In the memories: 11 September

While in Europe everyone’s eyes are paying attention to Brussels for the composition of the new European Commission, we might lose out of sight that a historical date next week has more to teach us than it being a mandatory memorial and commemoration: 11 September.

In 1973 the military putsch led by Pinochet and his troops, with the consent of the US and the active support of CIA, destituted the Chilean democracy and started a murderous oppressive regime. President Allende had no other choice than to commit suicide in the Presidential Palace of La Moneda. Thousands were imprisoned, tortured or murdered. Those who could escape and survive feel still responsible for their comrades which did not. Chile became the laboratory of neo-liberalism and the dictator translated into policies their disastrous programme of privatization hand-in-hand with the deprivation of civic and social right. Although Chile has returned to an institutional democracy the neo-liberal footprint is still very present, so that the actual reactionary President can build upon it. The society remains divided as in particular the return of the anniversary will demonstrate again next week. For many of us this historical date was a reason for becoming politically engaged.

11 September is also the sad anniversary of the killing of a great Swedish politician, Ann Lindh, Minister of Foreign Affairs who was killed when she was shopping. After Olof Palme it was the second killing of this kind and a shock for progressives and social-democrats worldwide. The hate leading to such action has not vanished in Nordic countries like the Breivik killing underlined. But hatred is always fed by words. This is why the progress of the authoritarian right-wing is so dangerous and frightening. They trigger media to report steadily their populistic and sensationalistic slogans, and become the fire accelerator for their propaganda which in the end encourages individuals and groups to fuel the hate spiral, spinning it out of control. Hate speech ends in hate crime.

The third date is for sure 9/11. The terrorist attack in USA grounds in 2001 managed to destroy more than human lives. All of us remember not only the pictures of the planes diving into the twin towers, we also remember where we were at the moment of witnessing the attack. It has an ongoing geopolitical impact and the political and military answer of the USA and its allies has not really helped to overcome the root causes nor did they promote peacebuilding, which is the only valid solution.

For these dates are certainly moments of remembering, more than just that these dates teach us lessons on which we shall build the future. One is to invest in overcoming the neoliberal doctrines and to continue to fight for inclusive and cohesive societies, to overcome the divide and promote an old progressive paradigm: a better distribution of wealth. Hate has consequences and without fighting its root causes we will again have in history such tragic events, yet again and not only around 11 September.