Who are those taking part in the G20 summit in Rome? They are largely the same ones who wanted to export democracy to Afghanistan, and then abandoned the Afghans to their fate and to starvation: millions, including thousands of children, are at risk of dying if urgent measures are not taken to help the country, says the United Nations. But our only concern is making deals with Iran and Pakistan to “take them in” and stop their journey west.
Those at the G20 are some of the same people who wanted to free the Iraqis from Saddam Hussein and then left them in the hands of the Caliphate. The ones who struck down Gaddhafi, leading to his horrible end, allowing Libya and the entire Sahel to slide into chaos. With the complicity of the Turks and the Gulf monarchies, they unleashed thousands of jihadists in Syria to bring down Assad, then backed off. Then they used the Syrian Kurds against ISIS, only to let Turkey slaughter them in Rojava afterwards.
Real justice has no place at the G20, even though it is paid lip service not only by autocracies, but also by so-called liberal democracies. Just look at what is happening to the Palestinians, subjected by Israel to an apartheid regime: Israel has just approved more than 3,000 new homes for settlers, to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state. The Europeans are protesting, Washington is pretending to be indignant, but nothing will happen in practice: Israel can do what it wants and ignore all UN resolutions.
We rightly complain about autocrats like Putin, Xi Jinping, Erdogan—but what signal is the West sending to those regimes? It never punishes Israel: there are never any sanctions, there is never a position with tangible effects that would go beyond phrases of circumstance. Is this the example of justice that we give on our side, and then demand from others? There is not even the will to discuss the matter, since the Erdogan-Biden meeting was cancelled. NATO’s dirt has been swept under the rug.
The disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, ignoring the fate of a people and their survival, already had its clear precedents. Only those who did not want to see them were unable to. These same killers of whole peoples and nations are now gladly exchanging pleasantries—whether in person or on video makes no great difference. They’re also shaking hands with Mohammed bin Salman, who, as the “prince of the Arab Renaissance,” according to the words of Senator Renzi—now permanently employed at his court—had journalist Jamal Khashoggi tortured, killed and dismembered. The same Saudi prince, according to some witnesses, also planned to kill his uncle, King Abdul Aziz. In short, having lunch with him is like sharing a meal with Totò Riina.
Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, who has revealed the war crimes and some of the plots hatched by Western states and intelligence services and their allies, is on trial in London, where they might prefer that his days come to a swift end. A notable absentee at the Roman summit is Israel, which is sending Mossad to Iran and around the world to kill whomever it pleases without anyone objecting. But maybe at the next round of the G20, if the Abrahamic Pact is enlarged, we will have Israel as a guest too, which is illegally occupying the land of the Palestinians, abandoned by all.
If these are the same leaders who, just a little afterwards in Glasgow, will have to deal with the environment and saving the world from global warming, we are screwed. An atmosphere of malevolence now suffuses the EUR halls where they are meeting, and Draghi should at least open a window if he wants to breathe.
What is actually decided at the G20, beyond the official communiqués? A certain division of the world according to economic interests (the G20 was born as a financial forum) and lines of influence that are, to tell the truth, increasingly mobile. But there is also a rough division of labor that keeps the protagonists of the Rome summit together. The U.S. and Western countries are selling weapons to their satellites, pretending to export democracy; Moscow can do what it wants with its dissidents; Beijing— which has become, due to its economic weight, the real new enemy for the Catholic Biden—has a free hand to eliminate whoever it wants, from dissenters to the Uighurs of Xinjiang; the Gulf princes can have anyone strangled without anyone objecting; and in return, we expect their investments in the West, in terms of arms shopping and soccer teams. The show must go on.
The main wound that this G20 opens up once more, like those that preceded it, is the absolute lack of justice. In order for everyone to agree, everyone must have their share of blood and death. Never once do we hear anyone defending a just cause with respect to the fate of peoples. The G20 is in fact a parade of conformists without any values, but with a quality they share in extraordinary amounts: cynicism.
Cynicism in industrial doses, for everyone: for nations, for entire peoples, for individuals, for present and future generations. Giulio Regeni is perhaps the symbol of all this. The story of the Italian researcher tortured and killed by Al-Sisi’s thugs, a symbol of the young people who should be at the center of this G-20 and the needed transformations, lies ignored: none of the leaders of this gathering of hypocrites can say a word that even remotely resembles real justice.