George Orwell, champion of freedom and author of anti-utopian masterpieces such as “1984” and “Animal Farm”, wrote: “If freedom means anything, it means the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear“. Today I intend to make use of this right.
The world scene we are living in today appears dominated by despots and bloodthirsty theocracies who use the power they have in wars of conquest and religion, in alarming threats of nuclear apocalypse, in terrorist attacks, in bloody repression of free manifestations of thought . Abominable laws condemn to death young women who refuse the imposition of the veil, intellectuals and journalists who do not want to comply with unfair laws, sportsmen who recognize themselves only in “Decoubertinian” values, homosexuals who aspire not to be considered as criminals.
The war in Ukraine in eleven months has already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. Christians in Africa and Asia are shot to death in places of worship in the resigned silence of the “media”. The sad list of atrocities could continue for many pages. As I write, the father of Saman, the young Pakistani girl massacred by her relatives for daring to kiss a boy from the country that was hosting her, has been locked up in his homeland prison and is awaiting extradition to Italy. The authorities of the great Asian country, however, seem to play the perpetual postponement of a due decision, given the seriousness of the crime committed by the father of the innocent girl.
It shocks the almost total indifference of the Western world which reacts timidly to the rampant abomination. A hundred tanks and some anti-missile systems are certainly not enough to stop the advance of a large invading army. The “economic sanctions” imposed on rogue states are worth little, as they affect more the victim populations than the tyrants and deplete us of energy resources.
Even pathetic seems the summon of their ambassadors, who have become squalid repeaters of the criminal ideas of their dictator-mandators. Germany, a friendly and democratic state, appears trembling and selfish. The tremendous past of racial persecution which weighs down on its recent history instead of awakening the conscience of the Germans seems to numb it. Fear dominates everything and everyone. Yet it is the same country that gave birth to one of the greatest composers of all time, author of the symphony that has become an ode to a united Europe. The genius from Bonn, Ludwig van Beethoven, said in his lifetime that “We must do all the good we can, love Freedom above all things and never betray the Truth“.
Freedom and Truth are intimately linked to each other. If, cause of fear, we deny the truth, we are about to lose our freedom. Fear is the best ally of dictatorships. The “pacifism” that closes its eyes in front of the violation of the basic rights of the human beings is a utopian pacifism and, as such, ineffective and “fashionable”. Those who justify theocratic impositions considering them bearing elements of a culture different from ours are lying knowing they are lying. If there is no Freedom without Truth, there can be no Peace without Justice.
The above considerations are to be guidelines for us Freemasons. We belong to a Community that refers to universal values, first of all the total respect for the rights of human beings, a beacon of pure light that should guide us in our daily actions and strengthen our will to contribute to the good of the country and of humanity. If, on the other hand, we conform to the “common thought”, if we lock ourselves up in the redoubts of selfishness, if we transform our reference values into fakes to be exhibited in ritual demonstrations for their own sake, if we get entangled in sterile divisive and inconclusive battles, if we become opinionated and self-referential, if we mistake brotherhood for friendly custom, if we transform ourselves into an army for the salvation of personal interests, we will increasingly become the ideal targets of our detractors.
Our raison d’être requires courage, cultural commitment, self-denial, and unconditional defence of our values. The rest is “fluff” destined for oblivion and unstoppable decadence. If we don’t fully believe in freedom, in truth, in justice, it is better to close the doors of our common home to cradle our individual “egos” in the illusion of being on the right side. The future of our Community lies in the unstoppable work of inner improvement of individual affiliates, in unconditional support for liberal and democratic principles, in contrast to new ideologies that raise the banner of resignation to lead us all into the gloomy cave of nihilism. We must start with ourselves, with our consciences, with that microcosm that is our mind. Tagore in “The Voice of the Truth” wrote: “It is so easy to suffocate, in the name of external freedom, the internal freedom of man“.
The Grand Orator