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Well, well, well. The world is an ever-loving skip fire these days. Is that the right phrase? I could not possibly post anything else without a follow up to this article.
I remember where I was when those two planes plunged into the World Trade Centre in 2011 and I remember waking up a year or so later to a mushroom cloud over Baghdad on my small screen TV in the bedroom as America retaliated for what was the worst massacre on US soil by terrorists. Those days I watched as the West promised fire and brimstone in retaliation and we were quite worried about the potential of war. We have been involved in many little wars for as long as I have been alive; you know that saying, it is always happy hour somewhere? There is always a war raging somewhere and it feels like we have gotten used to the state of things as they are.
And so here we are, on the precipice of a third world war with the western governments enabling to an extent and trying to guess Putin’s next step. I never thought he would invade, I am one of those people who thought Vlad would climb down, call it naïveté or some hope that diplomacy would win out, but I thought he was dallying on the brink of showmanship and wanted some world attention but then he had his maddening broadcast and to say he was unhinged is putting it mildly; the man has gone mad. Absolute crackers.
In light of everything that has happened, make no mistake, Putin is a fascistic murderer; a killer and it is about time the West took the fight back to him. The maddening thing is that he told us, he told us what he was going to do, and now we know what he is capable of; I mean we always knew, but now the fullness of his delusion is on for show but even more maddening than the knowledge is the time it is taking governments to figure out its response. It took a few by surprise, that he would stoop so low but there is no floor with Putin, this we know now. I cannot fathom how long it took the West to cut Russia off from Swift. Sanctions levied are starting to show some sign of teeth, but they still do not go far enough because Oligarchs are still allowed to exist and own a sizeable part of the British economy and institutions. They are ineffective against a man rumoured to be the richest in the world; it will be months, if not years, until their effects are felt. Ukraine might not be a NATO country but there is a damn sight more that should be done and could be done; if only to uphold the agreement of Minsk otherwise what is their word good for? Countries in the West are fine coming up with excuses for going into countries like Libya and Iraq which is why I have a big problem understanding why on earth they are pussy footing around this despot.
None of this makes sense; we have become inured to this behaviour and we absolutely should not. We have not evening gotten out of the pandemic; yes remember her? She is still here; raging.
The silver lining, if there is one that can be seen here, is that the world has never been more united in its response to this conflict. We stand united in condemnation of Russia and in support of the refugees bound to come out of this. Millions who will flee their homes in search of refuge elsewhere in hopes of going back someday. However, the grey line to that silver lining is the revelation of a world insistent on showing its ugly side no matter how bleak the present may be. Racism does not seem to have any time off, even in war.
The plight of People of Colour at the boarders trying to flee to safety and the discrimination they face is blatant. Then you think about the recent evacuation in Afghanistan, the refugee crisis still brimming there, and deaths in the channel of Black migrants and the cool behaviour towards it. Now juxtapose that with this response, levy the reactionary language of certain journalists; blonde haired, blue eyed, civilised country… some of the words used to parse this crisis and the othering of all the other atrocities faced constantly by migrants from Muslim or African countries. Some may argue that the reaction of the war is stronger because the fight is at Europe’s doorstep, it is closer to home, the people caught in the middle look more like kin, and right as they may be, their plight is no different from those fleeing their homes and have been for decades because of the atrocities caused by the West. This should give us a cause to address our own biases; in the same way we still buy goods made in China despite the genocide against the Uighur Muslims… this crisis in Ukraine may not be happening in some faraway land, yet it happens in faraway lands caused by those closer to home. A massacre against innocent people. This is still happening in Tigray which I talk about in this post; Tigray may be way over there, but the ongoing conflict plaguing it is no different to what is happening in Ukraine. We should be equally as outraged and equally as mobilised because people in Tigray are still fleeing their homes and thousands rendered homeless.
This conflict has drawn out the obvious and has opened up a new level of issues to address; how do we see each other as human beings at the very basic level? Where do we think of as home and how do we regard it.
I thought I understood the world, as a student of politics and International relations, who deeply still believes in diplomacy despite its flaws; because sometimes you need to take the fight to a mad man, but none of this makes sense, not even this post but I pray for peace in Ukraine, and the world at large.
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