Wednesday 9 March 2022

Are we bystanders?


Ukraine, War, Flag, Soldier, Ruins

We are currently watching, most of us in horror, a strong country invading a peace-loving neighbour. Is it about land ownership? Annoyance about NATO’s reach? Or is just the work of a megalomaniac?

Putin is being compared with Hitler and some people are suggesting that when we see him in the media it is not always Putin himself but a lookalike. A few even mention clones. Is he really like the charismatic failed artist who could make excellent speeches but who in the end spent more time training his dogs than working on war strategy? Is Putin more in control, actually more evil and more to be feared?  

Good people living in Nazi Germany couldn’t find their tribe. At least now with social media we can though even here we have to put our heads above the parapet and risk attracting trolls. Activist Russians have found their way around bans on social media and are giving us the news about what Russian people are actually thinking. Not all are obeying blindly or through fear.  

But we need a little caution before we expect too much of ordinary Russian people. Putin has made the spreading of fake news a crime. So should in fact lock himself up and throw away the key?  He said there would be no invasion of the Ukraine.  He said this isn’t a war. This is an invasion. This is a war.  And he is breaking international law in that he is attacking civilians.

I personally don’t think we in the UK are doing enough. Boris Johnson has spoken about sponsorship and there is now a points system for allowing Ukrainian refugees into our country.  Compare that with the free travel offered by Germany, who also accepted just under a million Syrian refugees. We seem to take some pride in the Kindertransport. No doubt a lot of good and brave people worked to make that happen. But it offered help to a mere 10,000 children and then there had to be sponsorship as well – the equivalent to £3000 today. 10,000 compared with the 6,000,000 who were murdered. I’ve read the minutes of the committee meeting that set this up. There was a lot of hesitancy and a lot of fear that if we did more, anti-Semitism might grow in the UK. It ought to have been a given that it would not be tolerated.       

Are we bystanders? Should we now get off the fence?         

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