The Comment

Politics absent Morality, Ethics, Ideology and Culture

TORONTO – Our readers will know that these last two weeks the world and this country have been gripped by issues that challenge every pre-conceived notion of what is “wrong” or “right” in our societies”. Those pressures are contesting long-held positions of a free press, as partisans/advocates for one side or the other lay claim to the “High Ground” and, in the process, engage in the demonization of those holding a different viewpoint. Moreover, they are calling into question the very basis for the authority to pass judgements.

The most dramatic of these continues to be the thorny issue of the very existence of Israel and what the world may be prepared to accept to ensure the country’s survival. The Corriere is inundated, daily, with missives fashioned by adversaries on both sides of the Gaza conflict. The arguments were wearing thin until the International Criminal Court decided to hear the Motion by South Africa investigating allegations of genocide by Israel, pronouncing itself on the merits and imposing a ceasefire.

In full disclosure, the Corriere expressed itself unequivocally on the massacre and the butchery of October 7, 2023. I, as the publisher, was a decidedly pro-Israel MP during my years in Parliament. The current Parliament entertains more disparate views. These do not suffer from stances of moderation or practicality.

The vocabulary evokes “perils of Diaspora politics”, a new lexicon of political discourse that diminishes the value of newer Canadians to the development of “collective” nation-building. It is a sanctimonious cover for accusations of hatred motivated political acts (the burning of c. 100 Catholic churches in 2022-23 – apparently uninvestigated) and serves to exploit “moral equivalency” for the purpose of a political outcome… not necessarily debated nor enforceable. It also undermines the impartiality of International Courts as governments, including our own, challenge their legitimacy because the “decisions” are not sufficiently satisfactory to either of the adversarial position.

The mitigation of the primal defensive urge to ensure “peace” by establishing a culture of “an eye for an eye […]” has collapsed.  It also seems now almost in vain to embrace a culture of “just war” and “due process”. The “old voices” do not seem to have the insights needed to come to a “rational meeting point”. Who does?

It does not seem to be the Israeli PM; he who is the “author” of the Iron Dome, the Impenetrable Wall, the “total Militarization” of his population and Leader of a government which dedicates the highest percentage of the country’s annual budget to Defense – bar none. The results speak for themselves. So does the fact that members of the Knesset are calling for a change of government, and the population would appear to agree with them.

Nor would it appear to be the “leaders” of the Gazans – whoever they may be. Are they funded by Qataris, Saudis, Iraqis…? Apologies to those we missed; Israel’s vaunted Intelligence service Mossad made the same mistake. None of them appear “fazed” by the reputed 25,000+ victims of the war so far. Who knows how many thousands are under the rubble of devastation no one seems to be able or willing to clear.

We are all responsible. I want to associate myself and the Corriere with the statements by Pope Francis and President Mattarella – statements we have published and commented – who took inspiration from the lives of St. Francis and Dante Alighieri, famed poet, political philosopher of 800 years ago.

Dante’ s words still echo everywhere: “fatti non fosti per viver come bruti ma […]” “We were not created to live our lives as brutes but to strive for knowledge and improvement” … We are going in the opposite direction.

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