A cry for the legions of pariahs in Europe … and in its neighbourhood.
How about the over 160 million EU citizens at risk of exclusion?
How about the 6 million working poor in the UK, about all those working on precarious contracts (let alone looking for work for months or years), after years of study and previous hard work?
How about those who are hopeless about an improvement in their situation and in that of their children, living in rented rooms, unable to afford decent accomodation, confined to the outskirts of the cities or to degraded areas? How about those unable to enjoy even a few days’ holidays per year, exhausted, their minds imprisoned by their financial concerns, trapped in the spiral of survival, at times resignated, at others enraged?
How about all those brutalised by the hard work, by their harsh living conditions, condemned to a life of survival and to non-creative tasks, unable to even think about their lifes and about possible solutions for improving them? For them, the disillusionment about the politicians is added the lack of energy, and of self-confidence, to verbalise their thoughts.
Virginia Woolf already remarked the difference that produced in her two meals at two different colleges in Oxbridge, one a rich, male college, the other a poorer, female college. She observed how her thoughts flew after a good meal, in a beautiful building by a good fire, in pleasant company: thinking is also the privilege of the wealthy, of those who have enough supplies of energies to dream, of those whose quality of life allows them to think positively and creatively.
When access to education, and to the necessary education to have an income allowing for a comfortable life, is becoming a prize for the privileged; when, increasingly, quality healthcare is for those with certain jobs; when acces to justice is dependent on the wealth of those seeking it, when even public transport is limited for those on low income (cf prices of transport in London, and public transport network in Cambridge for instance); when, in an nutshell, Europe is heading towards levels of inequality and social injustice not known in most of Western Europe since WWII, what are the consequences of this? What are the privileged expecting of those who are hopeless?
Isn’t it well enough known that injustice leads to violence? That hopelessness leads to radicalisation?
Will more police suffice to quell the rebellion of those who, for a random event felt as an injustice too many by a certain group, will join them for many different reasons, in a catharsis of maybe generations, as was demonstrated in the UK in the summer of 2011?
It is for the “ever expendable little people of the world” in the words of the late Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe, in Europe and in its neighbourhood; it is for the contemporary “pariahs”, and in order to reflect on the model of European society that we, as European citizens want, that I will try to bring some food for thought through this blog.