Wednesday, July 6

Guernica, 1937

It was a small miracle in Congress: to see practically all the deputies and senators, for the first time in a long time, almost unanimously applauding the speech by the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. All except the deputy from the BNG, another from the IU and the CUP representatives (who explain their reasons in this article). Everyone, including the ultra-right of Vox, who probably did not understand very well the part of the speech in which Zelenski drew a parallel between what is happening in his country today and the bombing of Gernika: “We are in April 2022, but it seems April 1937”.

The consensus was short-lived. After a while, the Vox MEP Hermann Tertsch distanced his party from what had happened, and returned to business as usual: to deny Franco’s crimes, starting with the bombing of Gernika. The only thing missing was accusing Zelenski of reopening old wounds, but he is consistent with what he stands for. Let’s not fool ourselves: what most resembles Putin in Europe is Le Pen, Abascal and Salvini. That is why they all congratulated ultra Viktor Orban on Sunday for his victory in Hungary. That is why Orban, in his first speech as winner, cited Zelensky and Brussels among his “adversaries”.

But let’s go back to Gernika, and to the parallel drawn by Zelenski, a very clever politician who touched a very sensitive nerve in Congress. Today, just like yesterday, there are those who seek to bury war crimes with propaganda. In 1937, the fascists tried to present that massacre as an arson caused by the republicans themselves. In the case of the Bucha massacre, the lies are very similar: it always consists of presenting the victims as executioners.

Despite the Russian propaganda, the evidence found in Bucha is obvious. There is not a single serious journalist out of the many on the ground in Ukraine who is not collecting the same testimonies and evidence, which is also documented by various non-governmental organizations. Only from the most extreme sectarianism can these crimes be denied and who is responsible for them.

As the evidence about what happened in Bucha is more bloody, Putin’s supporters have varied their discourse. First the ‘y tú más’ –in the style of Tertsch, who justified Gernika with Paracuellos–. And later the lies have been even more disgusting, with speeches in favor of “re-educating” and “liquidating” all Ukrainians, who are accused of being Nazis.

It is true, and we have told in numerous articles, that the United States has a long list of invasions, torture and illegal wars in its history. That geopolitics rarely has to do with human rights, but rather with economic interests. I hope one day in Congress all parties will applaud a Palestinian president. Russia’s feeling of humiliation after the collapse of the USSR is also true; and the mistake made by NATO in expanding to the east, or giving Ukraine hope of joining the alliance that never materialized. It is accurate to recall that the Ukrainian government did not comply with the treaties signed in Minsk – nor did Russia comply with those of 1994, when Ukraine renounced its nuclear weapons. And that neo-Nazi militias have been operating in the Donbas for years, with the passivity of the various governments.

All this helps to understand the origins of this war. But in no way justifies it. Nothing can serve to justify an imperialist invasion, such as the one that Putin has launched. Neither the massacres against civilians, which are not even new to the Russian despot. Today is Bucha. Before it was Grozny, or Aleppo.

Vladimir Putin symbolizes the exact opposite of human rights. To freedom. To equality. To peace. To democracy. Respect for minorities. It is enough to listen to any of his speeches to identify in him the drives and methods of fascism.

Putin is exactly the opposite of the editorial values ​​of and of the vast majority of its readers. Despite this, in recent weeks there have been several dozen members who have withdrawn from due to our coverage of this war, accusing us of participating in a propaganda campaign “in the pay of NATO”.

Few worse accusations can be made against a journalist than being sold. And I understand that when some partners throw such thick words at us they do it as a hyperbole, with which to show their discontent. Of course, I can assure you that this is not the case: we decide each and every one of the articles that we publish in with exactly the same independence and autonomy that we have had since our birth, almost ten years ago. That in this newsroom we are only paid by our readers, and we work with the usual honesty.

We may have made mistakes, that’s for sure. We can be wrong, but we have not sold out.

It is not the first time that we have faced such a phenomenon among a small part of our partner community. To a colossal distrust on the part of a minority among them, who accuse us of having betrayed them, and also of betraying our commitment to the truth and good journalism.

The previous time something similar happened was with the pandemic, where we had some casualties from members who accused us of being “sold out to pharmaceutical companies”, for not reflecting the voice of those who first denied the virus and then prescribed bleach as a remedy. . So, just like today, critics of our coverage of the pandemic linked us to so-called YouTube experts that we were “silencing”. As reality exposed them, they changed their arguments.

I think one of the reasons this happens is suspicion in the face of unanimity. And in part I understand it: the errors of the press have been many. And those who support financially are critical readers, who distrust, who doubt, and who have been betrayed too many times.

I have responded personally to all the partners who have written to me after unsubscribing due to our coverage of this war, just as I did before with those who left us for “selling us to the pharmaceutical companies”. Many of them have understood our arguments and have reactivated their subscription. Others don’t, and I really regret it. But at our first commitment is to the truth. And we will not betray each other.