Year 2022 CE 1443-1444 Hijri. In every sphere, we are one step behind. It is obvious we need to take one step ahead, and fast.
Something is wrong. Using handicapped people as pawns in a game of political hatred just about takes the biscuit. If that is not evil, I don’t know what is.
As I have been saying, when reporting on a conflict one should find balance, reporting all angles, including the context, drawing the time line at the beginning and refraining from hate crimes. Reporting one side after using censorship to tailor public opinion, as the European Union is doing, banning social media accounts just because people are reporting what the Russian Ministry of Defence is saying, is not finding balance. It is disrespecting all sides.
Let the public hear all sides and treat them with respect. They are capable of reaching their own conclusions. They know that a lot of incriminating material is removed from the Net, so you will not find videos about Fascist massacres in eastern Ukraine using Google. This does not mean they did not happen. By now everyone knows that the counter-argument “Prove it or else it doesn’t exist” is more complex than finding evidence which has been deleted. Nice try but we are aware of that one. These days people can join discussion groups and speak to people who saw, have their own videos and photos and experiences. This is called finding balance. Censorship just to stifle a free flow of information is a Fascist practice and is one step behind.
Everyone knows that there has been a conflict in Donbass since 2014. Everyone knows that there are two sides to every story. Everyone has heard of the Azov Battalion. Everyone knows about the Trade Union building Fascist massacre in Odessa. Everyone knows that the Ukrainian government has not clamped down on Fascist militia groups.
Everyone knows that those complaining today were the first ones to breach international law since 1999. Everyone knows that some of the Kosovo darlings favoured by the West had been terrorists, targeting emergency services in Serbia and engaging in human organ trafficking, selling kidneys. Everyone knows that the USA and UK not only breached international law in attacking the sovereign state of Iraq but also sidelined the United Nations Organisation as the peace-broker. I said this at the time and I said this to President Bush and Prime Minister Blair. I told them that this would boomerang and so all we have to do is to apply the four-letter word Iraq to any discussion on high moral ground.
Everyone knows that up to one point two million Iraqis lost their lives as a direct or indirect consequence of this illegal attack in which military hardware was used against civilian structures, everyone knows the barbarity of that attack, called Shock and Awe. Everyone knows that thousands and thousands of Iraqi kids had their eyes destroyed by shattering glass, lost their faces, limbs, families and homes because freedom and democracy was being imposed on them from thirty thousand feet.
Everyone knows that the NATO no-fly zone in Libya was expanded into a spectacular mission creep which saw NATO boots on the ground (although “we do not comment on the acts of our special forces”) in a conflict which again saw military hardware used against civilian structures. Everyone knows about the attack on the Libyan water supply. Everyone knows about the attack on the Libyan electricity grid. War crimes.
Everyone knows that NATO countries were supporting outlawed terrorist groups on their own lists of proscribed groups in Libya. Everyone knows that NATO used mercenaries in Libya. All these were direct breaches of international law. Everyone knows about the indiscriminate attacks on civilian structures occasioning the deaths of many children in Libya but can anyone remember hearing about this in the news? No, they remained silent about it, pulled the footage from the Net and now deny what happened and say “prove it”. Do they think people are stupid, or what? Everyone knows that a NATO coward in the sky slaughtered Saif Mohammed Muammar Gaddafi, one year and 3 months old on 30.April 2011 along with Carthage Hannibal Muammar Gaddafi, 2 years and nine months old and Mastura Humaid, four and a half months old. They then described the hit as a legitimate target. So much for NATO.
So everyone knows they pull evidence from the Net then say “Prove it” but every time they do that everyone knows what happened and we have means, albeit now not so easy to follow, but means, to follow up and find the evidence. People these days make records of things and share things outside Facebook, you see. They have lists of their contacts written in little books, so closing an account is simply an annoyance, not a disaster.
So it makes no point to censor Russian sources when an armed conflict is taking place and people are mature enough to draw their own conclusions because they know both sides exist anyway. The more they try to censor out one side, the more useless the information they produce becomes and everyone knows it. They are one step behind.
Nobody likes war or conflict, except maybe psychopaths. Everyone knows that. Nobody likes this conflict.Nobody likes to see people crying, leaving their homes, leaving their pets behind, losing loved ones, whether they are Ukrainians or Russians or Russian-speaking Ukrainians in Donbass (not LPR and DPR), especially children. Nobody likes the Iraq conflict either. Or the one in Kosovo, or the one in Libya or the one in Syria or the one in Yemen which nobody is speaking about. So presenting this as something peculiarly Russian is being one step behind. We know what has happened in the world since 1999.
Now Russia is experiencing sanctions across the board, starting with handicapped youngsters competing in the Winter Olympics, after all the effort they have put in, after all the pride they have taken to become Olympians for the country, and they are used as political pawns by the West? I mean, it doesn’t get any more evil than that, does it? Have they shot anyone or invaded anyone? No, the decision just fills the rest of us with seething, white-knuckled, pulsating waves of anger. But imposing sanctions is again, one step behind.
The sanctions, being so widespread, are in fact extremely interesting although it gives nobody any pleasure to see people losing their jobs. But for many years now I have been saying sanctions are an opportunity for Russia to diversify the economy away from mineral resources and so the more massive the sanctions, the greater the opportunity. I see Russia looking at new markets in the future, forming a trading bloc with China, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines, Iran, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Nigeria, South Africa, Brazil (already all the BRICS included), Uruguay, Paraguay Venezuela, a tidy little bunch comprising far more souls than the FUKUS-ASS cuntries (Whoops, a spelling mistane) and their sycophantic yapping chihuahuas.
