War and peace

Saturday was World Press Freedom Day. Perhaps the time has come to decree an equally significant celebration: that of freedom from the press. Maybe the two celebrations should even be held together and thus embrace the whole spectrum of communication, as the one freedom presupposes the other. And in this utopian arrangement, freedom can correspond to even its most distant synonyms, such as the right to be skeptical. As I write, a relatively carefree holiday pace still prevails. «Evil» is holding its breath, almost ashamed of its own existence. References to the war have all but dried up and emotions have come full circle, as dictated by television: from embarrassment to pain, from pain to anger and then back to embarrassment. Television showed us, once again, which emotions were «advisable» and in which order they should be expressed: anxiety at the start of the war and cries for peace as the hostilities got under way, with ostensibly documentary-style footage of the dead and exhaustive coverage of peace marches. The rhetoric of peace, embraced even by supporters of the war, eventually led us to stomach images that were so horrific that they prevented any subsequent thought. So after the war, political rhetoric disappeared, the distribution of humanitarian aid merged smoothly with the holiday spirit, and no one had time to ponder a little longer on the true meanings of war and peace.