I’ve spent the past two weeks recovering from, well, something. Let’s call it the flu, or just a really nasty cold that wouldn’t go away. The sniffles, extended, for regular readers. I’ve balanced work with rest, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. Hence, the radio silence. Don’t worry, all is well.
Except, all is not well. Not at all.
Russia is invading Ukraine, and has been at it for over twenty-four hours as I’m typing this. It doesn’t matter if president Putin is a power-hungry despot with ambitions to restore the Soviet Union, or if he’s just batshit crazy, it’s still wrong on so many levels. People are dying, for what? Lives are getting destroyed, for what?
Power. Control. And ego, for sure. Money, maybe, but probably not directly so, more in what power brings in the long run, then.
In the end, it’s all about people, the lives touched by war. Everything that war touches, dies in some way. Sometimes literally, at other times by leaving a scar that just won’t heal. Only a madman would want this to happen.
All is not well, because there’s a lot of this in the world.
Last year, the Taliban reclaimed Afghanistan. Without getting into the politics of it all, that happened because the US brought its army home. They basically gave the country back, giving the new powers that be, the new government, no chance at all to maintain control and stability. That’s on them, and now a country suffers because madmen have taken control. People are dying there too, lives are ruined by oppression. Imagine the hope of freedom, of that everything’s going to be okay in the end, and imagine having that in your hands, finally. Then imagine a powerful state hundreds of miles away yoink that away from you, like a treat attached to a string. They did this because of politics, not because they thought the Afghan government had things under control.
All is not well, because lives has no meaning in international politics.
For normal people, decent people, life has meaning. The past years, and these current events, will act as a testament to see who’s decent, and who’s not. Politicians can act, will act, but how they act is everything. Remember the names of those who do good, and the ones who do bad, make a list, and check it twice the next time elections come around. That’s how we trim the weeds in a democracy.
In Russia, not so much. The Russian people can’t even get balanced news, because no Russian outlet is allowed to report on the Ukrainian war (or ”special military event” in Putin-speak) outside of state-sanctioned missives. From what I’ve seen, they’re painting a picture of Ukraine as a threat to Russia, which, looking at how the war’s going, is laughable at best, or would be if war wasn’t so horrible.
The Russian people can make lists, too. They just can’t act on it like we do. Hoping that this would lead to a revolution, this war in Ukraine, is naive, I think. While Russia is a land of many revolutions in the past, things are different now, more civilized. Not that you’d think that, given the invasion and all, but people aren’t the ones who invade other countries, politicians in power are. In this case, Putin and his cohorts are invading Ukraine, the Russian people is not. The Russian people would likely not want to see their bank accounts frozen, and see their money lose value because of sanctions. They’ll suffer, too, but not from bombs. The war touches the Russians back home in different ways.
I heard a comment from a former culture attaché last night, regarding the calls for Russian boycotts. He said that now, more than ever, it’s important for culture to reach across borders. Boycotts can lead to antagonizing the people, because – again – people don’t invade countries. There was a short clip of him on a Swedish news program, showing Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian authors, primarily, meeting up to watch and discuss the news together. They’re horrified, all, of course. Because decent people doesn’t want war, no matter their nationality.
All is not well. It never will be, when some people do want war, and actually carries it through. It saddens me so.