Friday 8 April 2022

From Sarajevo to Kramatorsk


As the BBC reminded us a few days back, this week marks 30 years since the start of the siege of Sarajevo. For nearly four years the city was shelled and bombed from outside by Serb nationalists intent on wiping out the Bosnian and Bosnian-Croat peoples, and was wracked within by massacres and assassinations directed by all against all. To describe these attacks as indiscriminate would be to misunderstand what was happening - the Radovan Karadžić's men knew exactly what they were doing when they rained down mortar bombs on the Markale market.

Today an attack every bit as evil as those that the Bosnian Serb army threw down onto the city of Sarajevo from the surrounding hills during the siege there struck the Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk. A cluster-bomb delivered by ballistic missile struck a train station packed with women and children trying to evacuate: a clear civilian target, hit with a weapon that cannot possibly have been headed for anywhere else. Mothers with prams, old people, young children, innocent people massacred by a terrible weapon of war designed to cause mass casualties across a wide area. The missile even had "For The Children" stencilled on it in Russian.

It is difficult to consider something like this with equanimity. Logically you can think of all the Russian people you know who are not monsters but ordinary people. Yet this brutal act - and thousands of other similarly bestial acts across Ukraine - was done in their name and on their behalf, by the army that fights under their flag.


Ji Xiang said...

I quite agree with you, of course.

I think the issue we need to focus on is how to give a convincing answer to the people who respond with "What about Iraq? What about Yemen?" etc...

It's not just Russian and Chinese nationalists in bad faith who do this. The other day a girl from the Indonesian embassy in Beijing asked me those same questions. I think the attempt to draw an equivalence between Russia's invasion and America's wars makes no sense, since Russia is trying to overthrow a legitimate, democratically elected government, wants to annex pieces of the country and wants to stop it joining a more prosperous and freer part of the world. But we need to get better at explaining our position to people in the non-Western world who may not be quite sure why they should oppose Russia.

FOARP said...

@Ji Xiang - Personally I think 99% of people who bring up Iraq in the context of Ukraine aren't doing so in good faith and the remaining 1% just don't realise that it is totally irrelevant. "The US did something that I think is bad so Russia should be allowed to do something bad also, and it won't be bad" is a total non-sequitur.

An aside: LOL at the Russia-based alcoholic troll who is obviously regretting their poor life choices that got them chucked out of the country they were a supposed expert on, whose wife left him taking the kids, and who has been trying to spam the comments here.

Ji Xiang said...

I think you're right if we're talking about Chinese and Russian nationalists and Western tankies and neo-Stalinists.

On the other hand, I think Indians or Brazilians asking why they should sanction Russia for attacking Ukraine when no one sanctioned the US for attacking other countries are often in good faith, and their question is not a non-sequitur. I think they're wrong, but it's not easy to find a coherent answer. And believe me, across Asia, the Middle East and Africa there are plenty who reason in this way.

Anonymous said...

It's a civil war and those are always the worst.
Ukraine refused to give assurances they wouldn't join NATO.
They said they would host nuclear weapons if asked.
New Hypersonic missiles can hit Moscow from Ukraine border in under 10 minutes.
Russia is protecting itself.
Zelensky is a fucking Nazi crybaby running a bankrupt corrupt mafia state full of thieves and whores.
The US got Nordstream cancelled.
Ukraine will never join the EU it will be a barren wasteland as a reminder to remind Brussels not to fuck with Moscow.
The EU just basically aligned all its strategies with Washington.
EU foreign policy is now decided by Washington.
Therer is no self-governance in Europe any more they sold the EU to America.
Look at who the winners are here. There's only one: The United States.
Putting their hands in every nasty war and conflict.
Now selling gas and food to Europe at higher prices than Russia ever did.
The US started this not Russia.
Don't kick sleeping bears because shit happens if you do.

Energy problems for Europe this winter.
Food shortages.
Expensive petrol.
A cold winter.
Social unrest and riots everywhere.
But Russia will be nice and warm and has plenty of warm bread.
Europe and the UK will be crying in their cold clammy hands by December.

Europe can try being America's Bitch and see if they like it.
There is no escape for Europe.

Yeah, such a good analysis.
Spasibo bolshoi