“I need ammunition, not a ride.”
Six words that have changed the narrative of not just a war but of the entire human population for centuries to come!
Six simple words uttered by an otherwise ordinary simple politician and the President of a nation whom the world only noticed in small bursts when powerful men in USA or Russia used it to support their narrative.
Today Volodymyr Zelensky is not a politician or even just a leader any more. His words and acts have inspired nations to act and change track and to speak out for ordinary people who are bearing this loss due to a concocted and irrational vision of a dictator who still thinks of old grandeur in his weary eyes.
Zelensky is now an inspiration to the people to stand up for their rights, their homes, their families, their nation, freedom, free speech and for everything they care about.
Whatever it be the narrative that you support or believe in. Whether it is the narrative spread in the West that it is about saving democracy and freedom of small nations or whether it is the narrative of Putin that it is the right of Russia to protect its interest from the shanghaiing of NATO or the West towards former Russian allies. And I am calling it Putin’s narrative and not that of Russia as it seems that Russians are not exactly aligning to the idea of being labelled invaders and war mongers and are covertly or overtly supporting anti-war thoughts.
Whatever be the narrative that you support, it is clear that the emerging heroes of this war are the ordinary Ukrainians and their true leader Zelensky who are fighting and not fleeing this Russian aggression. They have not only been resilient in their spirit but have displayed that if an ordinary man is provoked and has the will to resist, he will have no fear and can stand up to any bully.
In this connected world of today, every minute new stories of human bravery emerge from Ukraine.
Of a soldier who did not blink an eye in going out alone to destroy a bridge with explosives to prevent the movement of the advancing army and sacrificed his own life to do that!
Of ordinary citizens standing up in front of Russian tanks and platoons despite knowing that death is just a second or a step away.
Of Zelensky himself being calm, composed, inspiring the world with his words and actions, leading his people during war time and yet continuously striving for peace and appealing even to his enemies in their own language for peace and compassion.
Let us also now ponder over a few more facts about this war.
First this is now a game changer and will not lead to hopefully ‘just’ a cold war for decades to come between the West and its allies on one side and Russia, China and their allies on the other side but also may lead to more regional conflicts from time to time. Despite seeing real lives lost in real time and catastrophic destruction, the West and any other country has not moved their forces physically knowing fully well that one move and it could trigger World War III and perhaps lead to destruction of mankind. While this works for the larger good, it also gives regional players an audacity to try more of such acts as they know that there is only so much that the other countries would do.
Secondly this war will lead to serious damage to economic recovery of the world which is already stretched and tired after a long pandemic. Economic sanctions on Russia, counter sanctions on other nations, the massive oil price increase that it has brought about, the supply chain movement crashes and the extreme volatility and fear in the currency and stock markets are hindrances which may become one too many for some of the weaker economies or corporations and will lead to greater human suffering.
Thirdly it clearly shows the moral bankruptcy of many nations including countries like India, Israel and the Middle East. Particularly India which has always boasted of advocating territorial sovereignty and non-alignment! India has come out clearly as lacking in real morals, a country which only believes in real politick and can stoop to any level when it comes to their own personal interest. There is no way they could have gone against Russia and in fact on the contrary, it looks now clearly that Putin had taken clear support from Xi, Modi, Bolesoro, MBZ and many other dictators of the world before beginning this aggression. Also how the right wing is supporting and advocating the idea of an “Akhand” Russia clearly foretells their vision for South Asia and what dangerous and dirty ambitions they have in mind when they convert India into an Aryavratt.
And last but not the least, let us be very clear that this is clearly turning out to be a WHITE MAN’S WAR. Any person that still needed any proof that racism exists in real world has now seen hundreds of instances emerging in real life. The worldwide coverage of the war by journalists who have treated the victims as one among their and ‘worthy’ of their empathy while comparing with the uncivilized citizens of Afghanistan or any poor African nation; the way Europe and the entire world is welcoming Ukrainian refugees and giving them food and shelter while just a few months back they were turning a blind eye to Afghan refugees or what they do regularly to refugees of other countries; the billions of dollars of grants which the Western world is coming out in support of Ukraine while at the same time taking stance of budget cuts while supporting other citizens of colored nations and above all, the racist treatments being given to refugees from Africa and Asia both by Ukraine itself and to the countries that the poor souls are fleeing too. These are clear examples that empathy strikes the Western world when it sees WHITE SKIN and there is less value to a Brown, Black or Yellow skin in this world. This does not take anything away from the valour of Ukrainians or their undue misery at the hands of a pervert Russian regime, but the last two realities show that despite war or peace, mankind will still enable hate to rule over human minds and enhance sufferings for ‘lesser’mortals.
What will be the end result? How long will this extend? Will these damages be long lasting or will the nations and the people recover? No one can predict any of these answers especially when one faces a mad man on a mission to change the world with immense power and fingers well set on nuclear options.
However what are clear are the following future narratives.
Whether this ends as Zelensky as a victor or a martyr, his name will be remembered for generations to come as a man who had the ability to make a doomed nation believe in itself and rise up to the occasion. A thousand Zelenskies are ready to blossom and stand up for what is right in times to come in all corners of the world and he has given hope to mankind that there can always exist a reason to live and die for.
Also mankind never learns from its mistakes. One war ends and other starts. One suffering does not end and prior to that we are ready to embrace another one. Hate, aggression, bullying, intolerance, these will not just remain strong words but passions which will be real hindrances to our future for times to come.
Only tears cross my mind while thinking of the dying men and women in the streets of Ukraine including even the young Russian soldiers who have been ushered into this war by a mad dictator. I can only end with the words of the Persian poet whose poem in original Farsi was recited by a Ukrainian solider just a few days back. That sums the misery of this war and of many that mankind has faced before and will face in years to come-
“At times I wonder
Who will tell you the news of my death?
The moment when you hear of my death, from someone
I wish I could see your beautiful face
Shrugging your shoulders, carefree
Waving your hands — it’s no matter
Nodding your head, “Wow! He died! How sad!”
I wish I could see it
I ask myself
Who would believe
Your love burned to ashes
The jungle of my soul”