The adventure of publishing a magazine is born out of the necessity to break down the borders during this period of confinement by utilizing our souvenirs and our imagination. Indeed, if our governments can prevent us from leaving our homes, they still did not find a solution to prevent us from utilising our memory and our internal freedom.
The pictures of these ladies were just a trick used to trigger our emotions and free our imagination. They are freeing us from the limits put upon us.
I do not speak only about national borders that have been closed so suddenly, separating families, employees from their employers and lovers from their loved ones. I speak about barriers that have been built between human beings, frontiers between you and me, you my potential enemy. These barriers had disappeared for decades, at least in our regions. They reappeared very promptly. This sudden resurgence allows us to understand in our skin the feelings and emotions that others, the small, the colored, the large, the tall are subjected to in their daily lives. I just cannot forget the look or these hikers in the forest who where even afraid of looking at me, disappearing into the forest to keep away from me.
Fortress Europe has been transformed in a few days into national fortresses. Loud calls for repatriation have been heard, so loud that I was wondering if being Swiss but having lived in Austria for more than 20 years now, I should go back to my home country, fearing that I was not welcome any longer. By chance, I was not easily identifiable. The situation would have been different if I had been Chinese or spoken Italian.
Politics is back. Is it a general repetition or will they go back into their closet once the epidemy question is solved? I would argue that politics is back and will stay. The politicians have understood that they have a unique opportunity to use their power again, that the international institutions have been dealt a deadly blow, that the large companies are in need of financing and thus easier to control. The return of the national was already well under way. The crisis will just consolidate the tendency. You can understand the frustration of the politicians. In 2010, they have been asked to rescue the capitalistic worlds from its dismissal by saving so-called too large to fail companies. They have got nothing in exchange from the arrogant managers that thought they were running the world. Six weeks of crisis and theses captains are desperate. They urgently need money to save their empires. Two months ago, the same captains were asking the state to reduce the taxes and give more power to them. Colossus with feet or clay. This time politics again will support them, but the bill will be expensive and long lasting. Politics has got back the taste of power and, frustrated by the past 30 years, by the globalization movement will not let back, at least not so easily. They have experienced during the past few days that they can control us completely, that they can eliminate our freedom. What for and how?
In the past few months, I have been thinking about the concept of freedom and the risks that freedom is submitted to. I have come to the conclusion, having read the book of Shoshana Zuboff, “ the Age of Surveillance Capitalism”, that we more and more live in a world where dying is seen as a risk not worth taking, in a world in which you, we, are ready to sell our freedom in exchange for eternity or a potential longer life at least. Many companies have understood it and are selling us application for making it come true. In exchange, we sell them our data and control on our lives.
I have come to the conclusion that this tendency will not only be used by companies, but, even more dangerously, by the State to control the citizen, standardize them. Indeed, if you do not respect the standards, you become a risk to me and to society. So, as we could experience during this epidemy, social pressure and the suppression of freedom is acceptable if in the name of survival. We have laughed, me included, at the poor Chinese that were put under drastic control by the State. The same happened to us a few weeks later and nobody reacted.
Politics will prevail. They have just tested the weapon and they have discovered the argument that will give them the support of their electorate. “We protect you for your own good, so that you are not dangerous to your neighbors”. This has of course always been the case for speed limits on the highway and other laws that are controlling society. This time, we may well suffer from much more dramatic consequences. Ask yourself. Are you ready to exchange freedom for eternity?
I leave you with this question and thank you very much for having supported this initiative.
To conclude, I would like to mention the excellent book of my friend Nicolas Komninos that wrote about the coronavirus epidemy before it happened. It reads like a journalistic report.
This was a beautiful adventure, let us keep fighting.