Stop the War
War is always painful. It brings destructions, devastations and deaths. Peoples' lives and livelihoods are uprooted. Schools, hospitals, shopping malls, nursing homes, apartments, community centers are bombed. Bullet ridden bodies of men, women and children lie on the roads and the side ditches have congealed blood filled rocky ice like compassionless stones.
Human history is full of wars, invasions, occupations of foreign lands and genocides. From the time of antiquity, the invaders and the aggressors try to justify their bloody actions. They cite past injustice fallen on a segment of a population as the precursor. They cite security risk posed by the invaded nation as the root cause of their occupation.
Russian invasion of Ukraine falls into the same pattern.
Was there injustice in breakaway eastern Ukraine from 2014 or before? Most possibly there was.
Did the injustice in eastern Ukraine got world's enough attention? Most probably not.
But does it give any justification of Russia's invasion of Ukraine? Are the missiles, bombs and tank shells falling on civilian filled cities and towns and villages all over Ukraine based on any righteous moral principles? What moral principles are there in the killing of innocent children? What righteousness are there in the indiscriminate massacres of sieged people?
In a charged environment when war rages and ravages and the fear of expanding that war and a global unstable economy are real possibilities, people may have various opinions of war, and it's people's fundamental freedom to choose a side or not choosing any side. What is painful is to observe the logical fallacy based whataboutism. It is an age old technique that attempts to discredit the opponent's position by charging hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving the argument .
The whataboutism arguments related to Russian invasion of Ukraine is going like this: why are people so vocal about Russian invasion of Ukraine when they kept quiet in other wars or violence? For example Israeli occupation and wars on Palestinian people, Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Syrian wars, Kashmiri issues, the wars in Africa, etc.
If one is observant one should note that this classical usage of logical fallacy in the attempt to discrediting people who are vocal against Russia's despicable aggression against Ukraine is sidestepping the current on going war where everyday and every hour in Ukraine civilians' homes, shelters, their hospitals, their life and livelihoods are destroyed.
When I was growing up, many of the children books my father bought for me to read were Russian folktales. In Bangladesh, Russian writers were popular. Many of us grew up reading great Russian literature translated in Bangla. So many wonderful stories! Many of the details I have already forgotten, but gist and the morals of the stories are universal in nature. Be good. Don't do harm to others. Never be silent in the face of injustice and aggression.
Russia is a large nation. It has a long and decorated history. Russians are proud people and like all human beings they also want to live free of fear and in freedom. The unforgettable contribution of Russia in the fight against marching Nazism and Hitler are well known. In Bangladesh's independence war in 1971, Russia was supporting Bangladesh and was against the invasion of Bangladesh by then West Pakistani forces where millions of innocent civilians were killed and millions of people had to flee their homes and sought shelters in neighboring India.
This is all good. Russia was on the right side of history then. What is not good is to have blind support to any nation, may that be Russia, or US or one's own motherland, if that nation becomes the transgressor and commit war crimes. How can one blindly support someone who shares one's religious or ideological faith or a shared community but commit crime against humanity?
Is Russia a saint nation? Does everything that United States do in the name of its foreign policy based on morality? Is China not doing any crimes against its minority Uighurs? I can probably cite every nation of the world in this context, from the weakest to the most powerful, each and every one of these nation has shameful past and many are sadly involved in current criminal acts against its own citizens or involved in troubling activities in foreign lands. In autocracy and plutocracy it happens more than in a stable democracy. None of the world's nation is free from cruelty of the past and none of them are saint.
Human beings have selfish genes. We like to take care of our own first. We like to raise our voice louder when we see someone from our own background or community or ideology get violated or subjected to injustice and we keep quiet or perhaps not protest loud enough when we see people from other background or ideology or nation get bombarded and uprooted.
Humanity is not perfect. We are the amalgamation of contradictions and imperfections.
Still, humanity made huge leap in the positive direction in last few hundred years. We are not in the medieval world of rampant marauders and naked conquerors. Science, technology and the lifting of trade barriers lifted billions of people out of the depth of endless poverty. Despite the recent lockdowns and setbacks from global pandemic, the longevity of human beings show upward trends if one considers decade to decade data.
Russia is a global power in terms of its arsenals, weaponry, natural resources and historical influences on many nations. This Russian invasion of Ukraine is not only obliterating the yearning and freedom of an independent nation, it is also bringing in the specter of old and meaningless cold war that my parents and grand parents' generations had to suffer from for many years. Russia has large number of nuclear weapons as do United States and many other nations. If the unthinkable happens, by accident or by malicious intentions, my entire being becomes numb and I shudder from the bone chilling thought of total destruction of this world where humanity made so much progress in the right direction but all of this can end in a heart beat.
No one in his or her right mind should support Russian invasion of Ukraine. The killings and maiming of innocent people in Ukraine should be more than enough justification for not staying silent. History has ample precedence of despot dictator who tries to cling to his power and tries all he can to expand it by invading foreign lands or attacking its own vulnerable citizens by dehumanizing them first. Unless it is checked with global collective cooperation, this illusion filled invasion can expand to other nations and can very well trigger the all feared third world war that the world must do all it can to stop.
Stop the war in Ukraine!
I stand with Ukraine!
1. Whataboutism. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whataboutism