If I look away long enough, the thing I do not want to see will go away and disappear. Like the belief that you can see elves and spirits out of the corners of your eyes. (Common lore). Or that if you want to master the art of flying you must throw yourself resolutely forward and just before you hit the ground manage to miss it. (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)
I looked away for a few months and hoped the war fought in Ukraine would disappear. Or that at least by now, 6 months later, we would enter the phase of peace talks, negotiations, the end of the destruction of lives, of livelihoods, of countryside, infrastructure, factories, power lines, etc…
I was wrong. It did not disappear, on the contrary it keeps on escalating and we are getting used to the loss of lives and the destruction on a daily basis. There are too many people benefitting from it right now and others who think they will continue to benefit or start benefitting in the future from this destruction and the change of power balance.
Life has become so “interesting”, men and women can play with weapons of destruction again, openly, freely, and we do so we are seen as patriotic, as freedom fighters, defending the values of Europe, the free West, the civilised world.
I have got news for you: this is not very civilised at all. What is civilised about fuelling a war when you could stop it, even if others fight it with their bodies and lives? What is civilised in pushing governments to send more and stronger weapons to a country that cannot win this war without all the supporting countries (sending weapons and money) becoming more and more involved in it and thus risking further escalation? What is civilised in continuing to promise the moon (EU membership, NATO membership, etc) to a country that cannot enter these circles in the near future, and by near I mean the next 30 or 40 years. Unless you are prepared (or even aiming for) a total redefinition of what the EU stands for and what NATO is prepared to risk.
And while I looked away hoping the war would disappear and hoping the reason would finally prevail, others – those who were not praising the freedom fighters in Ukraine, condemning Russia as the sole culprit in this affair and pushing their governments to send more money and weapons to Ukraine – others spent their time glueing themselves to the road surface, or to paintings, and are planning to continue these actions… as their contribution to a better, more just and sustainable world. Or those who were busy planning laws that criminalise calling a man a man and a woman a woman. Or the ones busy replacing one generic structure of language by another generic structure in order to fight against the discriminatory effects of using generic structures. And nobody points out the failing logic in that.
Or still others who fight for laws of self-identification. Simple questions suddenly become difficult to answer. What is a woman? What is a man? It is whoever identifies as one or the other. Ok. But what do they identify as? Surely you need a picture or a concept of something in order to feel the wish to identify as such…
And while people are preoccupied with these and similar issues, war and power hungry cliques are destroying a country and daily risking further escalation. Daily creating a more and more unstable world not only for the warring parties but for all those who live in Europe. The future looks bleak, the material well being of millions and billions of people is being endangered and potentially sacrificed for …. What exactly?
There is no just war. There never has been.
There is no virtuous side to a war.
If your life is in danger, you will defend yourself. That is legitimate self defence. This rule cannot automatically be extended to countries although international texts do just that. If a country is in danger of being taken over by another country the leaders of the former need to analyse the situation carefully and weigh the costs and the chance of succeeding. And then take the appropriate and morally defendable position.
You cannot hide behind vague concepts such as defending values if this means that while the conflict lasts you can yourself disrespect these values and act immorally. When the costs are too high then you need to find a different way of resisting. And not just look for money lenders who allow you to fight back and in this fight destroy your country and kill your people. This is not responsible statesmanship, nor “statewomanship”, not “statepersonship” nor “statecomedianship” for that matter. Anyone supporting this way of action by thinking that it is the moral, the virtuous thing to do is lying to themselves.
There is no virtuous side to stand in in a war except if you stand with peace. I invite you all to stand with peace and to revive the almost extinguished flame of the European peace movement. Let us all stand up against this madness and stand with peace.