Life often places human beings before moments that portray their moral character. Among the multiple circumstances of this type, the category of those in which, in the face of unjust, immoral or even criminal acts, stands out who steps forward to oppose and who – out of indifference, pusillanimity or stark profiteering calculation – remains inactive , endorsing the fact in question with silent consent. Europe, it seems, is facing three major moments of these characteristics.
The most serious is the specter of a new Russian military aggression in Ukraine after those that occurred in 2014. The meeting held yesterday in Geneva between the foreign representatives of the United States and Russia keeps hope alive for a diplomatic solution. But, make no mistake, it is very fragile. And all the way, even without violence, is plagued by difficult decisions that require integrity, because they can involve sacrifices. There are many doubts in Europe about how to respond to Putin’s challenge. The reaction in 2014 was not particularly vigorous. History will judge very severely possible symptoms of indifference, pusillanimity or profiteering calculation of Western leaders.
Less dramatic, but still relevant, is the scandal involving British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. We are faced with an embarrassing accumulation of evidence of parties held in Downing Street – with the presence of Johnson – and in other government areas in violation of the painful restrictions that the prominent participant imposed on millions of citizens. The episode will measure the size of the swallows of the deputies of the Conservative Party. For now, only a small group has demanded the resignation of the prime minister. The entire case is surrounded by a complex web of political interests, for which even asking for resignation may respond to an electoral calculation rather than a moral instinct. What does seem quite clear, however, is that doing nothing smacks of indifference, timidity or opportunism.
Italy faces another defining moment with the candidacy of Silvio Berlusconi for the presidency of the Republic. His record is notorious: from the firm conviction for tax fraud, to a cluster of shady cases that were not concluded due to prescription and/or political maneuvers, the bunga bunga parties and an outrageous attitude towards women, among many other issues. Despite this, the leaders of various parties consider him suitable for the highest office in the country, especially identified in Italy with high moral values, well embodied by so many presidents, such as Mattarella, Napolitano, Ciampi or Pertini. As of Monday, the parliamentary election process begins. The thousand deputies, senators and representatives of the regions with the right to vote will be judged for their indifference, or not, before the prospect of submitting such a curriculum to that magistracy.
The issue is as old as the emergence of the consciousness of free will, perhaps the most defining feature of the human being. Not only the action of the protagonists matters, but also the reaction of the comprimarios and the assistants. Often, things in life are murky, there is room for discussion in assessing the justice, morality, legality of a fact; sometimes an inaction is justified by a value just as worthy as that which would motivate the reaction. However, there are circumstances in which there is little doubt. In those one is portrayed. The stains – both the terrible ones and the small ones – remain. There must not be many who are lucky enough not to catch a glimpse of one in the mirror.
Certain errors have no solution, but it is possible to apologize, compensate. Above all, it is possible to learn from them. Life is as cruel as it is generous, and it will offer another opportunity to, this time, throw indifference and pusillanimity down the drain. It may not amount to a redemption, but it will change the portrait – and the world – at least a little.
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