what you have committed, what the German people have committed, and what you are committing again, together with your Italian and French and Spanish colleagues.
At the August 28th summit of Paris, the European governments are yet again proposing a horrendous show of a mass extermination based on ethnic foundations.
I repeat my choice of word carefully pronouncing the syllables: ex-ter-mi-na-tion.
Officially 30.000 people have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea because of the European rejection, and now the Italian government is denouncing and chasing the NGOs that rescued tens of thousands of women and children and men from death in the water.
Doctors without Borders have abandoned the sea and proclaimed the impossibility of doing their work because of the attitude of the European authorities.
But what is happening in the Sea is only a part of the story: the process of extermination is expanding at the Southern Libyan border, and in the deserts of West Africa.
One million migrants are detained in the concentration camps of Libya (can I use this expression or is it too much for the priggish sensibility of the German journalists?).
In the near future a growing number of migrants will meet the armies of Europe-sponsored Chad, Mali and Libya, countries of unblemished humanitarianism.
This crime against humanity is committed on the basis of ethnic discrimination. Those targeted are not white citizens and do not have the right to migrate, while white citizens can go to Africa as tourists and as businessmen, and if those nations prevent it, we send our troops.
Extermination based on ethnical discrimination: this is what Europe is programming and carrying out.
Can I ask you to remember that once upon a time you said: Nie Wieder Auschwitz, and now you are indignant about someone who is reminding you those words?
Twenty years ago, when the phenomenon of great migration was at its beginning, the European governments should have invested money in reception, education and integration. On the contrary, they invested in reinforcing the Fortress, in rejecting people who were escaping from the effects of our colonialism and of our wars. They have chosen to put social resources into the expansion of financial power and in the rescue of a morally corrupt bank system.
Now we are engaged in a war. In this war, we are going to kill uncountable humans, and the final body count – sooner or later – will be the business of those who will survive.
But this war we will lose, we have already lost. First, because we have renounced democracy, humanity and self-respect. Second, because an army of suicidal avengers is looming on the horizon, from Pyongyang to the Middle East to the suburbs of the European metropolis.
The Nazism of Hitler was defeated, but not before Europe was destroyed. The contemporary mix of racism, nationalism and globalism will be defeated, too, but meanwhile it is going to destroy human dignity from the face of the planet.
In the last days, I have received a flow of message from friends, comrades, artists and intellectuals (many of them are Jews). Some are criticising me because I accepted the cancellation my performance, and say that I have accepted censorship.
Not at all.
Myself, Stefano and Dim did decide to cancel the performance together with the documenta14 directors, because this was the way of getting the maximum attention to our message.
In this case it is not my freedom of expression that is at stake, but the life of millions of women and men that European cynicism is exterminating. Therefore, I willingly renounce to my freedom of speech, if I can call attention on the extermination which is underway.
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