How Russian-Ukrainian war is perceived abroad
A scandalous divorce or an attack by a maniac killer? Some perceive war as the second variant, but some perceive it as the first one
Let's say you witness a couple divorcing with a terrible scandal. They cannot divide their property and children; they publicly accuse each other of the most serious sins and despicable acts; they tell lies about each other to children, relatives, and friends; they make each other look almost like universal evil. It has even come to the point of a fight in which relatives were involved.
And you look at them and think: perhaps these two are not such bad people, they just speak with resentment and anger. After all, they used to love each other. They have children together and a common past. They should control their emotions, and if not make peace, at least sit down at the negotiating table, reach an agreement and part ways in a civilized manner.
Now suppose you witness a maniacal killer attacking a person. The victim is weaker, but he is fighting back with all his might. It's a completely different picture, isn't it? You call for help, call the police, maybe even rush to rescue the victim yourself – in short, you do everything in your power to neutralize the dangerous criminal. At least because tomorrow he may attack you or your child.
Have you guessed what we are talking about? About how the Russian-Ukrainian war is perceived abroad. Some of them in the second way, but some in the first.
Those who perceive it as a scandalous divorce call for peace, negotiations, and panel discussions with "good Russians." (Spoiler alert: there are no "good" ones, only useful ones). What is wrong with the "good ones"? The fact that they never recognize the responsibility of the Russians for everything they have done, blaming it exclusively on the Russian authorities. What are they good for? They are useful because they are somehow shaking up the Russian government and public opinion, albeit slowly. At the same time, they create a false impression in the West that "not all Russians are bad" and "you can talk to them." And it is not a fact that if we declare that we will not come to a certain event until those "good" people are removed, the choice of the event organizers will be in our favor. After all, we are "biased," our "anger speaks." And they are right, you see, they are looking for a compromise.
It's all very sad, to be honest. But we have to break this rock. We need to talk – not to the Russians, of course. We need to talk calmly and carefully, having evidence of their crimes, and in no case using unverified information that can be refuted. We need a cohort of speakers that must include people who are pleasing to the Western eye and ear – women with pre-war non-military backgrounds, LGBT+ people, and people with liberal views. With intelligence and endurance, with the ability to speak. With the ability to explain clearly why compromise with a maniac is not an option. And so on, little by little – dropping water wears away a stone.
About the author. Olena Bilozerska, officer with the Ukrainian Armed Forces, volunteer, blogger.
The editors don't always share the opinions expressed by the authors of the blogs.