Let us bury hatred and let us sell love. Let us build bridges, let us sponsor projects which favour peace and reconciliation. Love yes, hatred no.
Hatred began this whole sad episode in our history. My mother went through a childhood shaking glass out of school books and climbing under or out from under a table, dictated by the sound of air raid sirens. Her house was bombed directly and if the family had not moved the day before, they would have been killed and I would not be here (neither would my twin brother). After the war my mother never expressed any hatred for the Germans whose bombers and missiles had accompanied her childhood although she spent the rest of her life speaking about the war and Doodlebugs (V1) and V2 rockets “which were not as frightening because you couldn’t hear them coming” and just before she passed away in 2020 at over ninety years of age, she told me that Covid was more frightening than the Doodlebugs because at least with the Doodlebugs you could hear them and this thing is an invisible evil.
So her brilliant mind, which she put to good use helping communities for over seventy years, was shaped by references to war. She, and I, and many others, by the turn of the century, thought that we would never see conflict again. But the flames of hatred flared up again in Ukraine, which to a certain extent had become a training ground for Fascists. The Azov Battalion marched around sporting Nazi insignia and murdering people. There is still one reference to a massacre that has not yet been pulled from the Net and that is the Trade Union building massacre in Odessa in 2014. Probably it will soon disappear and people will respond to references of it by saying “Prove it, present evidence!” (which has been pulled from the Net).
This hatred forced the residents of Donbass to take up arms and certainly would have shaped the decision by the residents of Crimea to leave Ukraine and join Russia for protection. Indeed 57,000 Ukrainian refugees have now gone to Russia to find some peace and quiet.
So hatred is the context of what we see today. What we see on the Internet now is hate posts against Russia, hate articles against Russia, hateful references to “Putin” and in general, hate crimes demonising everything Russian and all Russians.
On the other hand, not all Ukrainians are fascists, not all Ukrainians were affiliated in the ranks of the Azov Battalion, while not all Russians hate Ukrainians. This is the story I want to sell, I want to sell love. I do love quite well, hatred is not part of my vocabulary.
So I am not going to write about the atrocities carried out against Russian-speaking Ukrainians over the last eight years, unreported by the West who ignored Russian-speaking children because hey, they were Russian-speaking. As we know, for them a Ukrainian child is worth more than a Russian-speaking child obviously because we never saw images of children murdered by Fascists in Donbass being paraded like trophies on western TV, which in turn thinks it is sexy to use handicapped Russian athletes as some kind of political pawn.
I am going to find love stories as a means to start, already, a peace and reconciliation process at least in my writings and one such story is the one I am going to tell today.
The residents of the Tula region have collected together humanitarian aid and have sent it with love to the residents of Kharkov (Kharkiv in Ukrainian). The total volume is 120 tonnes and it has been delivered over the frontier in the region of Belgorod. The consignment includes food, drinking water in bottles, medicines, clothes and bedclothes. It was delivered by the Russian Armed Forces to the residents of the area of Kharkov.
The Russian Armed Forces have set up a headquarters working 24 hours per day linking professionals and volunteers from all federal, state and corporate and private entities to coordinate the delivery of humanitarian aid to Ukraine and its residents. The Headquarters is called Headquarters of Interdepartmental Coordination which will supply humanitarian aid to the population of Ukraine in the areas controlled by Russian forces and the residents of the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The HQ will also help in evacuating refugees, both Ukrainian and foreign citizens, who will all be treated with equal respect.
In conclusion nobody likes being invaded. Nobody likes being shelled for eight years either. This is a love story, not a story of hatred. Let’s all do more love stories than fanning the flames of hatred by presenting just one side and taking actions out of context. Let us all contribute towards Ukrainian children and Russian children playing together and having fun, not looking at one another down the barrel of a gun for decades to come. Let’s do peace and reconciliation and let those of us who are not Russian or Ukrainian make sure that we try to build bridges instead of engaging in hate crimes, and that includes the political class.
Love yes, hatred no.
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey can be reached at [email protected]
Nearly every day there is some retired American military General on the news doing an interview about the Ukrainians “taking back” Crimea or “pushing out” the Russians or claiming 1991 borders “must be respected” for the dispute to end