Thursday 24 February 2022

A Crime

Like most followers of world affairs today, today was a difficult day to concentrate, to focus, on anything. Instead a numbing feeling of sadness, disbelief, and anger crept over everything as the news of Vladimir Putin's criminal, ruthless, and unprovoked attack on an innocent people emerged. The weapons, faces, and flags are different but the nature of what Putin is doing to Ukraine differs in no real respect to that which was unleashed on Poland on 1 September 1939. Putin's explanation that the invasion was a "special military operation" aimed at the "de-Nazification" and "de-militarisation" of Ukraine is as Orwellian as it is absurd. 

I had no idea how to explain what was happening to my children. For a while I thought that I would say nothing. No explanation I could think of could be put into the terms that a six-year-old would understand without coming off as indoctrination. In the end I decided simply to tell them the truth as I saw it, with the hope that when they grew up they would understand I was speaking my mind: that evil exists in the world and has been unleashed on Ukraine, a blameless country. My son repeatedly asked me if what I was talking about was really happening today (he had heard about such things happening in history, a long time ago) - a confusion that I myself share. 

There will be no peace so there is no point hoping for it now, but we can still hope for an Ukrainian victory even if it seems unlikely. Large countries typically defeat smaller ones quickly, but the lesson of 1920 in Poland, and 1939-40 in Finland shows that this is not always the case. Indeed, whilst the war is still in its first day there have already been signs that the Russian military is less than entirely invincible, including the unconfirmed reports from official Ukrainian sources that the airport of Hostomel outside Kiev, which fell to Russian paratroopers earlier today, is now back in Ukrainian hands. 

The Ukrainians need more than just our hopes, though. They need the strictest regime of sanctions to be brought against the aggressor regimes in Minsk and Moscow. They also need anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft missiles in much greater quantities than have already been provided. They also need humanitarian assistance and help for refugees - I have donated to the British Red Cross's Ukraine appeal and the Ukrainian Red Cross and urge anyone reading this to consider doing the same. 

This war is a crime, it will lead to the terrible deaths of countless innocent people. More than anything this should be held in mind, and one day those responsible for it made to pay.

1 comment:

justrecently said...

Death and mutilation - the latter is often overlooked. Many people have no choice between fight and flight; they are conscripted. But when the decision is theirs, they have to make one they can both live and die with (and "life" may be something else than really "getting away".
But as long as Ukraine keeps fighting, it must be provided with everthing it needs to fight.