By Yurii Sheliazhenko, World BEYOND War, February 18, 2022
A month ago I published an article, suggesting that both West and East share equal responsibility to avoid the escalation toward major war in Ukraine.
Reason for that is clear and simple. Unfortunately, Ukraine became a battlefield of the new cold war between the United States and Russia. Two great powers are competing for control over Ukraine, using and inflating in their global power struggle militant nationalism of the Ukrainian government and similar militant nationalism of pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk. Peaceful life of Ukraine was destroyed by these militant nationalisms and great power struggle. Eight-year bloodshed took thousands of lives of civilians, turned millions into refugees and internally displaced persons, devastated our economy and debilitated our society.
In my article I said that if global leaders fail to negotiate sustainable peace in good faith instead of blame game and violent settlement of their power dispute on the local battlefield in Ukraine, they will be held accountable via nonviolent means by the people of Earth.
So, what is happening now? Ukrainian government prepares for war with Russia because of amassed Russian troops nearby, while pro-Russian separatist republics of Donbass are preparing for war with Ukraine because of amassed Ukrainian troops nearby. OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine reports about intensifying ceasefire violations. There is information in the media about shelling of urban residential areas and civilian casualties on both sides of armed conflict. Ukraine and the United States exchanged with Russia contemptuous accusations at the UN Security Council.
Economic sanctions are on the table in White House, anti-West alliances and recognition of independence of separatist republics are on the table in the Kremlin. Coalitions are built, faces are lost, threats are made and limited destructive blows are starting. That’s how conflicts escalate.
Looks like the United States and Russia are playing tug of war, pulling on opposite ends of Ukraine. So, it is time to hold both accountable. But how? First of all, by telling the truth.
Great powers hate when we tell the truth, because their power is based on great lies that vanish facing truth. Lies divide people to rule them. And truth, because of its non-contradictory nature, unites people of the world, empowers and nonviolently enforces peace.
The greatest lie is that “we” are angels, and “they” are demons. We did nothing wrong and peacefully holded our positions, of course armed to the teeth and vigilant for full safety. They attacked first, without warnings, without provocations on our side because we just calmly observed them in rifle sights, doing no harm, and before that they mocked us by inviting us to peace talks where they had no intentions to surrender, so they deserved our refusal to talk. You say they say we attacked them first?! Fake news and disinformation!
The mainstream media of East and West are hijacked by the war machine which hypnotizes people talking about imminent war, supposed invasion of the Russian army to Ukraine, or Kyiv army with NATO-supplied weapons to Donetsk and Luhansk.
Who benefits from such cries à la “the end is near,” obviously intended to be self-fulfilling prophecies though mostly already turned into falsehoods? Not people who pay for war and lose welfare… Scandalous politicians who try to wag the dog? Possibly. Bloodthirsty commanders seeking glory of war and promotions? Probably. Military contractors on all sides? Definitely!
But war is never inevitable. War is always a choice, a wrong choice, and people of the world should raise voices against the wrong choice. And you can see more people on the streets of Western cities protesting against war with Russia. We had antiwar street actions in Ukraine too and we know about antiwar street actions in Russia.
We should stop the war machine. If the war machine sow panic spreading horrors of military intelligence, we should resist, unite and call to respect common sense and peaceful life of civilians. If the war machine tries to convince us that peace talks are impossible and peace agreements mean nothing, we should say more loudly that war is not a solution, inclusive and good-faith peace talks are.
Truth may be unpleasant, complicated and unexpected, it may reveal that there are no good guys or bad guys, only good behavior to reward and bad behavior to restrain. But let’s say it clearly: no conflict has only two sides, us and them; there is always a third side of common good, the side of truth.
Never take a side of war. Since you want peace, prepare for peace.