So again, as a punishment, these sanctions are one step behind.
What we should be concentrating on is life after sanctions. Does anyone gain anything from seeing Russia ostracised? Maybe we can start with culture and sport and then start making some commercial sense. Does the West really think that Russia will not sell its gas elsewhere? Where are they going to get it from? Ah right Algeria. That should be fun Allaaaaaaaaaahu Akhbar! Allaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahu Akhbar!! BANG! There goes the supply line, your grandmother will have to freeze to death next Winter, I am afraid. Again, one step behind. Europe needs Russia’s energy, period. Get real. Russia has alternative markets and can switch the supply line in an instant.
I did not enjoy seeing Iraqi kids crying, I did not enjoy seeing Libyan kids screaming with blood pouring from a gaping hole in their heads, I did not enjoy watching videos of nuns being raped and decapitated by bawling takfiri hordes in Syria (which by the way Russia was fighing while someone else was arming them, guess who? Yeah, you got it. See how people know shit?) and neither do I enjoy watching Ukrainian kids crying when they kiss Daddy goodbye. But guys, Ukrainian Fascists in the Azov Battalion were murdering Russian-speaking Ukrainians in Donbass. This is happening today. Nobody has said squat for eight years but this is the context. Now, not all Ukrainians are Fascists and most just want to get on with their lives. We know this.
These are the ones I feel sorry for, not the Fascists. We do not want to see another generation of kids growing up in a climate of hatred. So how about the media stop the hate crimes, now? How about the media stop concentrating on anti-Russian slants and start reporting objective facts, including the context?
And suppose everyone starts suggesting post-conflict scenarios, such as sports events, cultural events. Joint teams. Playing together. Painting together. Writing poetry together. Hugging one another. Fascists and censors do hatred quite well. The rest of us tend to go for love.
In 2000, I was very excited about being one of those to witness the new millenium and I did not care whether the date should be celebrated at the end of 1999 or at the end of 2000. I did both and at the time still had my nuclear family with me on both occasions. I was also excited about a new world order. Kosovo had just happened and in the lull between then and 9/11, we had hope for a world which could live as brothers and sisters around a common lake, our seas. We thought Kosovo was a glitch. We had no idea it was only the start of a nightmare 20 years.
Vladimir Putin was already at the helm in Russia and halted the decade-long slide into chaos and humiliation, Tony Blair presented himself as an intelligent Prime Minister with plans for global development and in the USA, Bill Clinton at the time appeared less hawkish and more willing to embrace a multilateral world. A fund of a percentage of GDP for development projects was already on the table.
The Third Millennium. Wow. We were rubbing our hands together in excitement, wondering how we could take part. Finally we were all speaking the same language, if my readers remember.
Then Afghanistan happened. OK understandable after 9/11. But then Iraq? Like, WTF? Then Libya, then Syria and then Ukraine, with Russia staying out of it for 8 years insisting that Donbass remain inside Ukraine as per the Minsk Agreements (2015). So it is going horribly wrong. Where is the year 2000? Unfortunately, we can trace the hand of the West in all these conflicts, including Ukraine. Russia has always favoured a multilateral approach in which the UNSC is used as the forum to resolve issues. But it is difficult when your own people are being attacked and slaughtered and the other side refuses to listen and instead arms their enemies. Look at it from Russia’s viewpoint. OK Donbass is in Ukraine but does a country have the right to slaughter its own citizens? NATO expanding eastwards to Russia’s borders, why? And now we discover that NATO troops had started entering Ukraine before this current crisis started. What message was that sending to the Kremlin? Why didn’t Kiev stop them and take a position? Why were these troops moving eastwards? What about the billions of dollars of military equipment that NATO was already selling to Ukraine? What was that for? SO to cut this information from the public is one step behind, we already know what happened.
We can feel the hatred on two sides of a chasm opening before our eyes. This is not what we wanted in 2000, two decades ago. We wanted international peace and development, we wanted friendship. We wanted to see kids grow up with equal opportunities as a birthright. We wanted to see climate change addressed. We wanted to see conservation programmes for animals living under the threat of extinction. We wanted to see the oceans cleaned up. We wanted to address human rights, women’s rights, children’s rights. We wanted to hold hands with people, not glower at them down the barrel of a gun.
And now look at this crap. Take a look around. There are dozens of conflicts around the world, forgotten now under this Ukraine cloud. Yemen is one, there are many others.
So from time to time we need an international conference as we saw in Helsinki in 1975, as we saw in Westphalia in the 17th century. But we need adults in the room who leave their hats outside the door. We need to define or redefine frontiers to settle these conflicts for good and we need to go back to our dreams of 2000. We need a supra-national body capable of imposing international law. We have this in the UNO. It was destroyed by the Iraq disaster in foreign policy.
Why can’t Humankind come together?
Sticking my neck out here, but I don't care. Ukraine in NATO, no. Ukraine in EU? Why not? It is a commercial solution, not a military one and would benefit all the players in the region: Belarus, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, LPR and DPR, which would have the EU on their eastern flank and which would perhaps wish to join themselves. Perhaps the Brits would be against this because they spent decades ridiculing the EU before actually leaving it but everyone else seems to get along. They are selling stuff to one another, they are enjoying cultural initiatives together, they are respecting each other. This would be taking one step ahead.
Food for thought?
Read my indictment of NATO political and military leadership, which was refused by the International Criminal Court at The Hague and refused by the European Court of Human Rights.
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey can be reached at [email protected]
Up to 16,000 military men of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have been entrapped near the towns of Severodonetsk and Lysichansk