‘It used to be the autocratic East against the democratic West or the poor South vs the rich North with all the countries caught in-between like the Far and Middle-East, South America, the South Pacific,’ I said to Camp.
‘Yes, and today most countries are siding with the democratic West as evident in the 141 vs 4 votes at the UN, condemning Russia’s or Putin’s war against Ukraine. Yet, there are large, populous countries like Indonesia, China and India who are not on NATO’s and the USA’s side when it comes to arming Ukraine or condemning Russia but are willing to help in humanitarian ways.’
‘Only North Korea, Belarus, Syria and Eritrea stand behind Russia. No surprise there. Nobody else condones or supports this horrific war but it’s a different world from the one after the second World War when the US was the sheriff of the so-called free world.’
‘Except they interfered without impunity in other countries’ elections and regimes and fought proxy wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria,’ Camp said. ‘Also, the writing was on the wall, at least since 2014 and even before. Russia was never going to be a western style democracy especially under Putin who hates the west and the USA in particular.’
Camp is away at a book fair this week. I admire his faith in books and writers. ‘They are the keepers and tellers of the stories,’ he said. ‘It’s what distinguishes us from the other life forms, the stories.’
Here are my thoughts on the recent unleashing of the dogs of war in the Ukraine by their alpha dog, the warmonger Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.
The recent, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Putin and his henchmen, will result in death and suffering, destruction and misery, mostly for the Ukrainians but also for the Russians. All for one man’s hubris and delusions of grandeur which is propagated on Russian State TV by his ‘Lipstick Army’: women TV commentators and pseudo journalists like Margo Sacharova, Margarita Simonjan or the Russian spy Anna Chapman.
I walked into the pub and saw Vicky polishing glasses at the bar. ‘I hear you had the covid,’ I said. ‘Yeah, it wasn’t too bad. A couple of days of headaches and congestion. It scared me though but I soon got over it. Troy, my son, probably brought it home from daycare. He never had any symptoms though. I now have two jabs and one recovery. Should be good for a while.’
Everything seems so normal here: The pub, the lovely view, the beer. Meanwhile Europe is at war and the death, destruction and lasting impact on the world, the environment and the crippling psychological impact and devastation of Putin’s brutal war are ongoing. Ukraine is suddenly Aleppo or Srebrenica or worse.
When Camp walked and sat down, I knew that the war in Ukraine was the elephant in the room. No way we could not talk about that catastrophe. He plunked down his newspaper, I think it was the Globe and Mail, and sighed. ‘It doesn’t look good,’ he said.
‘I hear a lot of people pointing out how lucky we are to be living here, on the Westcoast in British Columbia, to be born where we were and that it is even a privilege to be who we are and that we should be grateful for it all etc. Do you feel privileged and lucky Camp?’
‘I have to admit, I’m happy to live here, considering Putin’s insane war of attrition in Ukraine, but then again, we’re all connected. I don’t feel privileged, certainly not because of who I am or where I come from. I had nothing to do with it. And lucky? Luck implies active participation like rolling the dice, playing the cards, buying a lottery ticket, so no I don’t feel particularly lucky or privileged.’
‘But you’re born in a free country, into a middleclass family, never had to go hungry or without a roof over your head, never had to run and hide, or go without meds when you’re sick. Don’t you think that constitutes privilege?’