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One of the misfortunes of our country is that we haven’t had any enemies in the last 60 years.

It would seem a slogan, a shock phrase propagated by some populist stage in search of consensus during the election campaign, one of those outputs grab like from which then take distances with the usual “I was misinterpreted” or “out of context any sentence can be demonized” and instead is the tragic reflection with which opens an essay composed of one of the most famous Italian philosophers and writers, extrapolated (precisely!) from his “Building the enemy”, published in 2011.

I tried to think about it, imagining I could ask Umberto Eco, who died several years ago: “Do you really say or are you just thinking of running for the next election? Because in the second case I understand eh, so fans all.”

As a staid historian he would probably have answered me:

“You see, the Romans already postulated that to have peace you had to prepare for war.”

Well, touché but how to say, were other times.

Or not?

Plinio condemns Christians to death practically without charge, but refusing to sacrifice to the emperor establishes their diversity, Tacito says of the Jews who are strange because they do not eat pork, do not leaven bread and marry each other, black is ugly and bad because from Greece onwards “beautiful is also good”, according to the British the French are not that eat frogs, as for Americans we are the usual spaghetti eaters, Trump (the only president not to have participated in conflicts outside their own borders) has brought the USA to the brink of the Second Civil War, not to mention the pandemic just passed: from all united against the virus of Covid to campaigns against the vaccine for the virus of Covid!!

After all, the Opponent is one of many names used to talk about the devil without ever mentioning him…

Is it possible that a group must elect one or more enemies outside its borders in order to recognize itself as such? It would be a question not only of identifying an enemy and fighting it, but of inventing and building it from scratch, in order to maintain cohesion identity and social status..

The enemy par excellence is therefore the stranger, the different from us (but we who then?) but it is not his menace to make it different, rather it is the opposite!!

Maybe, but for me the foreigner, what is humanly alien to me, is who abandons a mutilated boy because he is not registered with the social security, who from 75 stabbed his girlfriend, who kills a peer and then goes to the beach to sunbathe, And just when the great ideals of the ‘900 fell it seemed that the world could open up, peoples and societies confront each other rather than oppose each other, here we are: wars moved by dictators and fought by children, emblem of the persecution aimed at annihilation that attempt to annihilate another, Europe designed and represented geographically on the world map as the center of the world that finds itself rather crushed among the great of the world, the fine thought of his greatest psychopathologists reduced to boring opinion.

But can we really not do without having an enemy to define our identity, to have an obstacle with which to measure our system of values, showing in facing it all its value?

Are we really condemned and torn between the drive that moves us to change, to the future and to the encounter with the new (research, knowledge, desire, etc.) and the convenience that keeps us from the present thus leaving us in the past?

I can’t say, but maybe there is one, which besides an adverb could also be good news:

It is not the right or the nationalism always looking for the enemy to put democracy at risk, rather the opposite, it is the crisis of democracy and political participation to fuel certain drifts because one thing is to vote and delegate representation, Another is to abdicate your vote and your thought!

It may be that the Olympics are about to begin but I have to say that the important thing is… to participate!

Who knows, maybe the images of the guys from all over the world who compete in the race, in the jump, in the fight and throwing weights instead of unloading on rockets and magazines will help.

After all, children don’t make war because they still know how to play war..

As Paola Cortellesi says in her wonderful film then courage.. there is still tomorrow!

Marco Randisi


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Credits by: Nishant Das