Say NO

Have decades of peace education passed us by without a trace?

A question for everyone who supports and calls for support for the war in Ukraine. To all who speak of the heroism of Ukrainians and urge us to do the same, or to remain silent in shame.

“Would you go to war if our president asked us to?”

Imagine the Austrian President calling on all Austrian men between the ages of 18 and 60 to defend the country  with arms because another country wants to take over Austria. Would you heed this call? Would you really take up a gun and shoot other people? And risk your own death? Would you still support war and support it with your life? A war devastates the country, kills people, endangers your family and friends, destroys the material future of yourself and other Austrians for decades to come, and risks escalating into an even bigger war that has the potential to let many more generations suffer?

Filled with a sense of (national) mission and heroism, would you be willing to risk all of that?

I honestly don’t.

Why not? In short: Because wars – if you look behind the heroic pathos – only bring destruction and death, but certainly no solutions.

To put it in a few more words: Would anything change for the population, for us, if the political and economic leadership of Austria were replaced by that of an attacking country? For me, and for many other “average citizens” probably not much. Yes, one would notice the presence of the new leadership class, the country might now have a different name, but a new leadership elite would also have to ensure that people can live under this regime, that they have work and an income. If not, there will be resistance. The political struggle for a better life would remain a necessity, regardless of which ruling class determines Austria’s fortunes. Or do you really believe that one, “nationally defined” leadership class is fundamentally better than another, “differently nationally defined” leadership class?

But supporting the war and going to war would have an extremely large impact on us, our loved ones, our friends, our material future, our health, and our lives. I find it quite shocking how much the EU’s political elites – and all those who participate in the published discourse – simply brush these dangers aside by defining the EU as a de facto in a state of war with Russia and, disregarding the basic needs and desire of the people for peace and a good life, moralise and, without batting an eyelid, demand that people accept the deterioration in living conditions. And it’s just as shocking for me to see how easily and quickly people can be convinced that it is now that hey have to fight, risk their lives, risk everything to defend Europe.

So would you still? And if you start having doubts now, if you say “No, I wouldn’t”, then stop clapping when arms are delivered again, or when further demands are made, stop condoning everything that comes from the Ukrainian leadership. The war must end before it takes more lives and causes more material damage. There is no such thing as a just war. Even if a country has the right under international law to defend itself against an aggressor, that does not mean that it should or must do so under all circumstances.

Stop pretending that wars can be be just and ethically justified and do whatever you can to stop this war. And if it is nothing other than telling our politicians that they must stop serving this war on our behalf. Tell them WE do NOT want to be a part of this madness.

There has to be another solution.

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