Since we aren't all brothers, the world is what it is, and in many places at Christmas there isn't much to celebrate. The French Revolution had as its cornerstones Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. The first two words were often used as political slogans, more or less sincere, but it's the third word the most important. Fraternity, or Brotherhood, in fact means understanding that what happens to my brothers also concerns me.
It's hard to think that men can really love each other as brothers. But it would be enough that they were able to intervene in defense of each other for this world to become much better than it is. If there are countries in the world under the yoke of brutal dictatorships that persecute opponents, imprison them and kill them, it affects us. Because dictatorships reinforce each other in finding excuses to trample human rights, and infects with injustice even democracies.
The idea of Fraternity was of course the basic idea of Christianity, and of other major religions.The idea of Brotherhood was in the concept of Marxist class consciousness, and in the idea of the civic conscience of the democratic movements of the 60s. The idea of fraternity is logical and rational, because the only way to save us from an evil is to stop it before it spreads and is strengthened.
If innocent people are killed in prison, it affects us, because tomorrow it could happen to anyone of us. If we live in an unjust economic system that is based in exploitation and fraud, it affects us. If there are unscrupulous profiteers who steal the money of people or pollute and kill, it affects us all. If incinerators are poisoning the air with the waste of all, the problem is not just of the people who live nearby. If nuclear plants are a danger to all and a benefit for the few, it affects us. If the perpetrators of terrible disasters are not punished, it affects us. If a political party of one man, tries to monopolize the information with just his truth, it affects us all. If a journalist is threatened or killed, it affects us all. If the mafia kill and forcibly occupied the cities in which we live, it affects us. If innocent people who live in our country are being persecuted and imprisoned for what they are and not for what they've done, it affects us because tomorrow it could happen to any of us. Everything that happens in our country, and even the world, concern us. Because we do not live in another country, or in another world, but in this one.
If the world is going to be destroyed by a small elite of businessmen who think only to their own gain, it affects us all. And if a distant part of the world is affected by climate disasters that is not an insignificant event for us. It's a warning.
Instead we act as in a trout nursery, with the illusion that evil will not touch us and everything will be fine, imprisoned in a little imaginary world of televisions that we believe separate from the outside world, whereas it is a part of it.
In the world there are many people with social conscience, who understand that we must protest and revolt to prevent evil to win. But still they aren't enough. If all men were capable of understanding that we are all brothers the world would indeed be a better place and injustices could not be done with impunity. There are men in the world who take advantage of divisions, fears and self-interest to gain power and wealth. But if all men were awake and able to react to evil, the Power would not dare to trample them. For this reason Martin Luther King said: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
We continue as always to divide and kill ourselves and destroy and pollute our planet, our home, because many men think they can gain freedom at the expense of others, and that it is better to be superior than equal. But selfishness is precisely the interest of one and cannot be the interest of many. And when there is no fraternity are easily lost equality and freedom, too.
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