George Orwell is famously credited as saying, "The first casualty of war is truth.”
While this may be accurate, a close second would be the sense of compassion between combatants.
Any time conflict erupts it is not long before jingoism takes hold of a population. Swaths of individuals who theretofore would consider themselves unintroduced friends soon become anonymous enemies. Too often this sentiment is encouraged by governments as means to encourage the killing.
That being said, during this time of what ought be Christian Brotherhood some important facts should be reflected upon…
First and foremost — despite what news may tell you — few, if any, ordinary Russians hate Ukrainians.
Even as Western Media insults, slanders and maligns a Russian population which hoped to prevent this catastrophe the general Russian sentiment is one of determination rather than disregard. A sentiment of, "Doing what must be done” is far more prevalent than dogmatic hatred.
This is vital for outside observers to comprehend given the relentless negative characterization of the Russian attitude toward the fighting.
Even the most stalwart supporters regard liberating co-ethnic, Russian-speaking Slavs and averting later NATO hostility as the raison d'etre of the current situation — none want to fight merely to fight.
No one, or if so merely outliers, have deep enmity toward any Ukrainian civilians who are basically regarded as being tricked into fighting by their corrupt politicians.
Most military in every country would prefer not to fight. Sometimes fighting is necessary, as when the immoral leadership of a belligerent neighbor abuses your ethnic minority and threatens to aim nuclear weapons at your capital.
Even so, typically speaking soldiers to a man seek to accomplish their tasks and return home. Only a very small minority marches off to intentionally harm the life of another.
While atrocity propaganda alleging specific abuses (common during battle) attempt to imply the typical Russian solider is eager to commit all sorts of brutalities the truth is quite the opposite.
Most in the armed services are laboring under incredibly difficult conditions despite their commitment to duty.
All of which is to say Russians understand this fight it is not something any normal person wanted to do. There were roughly ten years of negotiations before events reached this point. Even President Putin has stated the conflict was not something the Russian government sought to occur.
The crucial aspect for future reconciliation is understanding each administration had a view to why fighting was required, but when it comes to those who did the fighting both sides were acting without personal malice.
After nearly a year of constant media manipulation one might believe all Americans despise Russians.
Much to the lament of CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, MSNBC and the rest of the Alphabet Media (often directed by the Alphabet Agencies of government) the regular American does not have antipathy toward Russians.
(Incidentally, a prime example of the astounding nonsense produced in the United States was the opener for the program Law & Order: SVU which is a crime drama supposedly dealing with sexual assault cases in New York City…except it begins with Russians killing Ukrainians for no reason…in Ukraine! This is what Americans have to deal with every day coming from our Controlled Media.)
Basically the American sentiment — never represented by media here — is that what is occurring in Ukraine is sad…that we should help suffering civilians…and that it should be over as soon as possible.
If you ask anyone the reasons for the conflict they will either say "Russia invaded Ukraine” or the media lie "Putin wants to make the USSR again”. Almost no one can tell you the complex causalities of the fight, which of course is by intention, being in the interest of corrupt American politicians to prolong it.
Despite this fact basic Americans do not hate Russians. Americans, as opposed to government, prefer to mind their own business. Americans only have an incomplete understanding of the situation because incomplete reporting is provided to them by essentially every English speaking news outlet.
To the extent possible, it is important for Russians to know the actions of American politicians do not represent the views of the American population.
Again, it is very difficult to explain the distinction between politicians and populations for Western nations to those abroad. The myth of the system is that government enacts policy approved by The People. Unfortunately this is seldom, if ever, the case.
Thus we have the current situation in which Europeans are undergoing a marked reduction in their standard of living. From England to Germany the voters are cutting back on holiday expenses, turning down the heat to save money and across the continent many are eating less to afford housing.
It is all because of the fanatical support of politicians for Ukraine. As with Americans, most in Europe view the battles as an "unfortunate situation” but hardly as the civilizational clash propagandized to them. Already in many countries have been marches for getting out of the mess.
Even so, European media often blames a foreign Russia for the hardships imposed by domestic policies.
Whether this propaganda will take hold is a critical matter during the coming months. It is vital for the world it does not. Europeans not involved in statecraft must not be the recipients of animus from abroad as they have little power to affect governance, and at this time for the most part want neutrality.
The danger exists when those who are disposed to pressing ending support for Ukraine are made to feel they are personally invested in the conflict. To the extent possible, perhaps beyond efficacy, strenuous efforts must be made to distinguish between The People and The Parliaments of these nations.
Whatever the causes or motivations, the Ukraine-Russian Conflict is not a concern of the familiar European who is trying to keep his employment, heat his home and feed his children.
Ordinary Europeans are not presently against ordinary Russians…and we must keep it that way.
Two final instances of the way forward for normal people after the fighting demonstrate what is seemingly impossible at this moment can be accomplished.
First, the American Civil War saw more dead than all other American wars combined. The enmity between belligerents was so intense few believed the country would ever again be united.
Except by 1913 was a sort of "family reunion” at Gettysburg — generally regarded as one of the fiercest battles and turning point of the war itself. Elderly men from either faction came together as comrades who had shared an experience and understood that to move ahead they could not look back in anger.
Here is rare footage of the meeting.
Second, although there has been a marked diminution of maturity in the past few decades, by the 1990s in America there was an understanding World War Two fighters in Germany were not inherently evil.
The film Memphis Belle told the story of the first American air bomber to reach the level of combat missions entitling return home. Statistically, that figure was impossible to reach meaning mathematically the men would die before being granted the right to be relieved.
What is important for the purposes of this discussion is at the end of the movie there is an Epilogue which dedicates the artistic work to all men who bravely fought on all sides during the war.
Here is the trailer.
A truism of every conflict is that it will end. When it does we must remember there was courage and sacrifice made by everyone. Despite the fact for many of us this battle was made unavoidable it will be to our credit to regard the humanity which remains when the firing ceases.
Preservation of Compassion is key to any forthcoming peace — and that is The Truth.
Guy Somerset writes from somewhere in America.
Many in Russia reacted painfully to the disappearance of private military company Wagner from the information field