Παρασκευή 19 Απριλίου 2024
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Op-ed: Words reflect our civilisation

Op-ed: Words reflect our civilisation

The word solidarity has meaning when it is not the product of calculation or used as a tool in battle to transcend obstacles

By Thanasis Niarchos

One must not forget that words reflect our civilisation.

That is true even a word that expresses a repugnant or hated concept, as it has given form to something that exists and substance to something that we may not have been able to confront if we did not know it.

It is especially so if it was coined in order to express an exalted and noble concept, like an ideal.

One example is the word “solidarityl”, which according to lexicographer Yorgos Babiniotis means “a relationship of mutual moral and material support between individuals, especially in the framework of a social whole, e.g. a family, group, or class”.

That said, let us go on to the issue at hand.

A few days ago, we heard the spokesman of main opposition SYRIZA say that his party is, “throwing itself into the battle of solidarity in order to help the fire-stricken [in recent wildfires around the country].

One need not try hard to remember that the person who was responsible for the use of the word “battle” at the drop of a hat, 26 years ago, was then PM Andreas Papandreou, who said he is “battling for his life”.

Someone who uses words very loosely as long as they sound good will not wonder what kind of battle it is that involves something that he himself did not choose, but that instead hit him like a tonne of bricks, and therefore he could not act differently.

Would that it were only SYRIZA that could be accused of the misguided use of a word.

Unfortunately, all parties believe on the one hand that the more prettified and dignified the manner in which words are expressed, the more bearable reality will be, and on the hand the more barbaric and vulgar they sound, the more substantial criticism of reality will be.

If today we are isolating the phrase “battle of solidarity”, it is because the two word are equally tortured when combined.

The word “battle”, because it presupposes organisation and above all a condition of war, could never guarantee and utilise the flowering of a word like “solidarity”, which reaches not only its pinnacle but the very base of its conceptual substance when it brings to the surface the spontaneous need for you yourself to exist thanks to the aid you offer one or more other people.

Solidarity has meaning when it exists without needing logical processing, and not when it is used to transcend a host of external or internal obstacles in order to express it as a form of battle.

Otherwise, it is merely a ruse.

Even from the practical point of view, how many people can you move emotionally to Internalise or vote for the dangers that any battle entails?

On the other hand, an incalculably large number of people can be persuaded to express their best self, which undoubtedly exists in every person, by helping in any way other people who are suffering.

Solidarity is such a towering concept that in order to have meaning it does not have to be combined with any other word or concept.

For all those who seek recognition for a battle that they will wage, the word “solidarity” has ceased to have any internal meaning.

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Παρασκευή 19 Απριλίου 2024