In the old dispute between arms and letters, a literary topic where they exist, the Discourse of Arms and Letters from Don Quixote shines with special brilliance, in which Cervantes undoubtedly incorporated his experience as a soldier and writer. I cannot avoid transcribing some fragments for you: “…the lyrics say that without them weapons could not be sustained, because war also has its laws and is subject to them (…). To this the weapons respond that the laws cannot be sustained without them, because with the weapons the republics are defended, the kingdoms are preserved, the cities are guarded, the roads are secured, the seas are cleared of corsairs…”. And later on, echoing, although probably without knowing it, the same complaints that Thomas Malory, the one from The Death of Arturo, made in his day, Don Miguel denies those who use firearms, because “those blessed centuries may well they lacked the frightening fury of those devilish instruments of the artillery, (...) with which he caused an infamous and cowardly arm to take the life of a brave knight...". If we follow the reading, of course we cannot have neither Cervantes nor his character, the one with the sad figure, as pacifists. Quite the contrary, a world in which the strength of your arm and the edge of your sword decide your destiny is desirable and defines the entire universe of chivalry and the weapons that one wields and uses by oneself, with their courage, skill and effort, in the face of the poisonous universe of firearms, with which they can treacherously kill you and even frighten the gunman from the shot with which he shoots you down. Weapons of cowards, in short, or weapons of the unconscious, compared to the weapons of brave and worthy knights.
Somehow, the discourse of arms and letters is back in the news due to the war in Ukraine and its consequences. And not only because we Europeans are rearming ourselves and setting up an army that does not yet exist, nor because of the enlargement of that NATO that will soon hold an apparently momentous summit in Spain, but also because the ministers Belarra and Montero are around, and with them a good part of his hosts, determined to ask for more lyrics and fewer weapons. And that money would be better spent in invoking peace than in preparing for war. All this ignoring the old adage of si vis pacem, para bellum. And also all for the sake of a pacifism so naive that one can't help but smile rather than get irritated.
Bombs of all kinds are falling on the cities and countryside of the Ukraine. And when the soldiers appear, it is to act as savage infantry, with murders –because in war there are also heinous crimes– and a degree of destruction and barbarism that is moving for the victims and even for the crazed executioners. And we know well that in any war all sides are executioner and victim and that humanity is suspended.
It is, to put it briefly, pathetic this pacifism of lyrics that seek rhymes, with their protests because we have an army and we intend to continue manufacturing weapons, when the world would be much better without military or murderous devices. They do not seem to understand that it is one thing to limit access to weapons for the majority of the population – that we already see what happens and happens again in the United States – and quite another to abolish armies and borders. Holy revolutionary ingenuousness who doesn't even seem to have heard La Marseillaise and its Aux armes, citoyens!