Good afternoon. We just uploaded our new podcast “The concept of Evil part I” , which is now Live. For the past years we have been debating if Evil does exist after we learn, sadly yet again , of another senseless act of violence in either the public and privates spaces. Our son Gian Luca wrote a great section titled “Media and Violence” in our book Emotional Frustration- the Hushed Plague.
The barbaric Russian invasion of Ukraine has shown us images of a terrible slaughter of innocentwomen, children and the elderly in Ukrainian villages and cities, something that had not been seen in Europe since the Nazi atrocities in World War II against the inhabitants of their occupied territories. How can this raw scourge of Antiquity have befallen on the Ukrainian Nation in our times, the supposedly connected and enlightened 21st century?
We must urgently re-visit the concept of Evil because it has been used off-handedly too many times to camouflage our ignorance of what were the motives of the perpetrators of these vile acts. We will divide our exposé, separating the classic concepts of Evil from the more modern ones. We used as reference the great essay The concept of Evil from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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Good morning. Yesterday we watched in sheer horror the CNN reportageof the indiscriminate shelling of a Children’s and Maternity Hospital by the Russian invading forces in the besieged city of Mariupol; seeing the pregnant women laboriously make their way out of the rubble sickened us. A few days ago we saw how a mother with her two young children were killed while trying to cross over a bridge in the Kiev’s suburb of Irpin, together with a young volunteer; today an article in The NewYork Times put faces and history to that dramatic moment. Tetiana Peribyinis, 43 years old, was a cheerful accountant working for a global software company, who was trying to dash across the bridge with her daughter Alisa,9 years old, and her son Mykyta,18 years old, with the help of Mr. Berezhnyis, a church volunteer; just a few meters ahead of them, a shell exploded killing them all.
How can we remain silent facing this blatant Crime of War that should be punished by a court? How can we accept that in the 21st century there is a big army that disregards civilians completely?
These atrocities remind us of the savage bombardment of Guernica, the ancient capital of theBasque Homeland, by the Luftwaffe in 1936, which prodded Pablo Picasso to render all that unimaginable horror in the homonymous tableau, now at the Museo Reina Sofía of Madrid. for the Republican Pavilion of Paris in 1937. Pablo Picasso never fully explained the disquieting images of this cubist representation of a tragic day when almost a third of the population was massacred; he preferred viewers to get their own impressions and not receive any outside political influencing.
Note. This reproduction of Pablo Picasso’s Guernica was taken from Wikimedia Commons.
Good morning. We have been horrified by the criminal bombardment of a nuclearreactor in Ukraine by the invading Russians, which could have triggered a nuclear catastrophe threatening all of us. Moreover, the infamous Foreign Affairs Minister of the Russian Federation argued that the Third World War III could be nuclear and involve all of Mankind. How irresponsibly can politicians become?
Watching and hearing all these barbaric acts should make all the decent citizens react in earnest. We, the intellectuals, should not play dumb and we must join the democratic forces of the World. We must speak loud and clear, without any fallaciously pharisaic “middle ground stances” that camouflage the issue in this war: the shameful Russian grab of land by force against a neighbor.
Our dear Father Mario always emphasized to us that the intelligentsia of any modern society had the duty to speak out against abuse of innocent people and the onslaught of authoritarianism. He narrated to us many instances of the Spanish Civil War, which was the tragic preamble of the triumph of Fascism in European societies. One of his favorite anecdotes was the face-off between Miguel de Unamuno , a college professor, and Millán Astray, the ferocious Legion’s commander.
Note. This image of Miguel de Unamuno was taken form Wikimedia Images.
Miguel de Unamuno was born on September 29, 1864 in Bilbao, Basque Country, and passed away on December 31, 1939, in Salamanca, Spain. He was an essayist, novelist, poet, playwright, philosopher, professor of Greek language and the Classics, and President of Salamanca University. On October 12, 1936, barely three months after the Spanish Civil War had started, there was a celebration of Columbus day in the amphitheater of the University of Salamanca with the assistance of the city Archbishop, Carmen Polo, Franco’s wife, José Millán-Astray, founder and first commander of the Spanish Legion, and Miguel de Unamuno himself. In the middle of the ceremony, someone form the public assisting it shouted Viva la Muerte (Up with Death) which was the Legion’s motto.
Millán-Astray retorted España and they replied Una (only one) Millán-Astray upped the ante by repeating España which was followed by Grande (big) Finally Millán-Astray said for a last time España, which was echoed by a Libre (free) Image the consternation of the public present with this display of raw machismo and disdain for the intellectual principles of democratic co-existence.
Miguel de Unamuno slowly rose up and addressed the crowd from his Presidency’s lectern:
“You are waiting for my words. You know me well and you knw that I cannot remain silent for long. Sometimes to remain silent is to lie, since silence can be interpreted as assent…But now I have heard this insensitive and necrophilous oath: Viva la Muerte and I, having spent my life writing paradoxes that have provoked the ire of those who do not understand what I have written, and being an expert in this matter, find this ridiculous paradox repellent. General Millán-Astray’s a cripple…So was Cervantes. But unfortunately Spain today has too many cripples. And if God does not help us, so it will have many more. It torments me to think that General Millán-Astray will dictate the norms of the psychology of the masses.”
We are now witnessing the barbaric invasion of Ukraine, a pacific country who had given up its arsenal of nuclear arms when the Soviet Union dissolved, by the aggressive Russian Regime.
All the honest intellectuals must speak out against the barbarians, like Miguel de Unamuno did.
