by Christo El Morr
When one looks at the faces of politicians responsible for massacres that claimed the lives of millions of people, one sees them devoid of any feelings. They rule with coldness, deciding to kill humans without remorse and defending their positions without a hint of genuine concern for human lives. When people align themselves so closely with an institution that they treat themselves not as humans first but fundamentally as cogs in an institution’s machinery, they may find functional satisfaction in fulfilling their required tasks to the fullest. They may even feel a sense of respect or experience authority in their milieu. They may feel a sense of power that allows them to control those below them in a hierarchy, compensating for the existential emptiness felt when their lives lack compassion. Such a person is a zombie, externally alive but internally “dead” because the essence of life, which we can call human life, is not only about physical existence but about the ability to establish relationships of empathy with others; it is about one’s capacity for love.
My observation is that the political system in Western democracies, as it is currently implemented, is a Zombie system that promotes the internally dead to be in the ruling class. These individuals perform their functions as cogs in the destructive machine of colonization. This Zombie system attracts power-hungry individuals, gradually sucking human life out of them as they climb the political career ladder until they are completely drained of "life"; they become zombies. At that point, the system deems them suitable for high-ranking positions to serve its interests. Whether the servant becomes the head of a state, a media leader, a lawyer, a doctor, a professor, or a university president makes no difference (the war in Gaza showed that all could be zombies in service to the system). The crucial point is that they serve not the human community but the continuity of the system.
This is why, during the genocidal war of the israeli occupation in Gaza, we currently witness the automatic repetition in media of keywords like "Israel's right to self-defence," and "anti-Semitism," in contexts that have nothing to do with those words. These repetitions serve one purpose: to perpetuate the genocide (perpetuated by the veto) behind the smoke of justifications that do not hold logically; if logic is to consider all known reality, not just the part of it that betrays truth to serve the system.
However, the zombies realize they are servants and serve a zombie system of unlimited profit accumulation. They know that the zombie system needs to extract and absorb human life before extracting nature’s life. Thus, any continuation of profit extraction, for example, from the Arab world, is linked fundamentally to extracting life from its people first, either by killing as many as possible (which is an expensive and impractical option) or by terrorizing them by committing genocide against them pushing them to subjugation or forced migration. This is the logic of this zombie system at work behind the current genocide in Gaza.
However, while the zombie system succeeds in absorbing life from those humans who willingly transform themselves into cogs in its service, it fails to turn people living in poverty into zombies. It may succeed in killing them or subduing them for a while, but the oppressed do not transform into zombies, fortunately. This is because, by their nature, humans resist oppression, love life, and want freedom. That’s why the zombie system only seeks to transform a portion of those oppressed; it lures a few rulers, journalists, university professors, doctors, engineers, and others to accept the zombie system, to accept to serve as zombies its machine that extracts human and natural life (the zombie system looks at human life and nature only as resources for profit extraction).
Thus, the zombies in the exploiting and exploited countries become smaller or bigger cogs in the Zombie system, but all serve it as if they were dead, with no compassion for its victims, including their compatriots.
The fight against the genocide in Gaza is linked to fighting the Zombie system worldwide. That’s why the oppressed populations that most sympathized with the Palestinians in Gaza are those who suffer from the same Zombie system. Many have seen the Zombie system and given it different names. In his well-known play Faust, the German poet Goethe called it "Mephistopheles" (the devil), where Faust sells his “soul” to Mephistopheles in exchange for realizing some of his dreams. Today's Zombie system is called capitalism; you can call it colonialism or any other name; it is a system that accumulates wealth by destruction, by extraction of human life and nature. Beware the Zombie system that absorbs life out of those who trade with it profit for their “souls.”
The success of the Zombie system in transforming people into zombies requires free consent. Those who freely reject the Zombie system protect their capacity to love and defend their freedom; they are the unknown saints in our era: they face isolation, ostracism, anxiety, and sorrow to testify for truth, for a humane life, for love and freedom. The martyrdom of the innocent Palestinians bombed in Gaza is a radical rejection of the Zombie system as their shattered bodies scream “freedom.”