The price of war
I cannot sleep well for the past week, my head is about to explode every time I read the news or social media for more than 2 minutes. I can’t even begin to imagine what people in Ukraine are actually experiencing. I heard a Ukrainian refugee talking about her biggest worry being how she will repair the washing machine a week ago, and then the next day she woke up in a situation of war.
I feel pride and a big sense of belonging to the world when I say nations unite against war, people offering their homes to refugees, IT specialists uniting all over the world to support Ukraine, and all other acts of humanity, solidarity, and togetherness.
I also feel shame because it seems like part of the society I live in, simply does not care about people suffering and dying in Ukraine with a couple of arguments mainly:
- It is a hypocrisy to put on flags and be sad for Ukraine, where were you when the same happened here and there – hard to answer this one, as I really cannot accept it as an argument for war. Should I be ok with Putin’s war just because I did not suffer for the people of Afghanistan (for which I did suffer btw)? No! War is not ok, despite who starts it and for what reasons and one injustice cannot be justified with another injustice. (People of Ukraine are thankful to see so many people showing their support on social media through flags, posts, etc. – so even if it does not do much, it tells people they are not alone and this is actually a lot!)
- This is a war between Ukraine and Russia, this should not concern us, we should chose neutrality as we are dependent from Russia – wow, first, where is empathy and humanity, and second of all – this is total bullshit. The entire world is impacted by this stupid war and whether we want it or like it, we are in it (we would be in it even if we were not part of NATO or EU). This war will trigger a global crisis, a humanitarian and a financial one and everyone should take a stand. This is not a war just of Ukraine, this is an European war, it attacks our values and believes, it attacks democracy and sovereignty and we are agreeing to what is happening if we stay silent and neutral. Europe managed to go decades without war, countries decreased their war budgets significantly focusing on other priorities such as the prosperity of their people and now all of this is at stake – actually it got already ruined. Especially we, as Bulgarians, having the history of 5 centuries of Ottomans not recognising us as a country, how can we stay silent and let another “empire” do this to a brotherhood country? Yes, we might not be strong in a military of financial sense of the word, but we should at least have pride and dignity and stay on the side of what is right. On the side of freedom and life. I guess we are so traumatised by our past, that we are still living ourselves as victims, not as someone who has a say in the world. Can we at least think of what would have happened to us if all nations had chosen neutrality when we were trying to gain our freedom?
- Russia is doing this for the right reasons, I hate Americans – I am not the biggest fan of American foreign policy and especially their “liberating” wars around the world, but let’s be honest – Russia is doing the same for decades, it just has lower media attention somehow. Can someone tell me what are the right reasons to start a war? To start a war in the 21st century when we should have learned our lessons as humans? To threaten with nuclear weapons? If they saw injustices in parts of Ukraine, if they felt threatened by NATO or EU, or whoever imaginary adversary, was this the right move (as there was to them maybe a hypothetical thread, no immediate thread was present at the time of the war decision of Putin)? So, no, this war cannot be justified and I think leaders should stop re-living history and focus more on the really important things, like the well-being of their citizens.
Probably there are a lot of other arguments and I am really shocked by the level of disinformation around me. People waving Russian flags and supporting propaganda, openly lying about what is happening, refusing to call this a war. And a shockingly and shamefully low number of people to protests in Sofia against the war in Ukraine.
I stand with Ukraine because I am Bulgarian, but I am also European, and a citizen of the world. I stand for human rights, democracy, freedom, respect, love, and a sense of unity and belonging. I am just human, so yes, maybe other conflicts around the world did not strike me as much, but those people I know, I have colleagues whose families are still in Ukraine, I can speak to “real people” suffering there, it is like this is happening to my nation. This should not make me less of a patriot, all the opposite. Waving an Ukrainian flag together with the Bulgarian one on our national day would be a proof that we are a great nation. Unfortunately we aren’t and the Russian flag was waved today on Shipka. Sacrificing ourselves and our comfort for the greater good is what truly makes us humans, so be it at the price of oil or bread increasing, or accepting a refugee in our homes.This is the price of peace and freedom. If we let this be a precedent, who knows who will be next?
As a recommendation: Yuval Noah Harari, Bruno Giussani: The war in Ukraine could change everything https://www.ted.com/talks/yuval_noah_harari_the_war_in_ukraine_could_change_everything