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For more than 50 days we have heard daily about bombing, shooting, refugees, threats, negotiating tables, destruction and fear. On this blog there has been a succession of articles, comments, letters very intelligent and deep in which we have wondered about why such incomprehensible acts. We wondered what was so new and emerging that it had to be so bloody suffocated.

There is still much to understand. I have to say that sometimes the news, the debates between experts on diplomatic strategies or tactics of war overwhelm us and we are overwhelmed because decoding in rational terms, and so in political or economic terms what is so incomprehensible and frightening seems seemingly easier.

We hear stories of refugees fleeing the war, stories of local or international solidarity. I am reminded of the strollers left in the stations of Poland to help women to bring their children to safety.

I am reminded of the video of Russian soldiers, very young and naive, surrendering to the Ukrainian people who are receiving them peacefully.

And then the news and images of the brutality of war. And the mutual accusations of being responsible for such atrocities.

Like any war, this one plays with communication in fact.

Of all that is said about the war, I was struck, for an apparent lightness and banality in the face of the ferocity of the historical moment, all the movement of damnatio memoriae respect the Russian culture and art. Movement in reciprocal reality because it happens in Russia also against the Ukrainian culture.

At first I admit that I thought it was nonsense, an attempt to make news and to be foolishly “politically correct”.

But then the news of university lectures, conductors, concerts, ballets, exhibitions and museums banned have multiplied and I have tried to understand the meaning of a similar controversy.

I also tried to understand how this war on culture made me feel.

Surely Tchaikovsky with his forbidden Swan Lake is not the new thought we talked about. Tchaikovsky and Dostoyevsky are something else. It is no coincidence that the most well-known quote of the latter author is “beauty will save the world”. A really strong, optimistic, fearless proposition. And who but an artist could declare such a thing?

o I thought the problem was freedom and the power of art being under attack.

But maybe something else… Perhaps it is precisely the highest expression of humanity, creativity and again that is embodied by the work of artists to be silenced. Forgetting that in this war we are all human, aggressors and assaulted, perhaps it is convenient to someone, becomes an instrument of war and demagogic strategy.

What better way to fight each other than to take out the humanity of which every people and every culture are carriers?

It may seem like a small, innocent thing to pick on poets when someone takes it out on the kids and kills them.

But the central point of all violence is to deny that the other is a human being like us.

Then this controversy that has banned the works of many artists is more dangerous than it may seem.

Resisting the war perhaps also passes for small (big) things like this, for small resistances against those who want us to forget that beauty will save the world!

Maria Giubettini


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