viernes, 20 de octubre de 2017

The neutrals

The neutrals never take sides. They believe in peace and are convinced that in any given conflict both parties share the blame. If A attacks B, to a certain extent B must have given A a reason. After all, weren't we all born peace loving creatures? Very often neutrals carry with them an unpleasant memory of when they did take sides and it turned out they had it all wrong. This has haunted them sufficiently to never want to be supportive in any struggle again. Neutrals abhor physical violence. They prefer the state to have a monopoly on violence, even if this is used to squash the innocent domestically as well as abroad. As they see it, nobody is ever absolutely innocent, so some incentive must have been given to the state apparatus to order crackdown. Not that they support state violence, hell no, they are neutral, they will just never support the underling.

Neutrals usually have no personal motives to make choices. They are not rich enough to have vested interests in a preferred outcome, nor are they so poor and destitute that they feel the need to rise up to protect whatever glimmer of a future they still believe in. In modern society, neutrals often occupy office jobs. If the company or government organisation they work for gets engaged in conflict, this is none of their business. They are peace loving individuals, after all, so they can't be blamed. They feel it of vital importance never to carry any blame. Neutrals will never betray their neutrality. Whatever other individuals decide does not affect them. If they are ordered to carry out a task which will have a clear impact on a given conflict, they do as told. It's not their job to create problems on a personal level. They are not responsible for their boss' decisions.

Neutrals often show little political awareness. If a conflict arises, they will tell the rebellious it is better to be neutral and accept the results of this position under all circumstances. In case of war or conquest, they prefer to carry on with their lives as if nothing had happened. As they are neutral, they seldom belong to any party involved, making it so much easier to maintain their neutrality. Showing affinity is strange to them. Sometimes neutrals secretly support a sports team, as they feel any hidden need to pick sides is best served with indulging in innocent pastimes. Yet neutrals hate it when their team win a prize. It embarrasses them. Much better to lose out in the semis and proudly carry your neutrality. I don't care who wins, they say, as long as it was an honest match. Neutrals like choosing the referee as their man of the match.

Neutrals are often shared under the silent majority. If a people rise up against perceived repression and flood the streets in protest, the neutrals stay home. That the party enjoying the fruits of state violence tends to claim the support of the silent majority, those who are not against us must be with us, is not their problem. They never invented the lie. Anyway, it's always best to be wisest. As long as there is food on the table, they think, if everybody acts normally, there will be. Yet there comes a time when there is no more food on the table. Perhaps the use of state violence has blocked all forms of transport, perhaps inhumane government policies have created an economic depression. Suddenly, being neutral is not so comfortable anymore. The neutrals realise that neutrality can be just as dangerous as taking sides.

In Barcelona, one quarter of the population can be considered neutral. They feel the slow but steady decline in opportunities has not yet affected them, or they like to see this as a natural process which must be endured. Surely, in Andalucía and Galicia things aren't smoothly goings either. Besides, when one is comfortable enough to be neutral, it's others who will feel the pain first. Any sane government will always protect its middle classes, right? With tensions rising, though, it becomes ever harder to maintain neutrality. With half of your neighbours out on the street and the state apparatus threatening to take away everything you have come accustomed to, from tv in your own language to your children being educated in the dangers of repression to having a police force that does not outright hate you, what exactly is the meaning of neutrality? Is it perhaps nothing more than a desire to save your own skin?

With Europe turning its back on Catalunya and the hope of a positive outcome fading quickly, many neutrals are beginning to feel the heat. Whoever thought our government would be willing to take such measures, they say. This is not what our neutral media have been telling us. Weren't we supposed to live in a democracy? This is outrageous. Why is nobody coming to our rescue? On hearing such words, the rebellious smile wryly. Told you so, they think. Yet they know that neutrals always come late to the party. That's what being neutral is all about.

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