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The shape of Kristina...

Veröffentlicht am 28.10.2018

Discussion Series between Roman Hoffmann and Kristina Khutsishvili (3)

Roman Hoffmann: Is it really that difficult to be not violent and impolite to the outer world and if not, why is violence on the rise?!X 

Kristina Khutsishvili: This is a very complex issue, I am often thinking about. But let’s start from an easier point, that is – what do we exactly mean, saying that violence is on the rise?

Apparently, we are appealing to the norms that have been existing during a relatively short period of time, established after the experience of the World War II. And besides the World War II in the previous century we had the World War I, and the Russian revolution, and all these comes to the mind, if you only focus on our continent, not speaking about violence and injustice in other corners of the world. And if looking back through the centuries, then we can say, with all the remarks, that violence is on decline. But it works only in retrospective, and it doesn’t correspond with all the ethical expectations that came after the World War II, with human rights concept, dignity of a person, democracy, guaranteed freedoms, and so on. 

What worries me is that it looks like we now became tired of these concepts, although we hadn’t lived with them that long. It is strange. The populism phenomenon, for example, although is not new, but it is on the rise not only in Europe, also around the world. We all started preferring oversimplified narratives. A new wave of conservatism, while women rights concept is itself rather new: recently we could not vote and had difficulties with getting official university degrees… We all had a very short timeframe to enjoy the achievements of emancipation, and now it looks like we are fine to abandon them. 

French philosopher Etienne Balibar is writing extensively on violence and civility, contrasting these two conditions. Concept of tolerance is actually fitting inside the civil perspective, but I also have questions to this concept itself, I am not sure whether it is totally well designed. I more believe in an honest, open and respectful discussion, based on facts, not on “alternative facts.” And this discussion should be inclusive. Sometimes I am participating in academic conferences, seminars, are other formats of discussion and opinion exchange, and very often among topics discussed there are such as – how we should live together in the future, what to do with the fake news, the rise of far right, and with other current issues. These are very interesting and fruitful activities, but sometimes I also think that something or somebody is missing here. The same may be applied to the policy discussions and political debates. Sometimes I think that, if we simplify, the right is fighting with left and vice versa, but the issues they are fighting around are elsewhere, outside the areas of ideas and ideologies. If we only consider ideologies, then inside any of them we may found ourselves mistaken and blind to some important peculiarities. 

What we can say for sure is that we are living in interesting times. On the one hand, the times of technological progress and amazing things we can use in daily life, at least declared – human rights, democracy and freedom of speech, on the other, times when very primitively crafted narratives are getting popular, ridiculous wars are going on around the world, and their main stakeholders are located elsewhere, journalists are being killed for their investigations... Also, if being realistic, the World War II happened by historical measures quite recently, all of the discrimination practices, crimes against indigenous population in certain countries, these all is quite recent, and there was no time to confirm that we have become significantly better once and forever, and that we are on a sustainable path to civility.

©: Kristina Khutsishvili.

Kristina Khutsishvili is a Russian writer, former journalist and current PhD candidate in Political Philosophy in Italy. Graduated from mathematical high school in Moscow and Lomonosov Moscow State University in Economics and Public Administration. At the age of 18, during the second year of a bachelor programme, started to work as an economic and then political journalist. At the age of 23 had finished her first fiction novel “Deviant” that was published two years later by Ripol Classic publishing house and reached the top in book sales in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Voronezh. Second fiction book named “Triumph” was published in 2013, and third book, interview-based non-fiction named “ID: Remembering the Roots”, was finalized three years ago, but delayed with the publication, and finally is expected soon. Besides working in media and writing books, has been a part of human rights movement in Moscow, and studied on a master programme in Peace and Development work in Sweden. Currently lives in Italy and focuses on her dissertation writing.