School is a place to grow, never to die

Leaving the child at school: a simple, everyday gesture that is the antithesis of fear. Because school is a place to grow, make mistakes, learn, find, never die.

When the news is invaded by news of murders in schools, it is as if the language is subverted. We have come close to the unspeakable, the same thing that silences Shoah witnesses; we arrive at the region of humanity where there is a hole and it falls into itself. We arrived at the absurd, the horror, what could not even be imagined, what could never have the slightest chance of occurring.

It’s the second time in two weeks that this never breaks the barriers of logical possibility and it happens in Brazil. It happens through the hands of people, through the hands of men, men with guns, and it reaches us in headlines, in images, in street corner conversations, a nightmare invading reality and ordinary days.

But nightmares have origins, all of them, however illogical they may seem. Nightmares are made of fear and pain, they are made of what we find difficult to look at.

Our nightmares are made of the guns on the loose, of the voice given to (mythically silent) violence, of the rage fertilized daily by the algorithm, that artificial intelligence that, once again, makes us have to question the assumption of the Enlightenment that there is a pure intelligence and that it is essentially good. No: perhaps pure intelligence has nothing to do with good, on the contrary. Perhaps, without a human face, it foments precisely evil. The face, which, when exposed, threatened, would invite us, according to Emmanuel Levinas, to an act of violence at the same time that it, the face itself, forbids us to kill.

We wouldn’t kill. The death of a child at school is the death of all. The murder of a child at school is a gesture perpetrated by everyone. Humanity as error, as failure, as horror.

Our nightmares are forged by the hands of men who cannot deal with their own failure, with their own desire, with their lack of place in a world that begins to seem uninhabitable to them when they begin to lose their centuries-old privilege.

The first step should be to lay down all weapons, not to pick them up again and again. The second should be silence: reflect before trying to understand. The third, cry. Simply cry.

School is the place for the open chest, not the bulletproof vest. It is the place of disposition, of learning, of looking into the eyes. School is the place where the face is exposed. A face that today agonizes with pain.

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