In The London Review of books, Slavoj Žižek published an essay about the meaning of the Wikileaks era. An intriguing piece I must say, and I can only recommend to read it.

The only surprising thing about the WikiLeaks revelations is that they contain no surprises. Didn’t we learn exactly what we expected to learn? The real disturbance was at the level of appearances: we can no longer pretend we don’t know what everyone knows we know. This is the paradox of public space: even if everyone knows an unpleasant fact, saying it in public changes everything.

In Europe, there is the this half-sentence. still being used in this context. It is a reminiscent of the second world war. It is was many, many regime supporters said when confronted with the atrocities of the Nazi’s: “Wir haben es nicht gewusst” (“We didn’t know”). Žižek’s conclusion is not very agreeable.

We face the shameless cynicism of a global order whose agents only imagine that they believe in their ideas of democracy, human rights and so on. Through actions like the WikiLeaks disclosures, the shame – our shame for tolerating such power over us – is made more shameful by being publicised. When the US intervenes in Iraq to bring secular democracy, and the result is the strengthening of religious fundamentalism and a much stronger Iran, this is not the tragic mistake of a sincere agent, but the case of a cynical trickster being beaten at his own game.