Speech

A mirror into our mistakes

It is considered that, to understand a society and culture, one has to read a satire. Satire is a genre that “holds up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn.” Armed with irony, sarcasm, and a little bit of mockery, its main intent is to shame a person or a whole society into improvement. Political satire, in particular, brings current issues forward for general criticism.

To begin with, it is crucial we consider that, for the past decade, Europe has been facing a serious migration crisis, of an intense humanitarian character. The daily flows of refugees towards European territory have provoked the indignation and the fear of a large part of the population. As a result, national and far-right parties have made significant electoral, with ideas utterly inconsistent to the collective values of the Union.

Under those circumstances, the EU has to take effective initiatives in order to deal with the emergence of nationalism. Satire is a manifestation of free expression, which is not only protected, but also celebrated by the EU principles. Its encouragement by the EU in this matter will give an opportunity to citizens to express themselves, as well as abolish the very foundation of the problem: the suppression of the people’s voice. Extremism only grows if it can feed on constraint and fear. Thus, if we let our concerns out, instead of burying them, and identify with others through them, they can no longer be used against us.

It also is true that satire is one of the most direct ways to expose citizens to current issues and incite the development of their own critical ability, protecting them from political propaganda, often used by the far-right parties. On the other hand, political satire will reduce the youth’s indifference to politics, as it will make them more personal and accessible. Besides, digital platforms, such as YouTube, immensely popular with youngsters, present a great affinity for satirical pieces, while younger individuals are also initiated into satire via highly successful stand-up comedy shows.

What is more, political satire consists an effective method of self-evaluation, on a collective level. A successful piece of satire could be achieved through the honesty and courage to own up to one’s mistakes and acknowledge hard truths. That being said, European leaders would be profoundly interested in a constructive criticism of the political reality. On condition that we possess the maturity to accept some negative remarks as easily as directing them towards others, satire would be the very best form of providing real, accurate feedback to the political leadership and facing the exceptionally disturbing truth of the far-right having a voice in Europe. And what better way is there for the EU to ensure it will be done right, other than funding and supervising such endeavors itself?

Concluding, the regrettable history of extremism in Europe highlights the necessity of self-criticism even more. During the interwar, Europeans had dismissed the possibility of another catastrophic event occurring, right after the horror of the First World War. However, their mortal dread of history repeating itself caused them to turn a blind eye to the imminent threat of Nazism. Without being so naïve as to suggest a third World War is about to happen or that solely satire would be able to prevent that, we are, in fact, convinced that it would pave the way for reaching our full potential as a Union and exorcize the demons of our past, once and for all. Let us look into the mirror and be the best version of ourselves.

M4-R2 Winner: Mary Squared
I thank both teams for this debate. This was a very close debate, for many reasons, and as the speaker points might show, the call was also close, but in the end I sided with the affirmative team, Mary Squared. A few things to point out for both teams: try and be more academic regarding…
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