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Vendetta, A Key To Understanding Human Relationships


The culture of honor – and the vendetta that it implies – is very widespread around the Mediterranean. Certain pillars are found there that structure the family unit and social coherence on the scale of villages or towns.

The main function of the vendetta is to ensure the respect and a fortiori the security of a family or a larger group. If the family is prepared to defend its honor tooth and nail, it will be more difficult for a rival to emerge unscathed from an affront. By being tough on those who try to damage its reputation, a family sends a clear message that it is not an easy target, and those who want to offend it should think twice.

A reputation for being tough gives the tribe a peace that few would want to disturb. In areas where the rule of law does not always apply, the law of the clan is far more prevalent and effective in ensuring the safety of family members than republican justice.

Of course, this approach comes into frontal conflict with those who have not grown up in a culture of honor. They have been protected by the state until now and therefore do not see the need to look after their reputation as the apple of their eye. In a hybrid configuration where these two cultures of justice coexist, it can be difficult to cohabit because the codes are so opposed.

The culture of honor implies that the family is at one with each individual, in reality the individual does not really exist, he is a link in a clan chain. Conversely, in modern countries where this culture of honor has disappeared, the individual is freer but also more helpless if he or she suffers the afflictions of a group that wants to harm him or her.

When the state is failing, one understands why there is sometimes a return of the vendetta in territories where justice is not systematically applied. When the state fails, the old tribal mechanisms resurface. Since they have organized human societies for millennia, they find an immediate and implacable understanding for all those who understand the Law of Talion and its consequences.

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