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Thoughts on Ukraine

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I wrote what you are about to read at the beginning of the year. It was for an article competition for which I was a runner-up. Unfortunately the war is still going on and what I wrote is still relevant.

I don’t I have anything new, clever, or insightful to say about the situation in Ukraine. I am just going to write and see what comes out.

There have been sanctions against Russia. The same did not happen when the USA and UK were the aggressive force invading Afghanistan and Iraq. I am forced to wonder why.

The word racism has been bandied about on Twitter. Is that the only reason?
When we see the streets of Ukraine being bombed and the displaced people it is heart-breaking. Yet the same thing has been happening around the world before this and the world has not given the same response.

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I think it has to do with the conceit that Europe was ‘fixed’ for want of a better term.

When we invaded the Middle East it was seen as an area that was always fighting but Europe had been at peace for a long time – except that is not entirely true either.

The hard truth is that it is easier to accept horrible things when they are not happening to us.

Maybe if we felt any loss as keenly as we felt the death of one close to us, human history would be a lot less bloody.

Commander Riker (Star trek: The Next Generation – The bonding)

Us is a broad term and I don’t think it is just racism it is any group we don’t feel like we belong to. I might be splitting hairs with that statement.

Nevertheless it is easier to accept horrible things when
we feel it is happening to ‘them.’ The other side of this is that we cannot get emotionally invested in every horrible thing happening on on this planet. If we do we end up as a barely functional shell.

I didn’t know that similarity was required for the exercise of compassion.

Ambassador Delenn (Babylon 5: Confessions and Lamentations)

Delenn is absolutely right. We should exercise compassion no matter who is hurting. The fact of the matter is though, in general, we do seem to need people to be like us. What is like us?

I have been a fan of Star Trek for as long as I can remember. The philosophy of that show is that humans came to a point where we could all work together in peace. Us was the human race and not just the human race but an alliance of other planets.

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In the original series each character came from a different place. Sulu, for instance,
represented Asia, Scotty was Europe and Uhura was Africa. They all worked for the same organisation. To reiterate in Star Trek us was the human race as one whole.

I need to talk about Chekov. Chekov was the navigator on the original Enterprise and he was Russian. This was so important at the time. His first appearance was in 1967, during the Cold War.

Roddenberry was trying to show us that things would get better and the enemy would
become a friend. We are still waiting. And now we have another conflict and another generation that will see Russians as the enemy.

Except it is not really Russians. It wasn’t then and it is not now. And that is true of every war we have ever fought. Leaders make those decisions and everyone else suffers for it.

I do not write this because I have any answers. On the surface the solution is simple. Putin needs to withdraw his forces, resign, and the process needs to be started to set Russia on a course to become a true democracy. It sounds so simple doesn’t it?

I don’t know what is going to happen. I do not know what to think. I do not know anyone in Ukraine. I have not been personally effected. And I can do nothing about it. I just have to hope that this comes to a peaceful resolution as soon as possible.

There is only one small way I have been effected. I have a friend who’s family live in that part of the world. She’s worried about the possibility of the war expanding to other countries. I hope that nothing like that happens.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has been exemplary. He is staying and fighting with his people. I wonder how many people around the world can honestly say their leader would do the same.

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I hope, I hesitate to say think, that Ukraine will come out of this where with their sovereignty in tact. If Ukraine falls I don’t think they will go quietly. Russia will still have a fight on their hands. I cannot help but think of G’Kar’s words when his planet was conquered.

No dictator, no invader can hold an imprisoned population by force of arms forever.
There is no greater power in the universe than the need for freedom. Against that
power tyrants and dictators cannot stand.

G’Kar (Babylon 5: The Long Twilight Struggle)

When this pandemic started I had hope. While I knew it would be awful I thought some good might come of it. That people might learn to be kinder and better. That did not happen. And now it is not even over and we have a new crisis to deal with.

Each day we seem to slip further and further away from an idea of peace and treating all
humans with respect. I leave you with the words of the Doctor.

When you fire that first shot, no matter how right you feel, you have no idea who is
going to die. You don’t know who’s children are going to scream and burn! How
many hearts will be broken! How many lives shattered! How much blood will spill
until everyone does what they were always going to have to do from the beginning.
Sit down and talk.

The Doctor (Doctor Who: The Zygon Inversion)

I hope that very soon the fighting ends and the talking begins.

I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

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