By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, February 27, 2022
War is fairly well known for killing, injuring, traumatizing, destroying, and rendering homeless. It’s somewhat well known for diverting massive resources from urgent needs, preventing global cooperation on pressing emergencies, damaging the environment, eroding civil liberties, justifying government secrecy, corroding culture, fueling bigotry, weakening the rule of law, and risking nuclear apocalypse. In a few corners it’s known for being counterproductive on its own terms, endangering those it claims to protect.
I sometimes think we fail to properly appreciate another ill effect of war, namely what it does to people’s ability to think straight. For example, here are some opinions I’ve heard in recent days:
Russia cannot be at fault because NATO started it.
NATO cannot be at fault because Russia has an awful government.
To suggest that more than one entity could be blameworthy on the same planet requires claiming that they are each exactly equally at fault.
Nonviolent noncooperation with invasions and occupations has proven itself very powerful but people shouldn’t actually try it.
I’m against all war but believe Russia has the right to fight back.
I oppose any and all war making but of course Ukraine needs to defend itself.
A nation with a Jewish president cannot have Nazis in it.
A nation at war with a nation with Nazis in it cannot have Nazis in it.
All those predictions that NATO expansion would lead to war with Russia have been proven false by Russia’s president pushing a bunch of nationalistic ancient identity stuff.
I could go on, but if you haven’t gotten the idea by now, then you’ll be off sending me unpleasant emails by this point anyway, and I want to change the subject to something more positive, a rare gust of sanity.
Not only are we seeing some people make at least some sense, but we are seeing war protests in Russia that put the teeny tiny crowds in the United States to shame. And we are seeing mutual support across borders and propaganda narratives between U.S. and Russian and Ukrainian advocates for peace.
Thousands of people in the U.S. have posted messages of solidarity with Russians protesting for peace. A few of the messages lack a bit in politeness, appropriateness, or firm contact with reality. But many of them are well worth reading, especially if you’re looking for some grounds to think humanity might be worth the effort. Here are some sample messages:
“Brothers and Sisters against war on both sides of Ukraine and Russia, we are with you in solidarity! Keep your will and faith, we are all fighting with you and continue to do so!”
“Watching an invasion by Russia feels similar to watching our own ‘super power’ country attack Iraq and Afghanistan. Both situations are appalling.”
“Your protests are not unheard! We support you from afar and will do what we can from the USA to stand in solidarity.”
“Russians and Americans want the same thing, an end to war, aggression and empire-building!”
“I wish you strength in resisting your war machine as I do my best to resist the U.S. war machine!”
“I am so in awe of your protests. Free speech is not something you can take for granted, I know, and I am inspired by all of you. I am hoping for the best for each of you, and for your country too. We all long for peace. May we have peace, and may your actions help bring us closer to peace! Sending love.”
“The people all over the world are united in wanting peace. Leaders are out for themselves in most places. Thanks for standing up!”
“We support you in non-violent action. War is never the solution.”
“I respect the courage that all of you have shown, we must all lock arms to stop any country from aggression towards another.”
“You inspire us!”
“I have nothing but the deepest admiration for Russian citizens who are protesting the war against Ukraine, and am disgusted by the American government and NATO for their continued hostility towards Russia which has helped fan the flames of war. Thank you for your brave stance against this reckless war.”
“Your protest gives us hope for peace. At this time the whole world needs to achieve solidarity so that we can solve the problems that confront us all.”
“We must maintain solidarity in the peace movement, and remain nonviolent.”
“Thank you for being so brave. We know you put your own safety on the line for protesting. May peace come soon to all.”
“So glad the Russians have the character, integrity, wisdom, knowledge, and intellect to stand against war and its horrible ramifications.”
“Thank you for standing in solidarity for peace. We must continue to do so, in spite of our governments. We honor your courage!!”
“People around the world want peace. Leaders take note! Stand strong all who fight for peace and stability.”
“Thank you for your amazing bravery! May we in America and the entire world live up to your example!”
“People must find a way to unite for peace. Governments have proven time and time again that they are, “Addicted to WAR”! It’s never a solution; always a continuation of the initial provocation. – – Let’s us find a way to overcome this addiction, we all benefit from working together – in peace.”
“I stand with non-violent resistance actions across the world, and especially now in Russia. Making war is an assault on our shared humanity and I denounce it, no matter the nationality of the perpetrators.”
“In solidarity with all who oppose war and who seek common ground with all humanity.”