The crisis in Ukraine deepens every day, every hour and sometimes it feels like a minute.
Earlier this week, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said February 24, 2022, the day the war in Ukraine broke out, “marks a historic turning point in the continent’s history”, as the West moves away from it. taken to Russia with severe penalties. destined to hurt the Russian economy, a situation which will undoubtedly herald a period of isolation for the country.
And Russia, as its troops pushed deeper into Ukraine on three fronts and its military convoys reached the outskirts of Kiev on Monday, responded by putting its nuclear forces on high alert.
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A historic turning point indeed. Although we don’t yet know how the European world will turn out with it, we do know that its leaders will not arm themselves with the “guns of August” depicted in Barbara Tuchman’s 1962 classic about how the “great powers broke into World War I. The war, where they threw themselves so needlessly, so stupidly and in fact so murderously into what has become arguably the deadliest military confrontation in human history. Where do we do?
This putative turning point should concern us all, because its ripple effects are sure to upset the geopolitics of the continent and, over time, reverberate in all other corners of this now globalized world of ours.
Destruction on our acre
War, we never tire of telling ourselves, is hell – hell if only for the human costs it exacts on our lives and the material destruction it causes on our acre. However, men — and they are almost always men — have always been at war since they acquired a consciousness that allowed them to ask themselves who they were.
They have fought all kinds of wars – world war, civil war, religious war, tribal war, economic war, cold war and more recently cyber war, as well as other types of war including the “war to end war,” such as the 1914-1918 Great War became known, albeit cynically, as an afterthought.
We decry war because we know in our hearts that in the end there are no winners, only losers. That this truth is, as we say, self-evident, finds an echo in the observation of the famous French belle-lettre Michel del Castillo (born in 1933), who, as a child, was interned in a concentration camp with his mother during the Second World War. World War and who, like Ann Frank, witnessed harrowing historical events that he poignantly exposed in his work.
“In a war there is neither vanquer nor vaincan,” he wrote. “Nothing but victims”. (In a war, there are no winners or losers, just victims.) And surely no sane human being would want to bicker over this deceptively simple but deeply gloomy commentary on the futility of war, regardless of the casus belli which justified it.
Yes, all of us ordinary people around the world speak out against war. And in the Euramerican world, war is no more decried than in its literature, particularly the “war novel”, a genre of creative writing that strives to illustrate the follies of war and the impact of the war on the collective conscience of the societies engaged in it. .
The War in Literature
And this is evident in novels dating back to Stephen Crane’s grim depiction of the American Civil War in the Red Badge of Courage (1895) to Eric Maria Remark’s Desperate Portrait of the Great War in AAll is quiet on the western front (1929), and Graham Green’s cynical portrayal of the First Indochina War in the calm american (1955) to satirize Joseph Heller (yes, one can satirize, albeit bitterly, a war) Catch-22 (1961).
We often wonder why human denigration continues to engage in war. Evolutionary psychologists say that men have waged war on each other since prehistoric times, when they were hunter-gatherers, and will continue to do so in ours, propelled, as they are, by the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection, where the “fittest” will prevail.
I say, bullshit! We have – or should have – come a long way since then. Surely we should be at a point in our evolutionary continuum, socially if not biologically, where we have already shed what was beast in us and discovered what is man. civilized man.
In short, we possess not only the will to do something, but the will to make sense. And there is no meaning in our human being when we do not yet recognize the more-less dichotomy that exists in war and peace.
— Fawaz Turki is a noted Washington-based thinker, scholar, and author. He is the author of The Disherited: Diary of a Palestinian Exile.