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For the other articles see > SPECIAL ARCHIVE UKRAINE

It has been 6 months now that the Russ­ian regime has invad­ed its Ukrain­ian neigh­bour, and 8 years since it launched a war of annex­a­tion against Ukrain­ian ter­ri­to­ries, begin­ning with Crimea and a part of Donbass.

Even if maps redraw the bor­ders in each his­tor­i­cal peri­od where wars occur; even if these wars or instal­la­tion of total­i­tar­i­an regimes orga­nize the depor­ta­tion of peo­ples, nonethe­less, the iden­ti­ties of those pop­u­la­tions who  estab­lished com­mon cul­tures and lan­guages, fed by exchanges, remain embed­ded in these lands and their geography.

The Mid­dle-East is an obvi­ous illus­tra­tion of this phe­nom­e­non, beyond the Empires and colo­nial pow­ers that dom­i­nat­ed, pil­laged, shared and remod­elled it. Why the Kurds, the Per­sians, the Assyr­i­ans, the Turk­mens, the Arabs, for exam­ple …? And if one looks clos­er still, the pres­ence of oth­er   peo­ples whose names and cul­tures they assim­i­lat­ed, which were trans­mit­ted nonethe­less and whose ves­tiges have reached us. Par­tic­u­lar­i­ties only? No. Human history.

Pass­ing judge­ment after the fact and cen­turies lat­er is out of the ques­tion, as to who were the most legit­i­mate to exer­cise their dom­i­na­tion through war, through con­quest or by wip­ing out the very peo­ple liv­ing and co-exist­ing peace­ful­ly in social exchanges. But although humans have worked at devis­ing Nations, these peace­ful har­bors are pre­car­i­ous on this plan­et, and polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed. As soon as wars jus­ti­fied by eco­nom­ic or land require­ments flare up again, buried iden­ti­ties serve as fuel, no mat­ter what their exis­ten­tial legit­i­ma­cy may be, out­side of these con­sid­er­a­tions. And, usu­al­ly, the source of the war itself is moti­vat­ed by iden­ti­ty erect­ed into a polit­i­cal sys­tem born of rewrit­ings of his­to­ry from which all notions of a mosa­ic of peo­ples have been erased. This is with­out even men­tion­ing the First Nations. Such is the case where Tur­kic­i­ty is con­cerned, con­sol­i­dat­ed and exalt­ed through geno­cide, erect­ed into an indi­vis­i­ble repub­lic, exac­er­bat­ed by nation­al­ism, itself born of the col­lapse of an Empire brought down by others.

Cur­rent­ly and in the com­ing years, we are in the cen­ten­ni­al of these “treaties” that remod­elled the Mid­dle East in the first half of the 20th cen­tu­ry, through dint of the strength of the West­ern vic­tors and, some­times, with the use of phys­i­cal rulers applied to maps. One exam­ple of the gap­ing wounds left unhealed through­out his­to­ry is the four-way shar­ing effect­ed by the Lau­sanne treaty with the attri­bu­tion of each one of these geo­graph­i­cal and pop­u­la­tion shares of Kur­dis­tan, thus des­ig­nat­ed by its major­i­ty pop­u­la­tion (to Iran, Turkey, Irak, Syr­ia), the dec­la­ra­tion of the Turk­ish Repub­lic in 1923. Here,   the fate of Peo­ples was sealed in blood spilled and yet more to be spilled in the future.

More recent­ly, at the end of the 90s, the agree­ment imposed to end the war in ex-Yugoslavia, this time on the basis of an “eth­nic” divi­sion, in an ultra-nation­al­is­tic con­text, bequeathed a war zone to Europe, one nev­er extin­guished and always ready to flare up again.

This detour through the Mid­dle-East — which I could just as well have done it through Chili, Argenti­na or Brazil with char­ac­ter­is­tics also based on geno­cides, col­o­niza­tion and pil­lag­ing, still ongo­ing nowa­days under more “mod­ern and civ­i­lized” forms — this detour can serve as a reminder that, expe­ri­enced on the scale of a life­time, the emo­tions and com­mit­ments aris­ing from his­to­ry, may appear laugh­able. Emo­tions need his­to­ry for mean­ing, and in order to make attempts at understanding.

Must I add that this out­look applied to the Ori­ent and to Chi­na would lead to the same obser­va­tions. Human his­to­ry knows no bor­ders, it cre­ates them, tears them apart, builds them up into pris­ons or walls and, para­dox­i­cal­ly today, this still occurs even in a glob­al­ized cap­i­tal­ist world. Nation­al­ist indraw­ing pros­pers in this world-wide finan­cial cap­i­tal­ism and “fascis­tic-lean­ing” ori­en­ta­tions have nev­er bet­ter accom­mo­dat­ed them­selves of this eco­nom­ic lib­er­al­ism, to the point of using it as a rampart.

Thus is it com­pli­cat­ed for a lib­er­tar­i­an to acknowl­edge the exis­tence of “a Ukrain­ian sense of being”, even more so if it trans­lates into “a feel­ing of nation­al belong­ing” invoked in this Russ­ian aggres­sion. Does it rise up out of com­mon his­to­ry of a Peo­ple, or is it sim­ply a polit­i­cal con­struct jus­ti­fy­ing pow­er objectives?

Thus, a first ques­tion flow­ing from my long detour, one that does not oblit­er­ate in any way what I devel­oped in pre­vi­ous arti­cles, in a refusal of camp­ism and sup­port for the Ukrain­ian Peo­ple in the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion of an aggres­sion of which they are the vic­tims.   The sec­ond will be on mat­ters of ter­ri­to­ries and on why con­di­tions are not present for  the “nego­ti­a­tion” of a durable peace in the short term, notwith­stand­ing the var­i­ous forms of abdi­ca­tion pure and sim­ple of Ukraine in front of the Russ­ian regime, as sug­gest­ed under dif­fer­ent guis­es. The last will be about Nation-States, father of all mur­ders among friends.

Three ques­tions on a back­ground of news where war and threats in Europe com­bine with cli­mac­tic emer­gen­cies and the approach of a nth cri­sis in capitalism.

To be continued..

Vladimir  – You want to be rid of him?
Poz­zo – Note that I could have been in his place and he in mine. If chance had not inter­vened. To each his due.
Vladimir – You want to be rid of him?
Poz­zo – What did you say?
Vladimir – You want to be rid of him?
Pozzo – Indeed. But instead of chas­ing him away, as I could have done, I mean, instead of sim­ply throw­ing him out with kicks in the ass, I take him, such is my kind­ness, to the mar­ket of the Holy Sav­ior, where I expect to get some­thing in exchange. If truth be told, chas­ing aways such beings is impos­si­ble. The right thing to do is to kill them.

Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot, Act 1.
For the other articles see > SPECIAL ARCHIVE UKRAINE

Translation from French by Renée Lucie Bourges

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Daniel Fleury
Let­tres mod­ernes à l’Université de Tours. Gros mots poli­tiques… Coups d’oeil politiques…