Our eyes these days are focused on two focal points, Athens and Brussels. Almost like a ping-pong match, waiting for the decisive point, we focus first on one side then on the other hand, ignoring all the rest around. Since no one talks about it, news “does not exist”; but from the 1st of July in Spain – amid general indifference – one of the most repressive laws of the entire European system became real, a law which in some way is even more rigid of the ones of the Franco period: the so-called “ley mordaza”, literally “gag law”.
Approved only by the votes of the Popular Party, it uses the lever of the fine to stifle any possibility of freedom of expression. Fines up to 30,000 euro if you protest in front of an institutional site, if you make a picture of a policeman in action, if a demonstration is not stopped whe you are irdered to, if you prevent an eviction. 30,000 euro more if you do not cooperate with the police to identify the demonstrators. Ok to preventive raids and to the establishment of “black list” of dissidents. There is even an obligation to leave the first free row in the shows, to give way to the policemen to position themselves if and when they want and eventually stop the demonstration. Finally, the burden of proof: to activate the procedures just the testimony of the police is sufficient, and the citizen must to prove his or her innocence.
But no one talks about it, distracted as we are by the euro and the ECB. And you do not notice how the world is changing, how nationalisms are back as protagonists in the political life of the various countries, of how the walls are being erected again.
It is not just a matter of consensus that Le Pen or Salvini are obtaining, or of the votes that the same Tsipras won by beating the key of patriotism; what we are facing is far more complex.
England has pulled up barriers to protect the Channel, France has put the police in defense of the rocks of Ventimiglia, Hungary has disavowed Europe and decided to build a wall that will not only be placed along the border with Serbia; with the total length of 175 kilometers (height 4 meters) it will inevitably lead also to cover part of the border with Romania, with all due respect to Schengen.
In fact, Hungary does not violate any regulation or convention with this measure. Budapest in fact noted that in the rest there are examples of similar initiatives on the border between Greece and Turkey or Spain. And right here the Guardia Civil has used the means riot against a group of immigrants trying to reach it by swimming from Morocco: fifteen dead.
Everyone erects his own wall, then, and as often happens, the reality is far away from the principles enshrined in the Treaties.
But let’s go back to the principles of law that nobody mentions: anyone caught drinking alcohol in the street will be punished with a fine up to 600 Euros. It is forbidden to make calls to protests on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. To get a sense of paranoia that inspires it – writes the Spanish journalist Miguel Mora – this law punishes in the same way “the manufacture or trade of weapons” and “events or meetings not communicated.”
All this is happening about ten years after the global economic crisis, triggered in 2007 by the collapse of subprime mortgages in America, a long-term loan that the bank gives to people with low incomes and / or insecure. The crisis, initially only financial became economic. Impossible not to recall the great crisis of ’29, where the deep social inequalities created an unstable economy. Thry stopped exports,the trade was frozen, unemployment became a tangible status. In the international political lives nationalisms were accentuated.
This is what is happening today, more or less with the same timing. Of course, the cultural and economic conditions do not allow to assume current war as a viable solution, and therefore it is improper to hazard a guess that there is a new Hitler around the corner. But also to assume a referendum to say no to Merkel until just a month ago was deemed only science fiction …
Translation provided by Maria Rosaria Mastropaolo