Violencia verbal

Un hincha sostiene una bandera de Argentina durante la final de la Copa Libertadores 2018, en el estadio Santiago Bernabéu en Madrid, España. CreditDenis Doyle/Getty Images

Soy sudaca. Lo soy y, como decía mi abuela Rosita, a mucha honra. Pero hay quienes nos dicen sudacas como insulto; el error es tomarlo como tal. Escandalizarse, atrincherarse, reclamar que se callen o los callen. Por suerte no hay manera eficiente de callar a nadie; nunca la hubo y ahora, en tiempos de multiplicación infinita de la palabra, menos todavía. Lo único que vale es hacer judo.

La llave es vieja como el mundo. Recuerdo por ejemplo a los miembros de una pequeña secta palestina con ínfulas de grandeza. Aspiraban a más pero, en aquel imperio, los pocos que los conocían los llamaban, despectivos, con el nombre de su fundador, un tal Chrestus, un judío sin historia.…  Seguir leyendo » “Soy sudaca”

Jair Bolsonaro, aka the ‘Trump of the Tropics’, heads the field in the upcoming Brazilian elections. Photograph: Eraldo Peres/AP

The Nobel peace prize often gets it wrong, routinely crowning “approved” individuals or supranational institutions such as the EU and UN, usually on the eve of them making a prizewinning Horlicks of their mission.

But even grumblers like me cheered this year’s decision by the Swedish and Norwegian gods of good works. Presenting the joint award to Nadia Murad, a 25-year-old survivor of rape and torture by Isis and campaigner for other persecuted Yazidi Kurdish minority, and to Denis Mukwege, a doctor who has treated many thousands of victims of rape and sexual violence in Congo, has highlighted the horrors of sexual violence in warfare.…  Seguir leyendo » “We revile sexual violence but misogynistic populists thrive around the world”

Illustration by Tyler Comrie; Photograph by Getty Images

The Russian minister of culture has banned my new movie, “The Death of Stalin.” He said its satire was part of a Western plot to destabilize the country. Now the Russian presidential election is looming, and we all know how vehemently Vladimir Putin despises the idea of anyone interfering in the elections of a foreign power; so onto the blacklist my movie went, and no one in Russia is officially allowed to see it.

The last thing I expected was hearty congratulations, but that’s what I got from many film industry insiders. Bouquets of tweets and emails arrived telling me what smart publicity this was and how great this would look on our posters; the Russians had given us a marketing campaign no money could buy.…  Seguir leyendo » “Russia Banned My Movie. Hold Your Applause”

A supporter of Nabih Berri, the speaker of Lebanon’s National Assembly, during a protest in Beirut, in January. Credit Wael Hamzeh/European Pressphoto Agency

In the beginning there was just an insult, sparked by a trivial squabble in a street of a working-class neighborhood of Beirut. A surly-looking man on a balcony splashes some water on a foreman below who has come to fix a defective pipe; the foreman curses back. Such is the starting point of “The Insult,” a film by Ziad Doueiri, which is up for an Academy Award in the foreign-language category on Sunday.

Matters could have ended there. After all, as Freud supposedly said, “The first human who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilization.” But not in the Lebanon of “The Insult” — where the insult turns into a fight, then a court case and finally a state affair.…  Seguir leyendo » “What the Unspoken in ‘The Insult’ Says About Lebanon’s Politics”

Free speech, the driving principle of the American experiment in how free men govern themselves, is a principle that does not always travel well. Free speech requires constant defense and the careful attention of loving hands. Mere lip service won’t do it.

Americans are armed with the First Amendment, the most important amendment of all, and it does not guarantee polite or even responsible speech, but free speech. The humblest citizen is entitled to say whatever he pleases. He can expect to pay the consequences of irresponsible speech, but the government can’t stop him from saying it.

Certain politicians even here from time to time seem frustrated enough to want to create exceptions.…  Seguir leyendo » “Frau Merkel gets a lesson in free speech”

Que el director de un instituto universitario de investigación utilice en su cuenta de Twitter palabras vejatorias contra un representante político nos devuelve la necesidad de recordar que las palabras que usamos no son gratuitas. Tienen, por el contrario, un hondo efecto en las emociones que sentimos y en la calidad de las relaciones que establecemos.

La urgencia de regenerar el espacio público virtual (especialmente, el de las redes sociales) y de trabajar para que se reduzca el grado de violencia verbal que lo caracteriza llevó a la confección del brevísimo Manifiesto para una comunicación hostil en las redes, que traté parcialmente en un artículo anterior. …  Seguir leyendo » “Regenerar el espacio público virtual”