2 min read

civil war

civil war

Why is it so easy to revert to hatred and fear?

And ultimately, to murder.

In 1936, political extremes on the left and right increased their power by manipulating fearful images of their enemies using print, radio, and newsreels.

In the bestselling book "The Battle For Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939" Antony Beevor introduces the meticulous reporting of his book with a strange and to me, frightening, bite of pretzel logic. "But would a victory of the left in say 1937 or 1938 have led to a comparable scale of executions and imprisonments as under Franco?" He concludes the introduction "... moral judgments should be left to the individual reader."

Amazing way to start a history, by finding equivalency in an imagined proposition. Why did he feel the need to do that? I think he wrote that because civil war is an illness that is latent in all of us including those that helped Beevor write his book and gather his material.

Lies of hatred and division are an infection spreading through our civilizations right now using traditional media and the new tools of internet advertising and social media. It is okay to lie in political adverts on Facebook they have told us. They can't check everything.

When facts are dismissed and lies baldly trumpeted - words walk us closer to very real violence that permanently damages all of us. Victims and Perpetrators alike. Look to Spain. They are still reeling from their national nightmare.

It may seem trivial to note this, but I believe it is important. Beevor reports that "Julian Marias, a disciple of the philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset, never forgot the hatred in the expression of a tram-driver at a stop as he watched a beautiful and well-dressed young woman step down onto the pavement."

Painting by Konstantin Razumov

The tram-driver saw only entitlement and class righteousness. Marias saw a moment of beauty on a tram. This is what we are allowing to happen to us.

Yes, we must stand up to fascists and bullies. And somehow, we have to do it without polluting ourselves. When we hate and fear, we die to beauty.


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