What is people?

Posted by: | January 20, 2009 | Comments Off on What is people?

The concept of the people seems difficult to understand. Does the word it mean nation? Does it symbolize a particular class of people?
I was quite disappointed when I read the text of Eva Peron, first, because I did not find a clear answer to my questions, then, because I expected to an objective definition of this word, such as the ones we had last week to define the concept of culture, and, I read a political speech impregnated with personal opinions and some demagogy.
I must confess that before reading these texts, I wanted to study a little the history of Argentina because I did not know a lot about the period of the beginning of the 20th century in Argentina. I learnt that Eva Peron and her husband influenced a lot the history of Argentina. They fought for the social development of their country, its democratization, and for its independence regarding the United States. However, I was quite shocked when I read this speech because it clearly aims at manipulating the masses in order to convince them to support Juan Perron.
Throughout his text, she used different elements of rhetoric so as to reach her goal. First, she explains that she wants to reveal a terrible truth, but she does not directly tell us that truth. First, she enlightens her love for « her people » using different metaphors and the pathetic register. Then, she reminds us that she has stayed loyal and courageous for her people. She also keeps repeating that the oligarchy exploits people in order to develop the hatred of people against them. Moreover, she identifies a clear dichotomy between the friends of the people i.e. Peron’s supporters and the people who do not support Perron who are automatically considered as enemies. She also uses a mystical style, and the metaphor of the good path and the bad path to convince people. Thus, people do not have a large range of choice: either they belong to the race of the oppressors or to the race of the defender of people.  In the second case, « justice demands that they be destroyed ». These last words of Eva Perron shocked me. I have the impression that she tries frightening people to convince them. Indeed, who wants to be destroyed by his peers?
In addition to that, I am convinced that her call for fanatism could lead to some extremist actions. In the text «a celebration of a monster », the violence of the action against an innocent man reveals the danger of such a call. Do they really think that the death of this innocent could make them win the fight? Or, is it just a violent action to take their hatred to someone?  Anyway, I think that the end do not justify the means. We cannot denying the fact that fanatism is dangerous. Today, many terrorist organizations laud the same kind of discourses and the kamikazes kill themselves and many innocents because they want to give their life for ideals. Thus, the discourse of Evita is quite controversial.
Finally, as reading these texts, I try to find a definition of people. Unlike Evita, I do not think that the people are « one single class: those who work ». I suggest that the people is a political concept build by political leaders in order to manipulate masses. I think that the people is an entity which symbolizes some ideals such as juridical and social equality between people, freedom and solidarity. Finally, the message of Evita reminds me the Abraham Lincoln’s definition of democracy as the « government of people, by people and for people ». Thus, the government is a representative of the people and has to fight for the people’s interests and not for their own interest.  So, does the people represent the citizenships who elect their representatives?


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