Pavlovian reactions create victims among those who take a balanced, measured and mature approach, like the Portuguese Communist Party
The international reaction to the situation in Ukraine has been partisan, one-sided, biased, puerile, shallow and a prime example of public opinion being based on photoshop evidence and fake news in some cases, creating victims among those presenting a balanced approach, namely the Portuguese Communist Party. From day one, the position of the Portuguese Communist Party has been one word: Peace.
The Portuguese Communist Party was massacred in this weekend’s press, which accused the Party of having taken the wrong side in the military operation in Ukraine, and as a consequence risking the loss of the majority of its electorate.
This is yet another example of puerile, shallow reporting, manipulation of public opinion with skewed opinions and the attempt to create victims among those who do not just go with the flow without asking questions. From day one, the position of the Portuguese Communist Party has been one word: Peace.
The fact is that the Portuguese Communist Party is the only one which has taken a balanced and pondered position from the beginning, taking into account the full context of the current situation, listening to both sides and presenting an opinion based on reality and not fantasies. There are a number of issues here which cloud the truth.
The fact is that both Russia and the Portuguese Communist Party are wholly misunderstood and this is the fault of non-reporting or biased reporting over decades. Let us start with Russia. The Government of Russia is in the hands of United Russia, the Party which President Vladimir Putin leads. It is not the Communist Party, the main opposition party (not these fringe figures which a Russophobic West speaks about, like Kasparov, Navalny and company, who hardly garner any votes at all). I repeat, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation is not led by Vladimir Putin nor is it in government today.
So any connection between the Portuguese Communist Party and Vladimir Putin or his United Russia is utter nonsense. Secondly, the Portuguese Communist Party is NOT in favour of the current military operation in Ukraine. From day one, the position of the Portuguese Communist Party has been one word: Peace.
Let us now move on to the position of the Portuguese Communist Party. From day one, the position of the Portuguese Communist Party has been one word: Peace. That said, and without taking sides, I repeat, without taking sides, the Portuguese Communist Party and some of its members have pointed out the truth, in a balanced appraisal of the situation, showing political depth, maturity and responsibility, namely that inside the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the official armed forces, there are battalions of Fascists sporting neo-Nazi insignia. Where else on this planet do you find that?
And consistent with this approach, the Portuguese Communist Party, without taking sides, has pointed out that Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the President of Ukraine, has allowed these battalions to strut around wearing neo-swastikas, as part of his country’s official armed forces. Who else on this planet has allowed that?
President Zelenskiy has also allowed his armed forces to wage war against part of Ukraine’s own population in Donbass for eight years, so taking sides, putting up Ukrainian flags with the slogan “Solidarity” is an insult to the thousands of Russian-speaking Ukrainians in Donbass who have been massacred, and yes, including women and children. And yes, including grandmothers and grandfathers. And yes, including homes being destroyed. And yes, including schools being hit. And yes, including family pets being killed. And yes, including livelihoods being lost. And yes, including families losing their bread-winner. And yes, including kids losing their parents. And yes, including families being torn apart. By Ukrainian shells. For eight years. And those who decide not to speak about this believe it is acceptable?
And so without taking sides, a third-party bystander has the duty to reflect, responsibly, and present a balanced position, which is exactly what the Portuguese Communist Party has done. From day one, the position of the Portuguese Communist Party has been one word: Peace. Nobody likes being invaded, nobody likes being bombed, nobody likes to see civilian casualties. But only one side of this is being presented in the media, and this is not balanced reporting. However terrible it is to see mothers and children screaming, we must remember that Russian-speaking Ukrainian mothers and children have been screaming for eight years. The difference is that nobody cares, because they are Russian speakers. Tears taste of salt, whoever sheds them.
So however sexy it is to have President Zelenskiy presenting his version of the truth while addressing Parliaments calling for more weapons to prolong the conflict and cause even more suffering, however sexy it is for the international community to cozy itself up in a Hollywoodesque Sunday afternoon movie swaddle choosing the cowboy in the white hat, however sexy it is to paint yellow and blue stripes everywhere and hoist yellow and blue flags and place yellow and blue badges on Internet monikers, let us remember that the emotional knee-jerk Pavlovian reaction is only an emotive one without any consequence or substance, not an analytical one.
And so as usual, the position of the Portuguese Communist Party has been consistent and coherent. From day one, the position of the Portuguese Communist Party has been one word: Peace. While others have been calling for third-party players to enter the conflict, which anyway is illegal (under the terms of Convention V Concerning the Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers and Persons in Case of War on Land and Convention XIII Concerning the Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers in Naval War, which both stipulate that a state which is not involved in an armed conflict must not facilitate support to one of the parties. This is called the Law of Neutrality), the Portuguese Communist Party has been calling for peace, while recognising the context which others appear to ignore by choice or by default.
Perhaps it is time for people to listen, for once, to the Portuguese Communist Party. It operated for decades not out of self interest but out of a desire for Portuguese people (and those in its colonies (Angola, Cape Verde, Daman, Diu, Goa, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe Isles and East Timor) to be free. Its members were imprisoned, tortured and murdered. But still it worked clandestinely.
It is not a party which blows with the wind or goes with the flow just because. It has its statutes, it has its organisation, it has its policies and it has its way of presenting its positions after careful reflection. This means it weighs up all sides of an event after consultation with its members and other advisors, who spend a great deal of time debating and in discussion, in a process of profound dialogue.
How many of those hurling stones today at the Portuguese Communist Party had any idea that there was a situation of conflict in Eastern Ukraine (Donbass) for eight years? How many of those hurling stones today at the Portuguese Communist Party had any idea that Vladimir Putin is not a Communist? How many of those hurling stones today at the Portuguese Communist Party had any idea that Russia is not governed by the Communist Party? How many of those hurling stones today at the Portuguese Communist Party had any idea that the Portuguese Communist Party has nothing to do with United Russia or with Vladimir Putin? How many of those hurling stones today at the Portuguese Communist Party had any idea that President Volodymyr Zelenskiy allowed the war in Donbass to proceed and refused to implement the peace agreements (Minsk) which Ukraine signed?
How many of those hurling stones today at the Portuguese Communist Party had any idea that President Zelenskiy allowed neo-Nazi battalions to parade inside his country’s official armed forces?
And those who throw stones today agree with that? They think it is correct for a country to attack its own citizens? And why did the citizens of Donbass take up arms? To play soldiers, or to defend themselves against massacres being carried out by Fascists? Those who throw stones think it is correct for a country to have neo-nazis in their official armed forces wearing swastikas? Yes, OK then admit that Hitler won after all and those who turn a blind eye to this are in fact supporting Fascists, Fascist massacres and Fascist policies, for instance the banning of certain political parties in Ukraine (including the Communists). Is this democracy? Is this a poor little underdog being kicked in the teeth by a monster, or is this a case of a reaction to an undesirable action? I repeat, nobody likes military operations, nobody likes armed conflict, nobody likes to see homes destroyed or families torn apart. But those of us who are not Russians or Ukrainians should not be so one-sided, we must find balance, stop selling hatred and look for opportunities to create reconciliation and this starts with a responsible and balanced appraisal of the situation.
From day one, the position of the Portuguese Communist Party has been one word: Peace. Perhaps it is time for people to shut up, stop being ignorant and listen to the PCP, for once. The loss of a human life is a tragedy, Ukrainian-speaking Ukrainian or Russian-speaking Ukrainian. Let us not make the mistake of celebrating one side by demonising the other, whichever it is.
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey can be contacted at [email protected]