Today is the sad anniversary of the Russian invasion of its neighbour, the Ukraine. Eight million refugees spread mostly across Europe and an equal number internally displaced, mostly women and children. The majority of those who fled do not want to go back. Life in places like Switzerland and Germany seems a lot safer then back home and the war is far from over.
‘But the Ukrainians need their people to return and rebuild,’ I said.
‘All this talk of rebuilding is futile when the Russian army and the brutal Wagner group are still destroying towns, infra structure and killing people with impunity and no respect for any international agreements nor basic human rights.’
‘Their indiscriminate bombing of cities, hospitals and even schools are all war crimes which is a bit of an oxymoron. How can you wage war without committing crimes against humanity?’
‘What you’re describing is the work of terrorists but on a scale a thousand times that of a single bombing or mass shooting. Every war is a dirty war and targeting the civilian population and destroying infra structure is just part of the Russian strategy. Terrorize the people, and maybe they will buckle and surrender.’
‘Therein lies the answer to the financing of a future rebuild fund.’
‘Apparently using the locked down oligarch billions goes against the laws and international agreements. They cannot just confiscate the moneys.’
‘There is a simple solution: Declare Putin and his cronies and regime a terrorist organisation and voilà, in one stroke of the pen you can now confiscate and disown, sanction and even pursue these bastards to the end of the world.’
‘That’s a simple but brilliant idea Camp. Why isn’t it done?’
‘Members of the European Parliament adopted a resolution declaring Putin and the Wagner Group to be state sponsor of terrorism last November but the legal framework is still missing in order to designate states as sponsors of terrorism.’
‘Otherwise, the Mayamar junta who are killing and hunting down their own people as well as the Rohingyas, would fall into that category. Since the Ukraine invasion this civil war has mostly been ignored by the world but it’s as brutal and nasty as any conflict presently raging through our world. Just check out the Geneva Academy’s list of armed conflicts.’
‘I’ve also read an article in The Economist that outlines how Russia dodges oil sanctions on an industrial scale, shipping a lot of crude by firms with no reputation, on battered old tankers that make longer and dicier journeys than ever before. Ukraine’s allies have good reasons to sanction Russian oil but that will not prevent spills and debris from nearby wreckages floating onto their shores.’
‘Did you know that only 8.5 percent of 1400 companies from EU and G-7 countries have withdrawn from Russiasince the beginning of the war, according to a study by the University of St.Gallen?’
‘It’s really quite simple as Biden pointed out in Warsaw this week: One word from Putin could end this war. Just one word.’
‘We’re full of cheer and sunshine today, aren’t we Camp. Any good news?”
‘Not when you read the daily papers and watch TV or the weather.’
‘It’s the feeling of helplessness that’s depressing. Maybe I should go cold turkey on the news for a while. It’s hard to keep a healthy distance and not get drawn into the headlines and sound bites.’
‘I’ll drink to that,’ Camp said. ‘Cold turkey on the news? No mass shootings, no suicide bombers, no wars, no climate disasters, no Republicans, no bad news? Not sure if I can do that but I’ll give it a go. Let’s see if the world changes while we’re not watching.’
‘Ready for a refill?’ Vicky asked, swapping our empties.
‘Always,’ we both said in stereo.
Another thoughtful essay. I applaud your (proposed) decision to take a break from the news. Although never as involved in current events as you are, I consciously decided to quit a few years ago, and my life became happier. I contribute what little I can to make a better world, and still get a trickle of the most important news from friends and family incl this blog :o)
The ostrich approach is soothing but fatal. There is no solution to the self destructiveness of the species, the built in human proclivity to destroy perceived enemies, what Kant called the “crooked timber of mankind”, a nice poetic expression popularly called “human nature.” My well-fed obese cat “Schrödinger” purrs when I stroke him after his morning Purina Cat Chow, but if our dimensions were reversed he would kill and eat me. Just feline nature…
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Ach Bruno, you’ve again triggered me to write another blog/essay Animal Nature, #121 of the collection now being assembled for my next book, Eclipse.