An open letter was signed by a number of famous writers and political thinkers and released through The Guardian. According to the top thirty, populism, fragmentation, and the Kremlin are among the main threats.
"Europe is being attacked by false prophets who are drunk on resentment, and delirious at their opportunity to seize the limelight. It has been abandoned by the two great allies who in the previous century twice saved it from suicide; one across the Channel and the other across the Atlantic. The continent is vulnerable to the increasingly brazen meddling by the occupant of the Kremlin. Europe as an idea is falling apart before our eyes," reads the letter.
Find out the full text of the letter "Fight for Europe – or the wreckers will destroy it" here.
A political journalist, philosopher, and writer who criticizes totalitarianism. He supported the war against terrorists in Afghanistan and upheld the Euromaidan in Ukraine, called for the bombing in Yugoslavia. He criticized modern Marxism, the spread of the Islamic way of life in Europe, called for a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, and opposed the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
The French writer of Czech origin, laureate of the Big Literary Award of the French Academy. Author of ten novels, four plays, three collections of poems and a large number of essays.
The Briton of Indian origin. Rushdie is a member of the Royal Literary Society. He was awarded a knighthood for services to literature in the Queen's Birthday Honours. Laureate of the Booker Prize. Death threats were made against him, including a fatwā calling for his assassination issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran. Rushdie is the author of 11 novels, two books for children, as well as several essays and a collection of short stories.
The Austrian writer and literary critic. She is the winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, the Heinrich Boll Prize, the Georg Büchner Prize, the Heinrich Heine Prize, the Franz Kafka Prize. Jelinek has written 30 books: from collections of poems to novels.
The Turkish writer, Nobel Prize winner and several international and national awards, his works have been translated into more than 50 languages. He opposes Turkish policy in the issue of discrimination against the Kurds, because of which the government sued him. However, after Marquez, Eco, Grass, and other world-famous writers came out in his defense, the lawsuit was withdrawn.
Other signatories: Vassilis Alexakis (Athens), Svetlana Alexievich (Minsk), Anne Applebaum (Warsaw), Jens Christian Grøndahl (Copenhagen), David Grossman (Jerusalem), Ágnes Heller (Budapest), Ismaïl Kadaré (Tirana), György Konrád (Debrecen), António Lobo Antunes (Lisbon), Claudio Magris (Trieste), Ian McEwan (London), Adam Michnik (Warsaw), Herta Müller (Berlin), Ludmila Oulitskaïa (Moscow), Rob Riemen (Amsterdam), Fernando Savater (San Sebastián), Roberto Saviano (Naples), Eugenio Scalfari (Rome), Simon Schama (London), Peter Schneider (Berlin), Abdulah Sidran (Sarajevo), Leïla Slimani (Paris), Colm Tóibín (Dublin), Mario Vargas Llosa (Madrid), Adam Zagajewski (Cracow)
What is populism
The letter defined populism as one of the key problems. The word is widely used both by politicians and critics, equating it literally with the insult. Nevertheless, few people fully understand what it generally means.
Populism is a policy or rhetoric aimed at the broad masses of the public, which promises a quick and easy solution to social problems. It is used in order to please more people, and goals in the form of obtaining power or enrichment are disguised as attractive ideas for the population.
Often, populists clearly divide society into "elite" and "ordinary people."
Three bright signs of populism:
- a division into "the people" and the "elite;"
- only populists are representatives of the people, only they are "the people;"
- they use the fears of the society.
The main reason that populism is widespread in the world is the fact that the government often does not want to discuss important issues. In return, any criticism they call either stupidity or machinations from external and internal enemies. For example, Venezuela’s Maduro refused to recognize the deep economic problems and blamed the "economic war" with the United States of all the difficulties.
An important feature of populists is instrumentalization of fear, large-scale dramatization, and aggravation of the situation. Often, they have only specific proposals on a couple of the most pressing issues (Donbas war, European integration, reduction of tariffs, etc.). They do not have a clear plan for the future of the whole country, they denote their activities only to some point.
Despite the fact that the signatories of the letter have weight in the cultural world community, and the message contains ideas close to many Europeans, this is just a call. Appeal to the people, appeal to the authorities, and the exposure of acute social problems.
The letter does not have any legal weight, of course.