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israel-hamas war
Columns
Opinion articles written in the style of their author. These texts are to be based on verified facts and must be respectful towards people, even though their actions may be criticized. All opinion articles written by individuals from outside the staff of EL PAÍS shall feature, along with the author’s name (regardless of their greater or lesser renown), a footer stating their office, academic title, political affiliation (if any) and main occupation, or the occupation related to the topic being assessed

Gaza: And then the fear

The mass exodus of the migrant population and the exponential rise in the threat of terrorism are behind the triumph of the most reactionary political proposals the West has seen since the rise of Nazism

Israel-Hamas War
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a cabinet meeting at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem, Israel, on Sunday.RONEN ZVULUN / POOL (EFE)
David Trueba

Nowadays, everything can be easily passed off as what it is not, as there has been a profound breakdown of convictions. Perhaps this has its advantages, since indisputable dogmas can implode from within. But it can also lead to distortion, the same kind seen in the paranoid or the heavily stimulated.

In a world where we can watch a three-hour story about the creator of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and not see the slightest bit of damage that it caused to the innocent population of Japan, the power of perspective should come as no surprise. It is precisely this break with the dominant way of seeing that is causing the most exciting rereadings of the moment. What we saw from one point of view, we are now seeing from another.

In this way, it’s not surprising at all that the same movie industry that catapulted the legend of the American West and the strength of pioneers is now rewriting those very stories from the perspective of Native Americans. It is about completing the puzzle for possible justice, which greatly upsets some, as they do not want anyone to change their childhood landscape, the territory of their egomania.

Only this love for a horrendous yet welcoming landscape can justify why some politicians are trying to pass off the mass bombing of Gaza as a proportionate and fair act of defense. It would be good if they could clarify the reason why thousands of Palestinian children and women do not deserve their compassion. To say that terrorists use them as human shields is nothing short of denying them the right to exist. They literally have nowhere to go to escape a carnage that does not even respect hospitals. Of course the kidnapping and murder of innocent Israelis in the October 7 massacre is abhorrent, but turning it into an opportunity to destroy all human restraint is unthinkable. Or is it? It’s curious that some of the staunchest defenders of Netanyahu’s doctrine were also behind the catastrophic invasion of Iraq, carried out on the false accusations that the country had weapons of mass destruction. That geopolitical disaster, from which we are still recovering, triggered two issues that are once again taking center stage: the massive exodus of the migrant population and the exponential increase in the threat of terrorism.

No one is unaware that these two issues are the electoral ammunition behind the triumph of the most reactionary political proposals that the West has seen since the rise of Nazism. The uncontrolled migratory flow and the threat of terrorism are two fears that have been introduced into the personal agenda of citizens who enjoy democratic systems. They are the two uncontrollable pieces in countries that self-impose guarantees and limitations by curbing civil rights. The freedom gained is at odds with citizen panic. Creating and establishing it as a new social landscape leads voters to move towards Messianic authoritarianism. That’s the dilemma we find ourselves in today. Don’t believe there is anything innocent about the efforts to encourage these two fears. It wins a lot of votes. Netanyahu, whose political program consisted of stripping power from oversight courts, knows this well, as do his allies in Western democracies. They are working overtime to stoke our fears.

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