Good morning. At this precise moment the Ukrainian servicemen and citizens’ militiamen and militiawomen are tenaciously fighting in the streets of Kiev and other major cities to fend off the brutal invasion of a free country by the Russian forces. They are fighting for their right to chose how they manage their country with democratic institutions and accountability under the law. The major ideological division in the planet now is not between the Right and the Left sides of the political spectrum, as it used to be when were political militants in Montevideo, Uruguay, fifty years ago. It is between countries with functioning democracies and those with autocratic regimes like Russia.
We have always being very reluctant to discuss Politics in our space. But this is very different. The very concept of our Western Democratic societies is at risk if we let these barbarians win this war. The Russian regime, in a throwback to the 18th century, decided to grab the land of a neighbor.
Note. This poster of the Spanish Civil War was taken from Wikimedia Commons.
In the Spanish Civil War, all the political parties represented in the Quinta República, which paradoxically included the Stalinist Communist Party too, resisted fiercely against the Fascist invaders. One of the most beautiful songs of this epic resistance was “Si me quieres escribir, ya sabes mi paradero”, (if you want to write to me, you already know my whereabouts) we sang with all our fellow Badass fellow student militants in the barricades of Montevideo in the 1970s, We recently discovered a great interpretation of Marta Valero and the Quartet Brossa. Here is the link.
No matter how powerful the Russian military machine is, they will not break the Ukrainians’ spirit.
Sadly, just as we were finally leaving the horrors of this two years pandemic, we now have a barbaric war of attrition reminiscent of the Middle Ages in the very heart of Europe. Ukraine is Europe.
In Europe there are four or five nationalities that just LOVE TO FIGHT and Ukrainians are one of them. Even if the Russian war machine defeats their military and occupy their cities, thousands of Ukrainians will pass into clandestine mode to join a long guerrilla war against the occupiers. In the middle of Ukraine are the Southern Steppes that the czars gave the Cossacks to settle down in gratitude for their services. The name Cossack comes from the Turkic kazak which means “free man.” Does anyone doubt that the Cossacks will defend their homeland until the last drop of blood?
Moreover, the Foreign Secretary of Britainjust announced that the UK government will support any Britons that want to join the fight in Ukraine. That is precisely how the International Brigades started to assemble in 1936 to defend the Spanish Republic against the Fascists, a great heroic saga. None other than Ernest Hemingway extolled their bravery in his epic novel For Whom the Bells Toll.
HAIL TO THE DEMOCRATIC FIGHTERS OF UKRAINE STANDING UP TO THESE BARBARIANS.
TOSS MOLOTOV COCKTAILS IN A LONG CURVE UNTIL THEY LAND ON INVADERS’ ARMOR.
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Good morning. For all those that do not live in the USA or people like myself that are not that quite acquainted with the tastes of so-called Middle America, the raging controversy over the scandalous posts of Joe Rogan, a former TV presenter and now podcaster, in Spotify was a little puzzling. Let me tell you that Rogan has a popular podcast shared to millions of Americans where he openly criticizes the government, the vaccination campaigns and where he apparently uttered racist epithets. Please be aware that we do not know all the circumstances and we only relay what we see on TV. Please check the headlines in the respected newspapers and TV outlets for more information.
Putting the specific situation of Mr. Rogan aside, we must emphatically condemn, as a Minority member within a larger Minority group, any Racist Wording in the public and private media. We must remind our readers that I am a French-speaking Italian-American that was born and raised inSouth America and then has been living as a U.S, citizen for forty years. More mixed than this?
We also discuss the abject complicity of many actors and producers in the Entertainment Industry that put that heinous words in the mouths of Black and Hispanic dudes posing as “cool to they younger guys.” If some young boys and teenagers insolently keep repeating that disgusting word is because they lack proper civic instruction at home and schools of how to co-exist in social harmony.
Please listen to our new podcast at anchor.fm/dr-mario-o-laplume and if you have any suggestions and commentaries send us a message to our electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org
As in our new book Emotional Frustration – the Hushed Plague, we discuss the consequences in our lives of this long SARS – CoV2 pandemic and its associated Social Isolation, which has imploded all the traditional socio-economic parameters of the whole planet. Aren’t we all fed up with all this?
In this podcast we discuss how the daily worries about our personal safety, including our family’s and the news of the recurring spikes of infection around the globe has somewhat eroded the sharp edges of the word Death and, if not becoming comfortable with that concept, we are inured to it.
Trying to emulate Hannah Harendt, who famously coined the provocative term of Banality of Evil after watching the trial of the Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann in Israel, we are proposing that we are tragically surviving immersed in the Banality of Death, which has anesthetized our senses to the ongoing decimation. Adolph Eichmann organized the infamous train convoys from the Polish ghettos to the Auschwitz concentration camps and his figure and pleas for mercy in a Tel Aviv courtroom in 1962 tried to mendaciously convey the image of being just a Third Reich logistics engineer that was making sure trains ran on time. There was a sick commonality in his histrionics.
Note. This reproduction of a 1942 image of Adolph Eichmann in Nazi uniform was taken from Wikimedia Commons.
Can’t you see that in that picture his oversize military cap makes him look like a tragic clown? Did you notice the Totenkopf (skull and crossed bones) insignia in the middle of it? Defiance of Death. That mischievous smirk meticulously supervised the transfer of millions of innocent Jews, Gypsies, Gays Intellectuals, Political activists, etc. to their final inexorable demise in the burning ovens. Until it was swiftly erased from his face by the hangman’s noose in a Tel Aviv prison. Justice was served.
We hope you will like our talk, we hope it will spark some badly needed discussions of the pitiful dearth of empathy in society and, if you have any ideas or suggestions, please send us a message at: