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Arendt Response Stefano Frisenna

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Autor:   •  July 12, 2017  •  Essay  •  1,021 Words (5 Pages)  •  198 Views

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After the WWI , the European culture was shocked and destroyed on several point of view : political with the fall of old countries and rise of new one, economical with the inflation and rise in price and social with the crisis of the small house owners. But what really made a difference with the destruction caused by totalitarianism around 20 years later was the discover of two groups of victims that for the first time in history where without the Rights of Man : the stateless and the minorities.

The rise of this two problems/groups is linked  with the Nation-states situation created through Peace treaties after the fall od the Dual Monarchy in Eastern Europe and Czarist power in Batic countries and Poland. In fact these big multinational empires where divided in smaller Nation-state. The problem is that these states were created without considering that the population was actually composed of different cultural groups and there wasn’t a rooted common culture among different groups ( like Croats and Serbs in Yugoslavia or Czech and Slovakians in Czechoslovakia).

Essentially these treaties created state where was possible to distinguish people in three main groups : the “ruling” one, a second group like the Slovakians in Czechoslovakia and a third , smaller group, at the margin of the country called “minorities”.

The error committed by the League of Nations ( precursor of UN) was to make these new born countries signs Minority treaties, instruments to protect this group in the country they lived. The first problem arising was that only the new born countries were bound to follow these rules, while the Western ones (even the defeated Germany) were free to adopt them or not.

By doing this they made the same treaty less powerful that they could be.

But the second and main mistake was to not understand how the concept of Nations-state was “falling” and becoming a failure since the end of 19th century.

This because the nations were not anymore a place of national identity and they lost their characteristic of people with the same culture ( as seen before with the examples of Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia)

It is important to not be mislead by the word “minorities”, because actually they were 30 % of the population, giving a huge number of Europeans being frustrated because they could not identify themselves in a Nation and waiting to find a community in which they really belong.

But the group in a lot more problematic position was the so-called stateless. These people were totally without nations so they didn’t find protection under any international agreements or government agreements.

Before these problems were keep aside thanks to the presence of multinational empires like the Austro-Hungarian one, where single ethnics didn’t have the right to a “nation” but at least had a sovereign state and a country to where belong.

In few words The stateless person is a person without right to residence or work anywhere, always not protected by the law.

Essentially these two groups found themselves deprived of human rights. Their deprivation of human rights started with the deprivation of a place in a world where they can feel part of the community and make actions that are legal and recognized.

What their lost with their right of citizenship was not only a civil right but also a deprivation of their fundamental rights.

These people were left to deal with continuos lack of a law to protect them, making them move from country to country in so huge masses that threaten political orders in many nations and so they weren’t welcomed.

It is interesting to notice how the idea of human rights of Arendt derives partially from the French Revolution one, where universal rights where connected strictly with the rights of being a citizen more than the rights of being a human. This is because during the French revolution there was  the fight to create a national identity and “nation-state” all around Europe.

For Arendt , so, the WWI and later WWII left millions of people in the worst conditions possible , proved by the most important of the human right : the right of citizenship. These people for the authors where worse than slaves, because they did not any chance to belong to a political community or to have a sense of being human.


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