Wednesday 2 March 2022

The Elephant

Hello, dear readers!

I don’t want to write this week’s post.

It’s nothing to do with illness this time (see here for details on that), nor is it due to any lack of inspiration, or want for things to write about. No, this week there is a definite subject almost demanding to be written about; something which affects not just your erstwhile blogger but countless people all over the world.

I am, of course, talking about the distasteful elephant in the room. I’m talking about the Russian/Ukrainian war.

World Wars
At the date of writing, Russian forces are descending on various cities in Ukraine, with the Ukrainians answering in kind as they defend their land, their homes, and their lives. It’s a horrific state of affairs, and my heart genuinely goes out to the injured, bereaved, and displaced people already suffering the calamity of needless war.

Of course, the aforementioned conflict is not the only one to be raging across the globe right now. There are, as you read this, wars in Myanmar, Afghanistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Sudan. All are bloody, and all have cost lives numbering in the 1000s.

So why is this war different? Why is it so widely covered in the news? Why does it feel so close to home?

History Lessons
I think the answer to that question comes in two parts. First of all, we have the lessons of history. We have The Second World War, which, if memory serves, started when a dictator invaded a neighbouring country with dreams of regaining and ultimately expanding lost territory. All of which sounds shockingly familiar to Mr Putin and his stated goals.

That war saw the first use of nuclear missiles being fired, and this time around, should the conflict spread, and other nations get involved, those same weapons are more widely spread, with Russia holding more than any other country. It’s a sobering thought, and one which when you include the potential use of chemical agents, and the way modern media can be used to spread disinformation and propaganda, makes up the second point. The world is that much smaller, in so many ways, and that in turn heightens the growing sense of threat. Any global conflict today could be fought and won without the air-raid sirens ever crying out.

This probably sounds like so much fear-mongering. We are not in a global conflict; hopefully will never be in a global conflict, but I think it goes a long way to explain why the war feels so relevant and so close (To me, at least). We, as a species, have shown time and time again we have an unprecedented genius for destruction on a grand scale. We’ve shown we will fight and kill and die for reasons that, when you boil it right down, aren’t all that important. Race, creed, religion, nationality; all of these could be said to be minor distinctions at best, but all of these, along with the eternal motivations of greed, envy, and random lines drawn on a map, have been used as reasons to wage war.

Ideally Speaking
I might be an idealist; a liberal leftie peacenik, a hippie born a decade or two too late, but my general stance is war is bad-killing is bad- and violence generally begets violence. Yes, tyrants must be stopped, and lines need to be drawn in the sand when innocent lives are threatened, but sooner or later the guns need to be put down and the pens picked up as jaw-jaw takes the place of war-war, whether that’s around a table or at the hague. I’m a geek, so please forgive me, but I think Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor (in Doctor Who) said it best.

“Because it’s always the same. When you fire the first shot, no matter how right you feel, you have no idea who’s going to die. You don’t know whose children are going to scream and burn. How many hearts will be broken. How many lives shattered! How much blood will spill... before everybody does what they were ALWAYS going to have to do from the very beginning! SIT. DOWN. AND. TALK.”

Until next time


Hey, folks! If you would care to take a look at some of my more creative writing, then the links below will transport you to the magical worlds of two anthologies my short (and in one case, very short) stories have been included in. Feel free to check’em out!

Death Ship


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