Wikileaks, oh the humanity!

I am, first and foremost, interested in humanity. What makes us human? What is human nature? Not just from the perspective of our mammal origins, but mostly, from the perspective of human consciousness, what it means, how it manifests. I came into politics through art. Because it was art that managed to provide the most answers in this regard; because it was art that allowed me the uber tacky “window to the soul” that I always yearned for. My background is not in political science but in literature and theatre (and language with all the implications). I deeply admire people like Politcalprof or Ari Kohen because they can write what I can’t. They are academics. They are scientists looking at politics and making the field accessible and understandable using rigor and methods that I do not have (because it is not my area of technical expertise).  They can articulate and explain in ways that I am not able to. That’s why I don’t even try. Instead, I set to observe human nature with curiosity, fascination. And that’s what guides me, together with a sense of justice that is firmly part of my belief system. My political activism derives from my privilege. It is indisputably tied to it. I want everyone to have what I had. I want everyone to have access to the experiences and privileges that were afforded to me. I am not some holly person driven by a sense of divinity, but by a sense of fairness. I believe we can thrive for that. I believe we can make it happen (hell, we walked over the moon, photographed the stars, explored Mars, analyzed the mountains of Venus; how can anything of this earth be impossible when compared to such tasks?).

So, to me, the Wikileaks cables not only revealed the obvious: power, corruption, a political class less driven by ideals than by financial gains. To me, Wikileaks revealed the humanity behind those in power. It showed, unequivocally, through the pettiness, the blatant small mindedness, spite and meanness that we are ruled by human beings. And that is something we sometimes seem to forget. We tend to attribute super qualifiers to our ruling classes. During the US elections people used to speak of Obama as if he was above humanity, as if, with power, he had traded his humanity for superior attributes that make someone like him incapable of the flaws we all carry within. We want to see those who rule us as better than us, above our flaws. We dehumanize them so that they can carry the tasks that we deem impossible. We turn them into the “other” that can lead us not because he or she is like us but precisely because he or she is above the pettiness.

And then Wikileaks puts it all in perspective. Our diplomatic services, those in the higher positions of world power are prone to gossip. They badmouth their fellow government officials, they indulge in the same flaws that our neighbors do, they are prone to petty corruption. Not unlike the rest of us.

If anything, I hope that Wikileaks serves us as a reminder of our human nature. That we do not need to elect superhumans to rule above us. Instead, we can become the ones who get the tasks done because honestly, those in charge are not better than us. And precisely because those in power are just like us. So, what stops us from trying?

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