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A Happy New Year – For Whom?

No doubt I risk being called a kill-joy, or possibly worse, but to see images of New Year firework displays from around the world brings two thoughts to mind.  The obvious one is the cost of it all when people all over the globe  are suffering depravation, famine, and severe cost of living rises way above what they can afford. The second thought is how Ukrainians feel, particularly refugees who suffer forced diaspora in these same countries. To see these pyrotechnic indulgences, the wild enthusiasm of their host people, while knowing the suffering and horror of their fellow countrymen back in their home nation, must be particularly galling.

Why is it we fill our minds with a pretence of joy and happiness when the miserable truth of the world is out there for all to see?  For a huge swathe of the world’s populace Christmas is a time of misery and loneliness, yet the media and capitalistic entities are able to whip up a false sense of peace and goodwill to all men, totally obliviating the horrors of Ukraine, Myanmar, Yemen, Burkina Faso, Iran, Ethiopia, Somalia, and lets not forget Syria and Palestine.

It’s the first day of 2023. Is this the year when Western nations are going to stop playing the “People’s Front of Judea”(Life of Brian) in one endless committee meeting, and actually stand up to the latest Hitler-type Russian gangster to try his luck on the world scene? NATO and the United Nations were supposedly formed to prevent further warfare. So far neither has been too successful.

“An attack on one ally is an attack on all allies.”

It took forty-six years from it’s inception for NATO to take any military action against an adversary, and that was in 1995 belatedly against Bosnia. Ukraine may not technically be a member of NATO. Zelenskyy never got the chance to sign the bit of paper, but does that make the innocent citizens of that country any less special than those in Poland, or Britain, or France?

Damn it, no it does not!

Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine was an act of terrorism and a war crime. There have been many war crimes committed by the Russians in Ukraine since, and previously in Syria and Chechnya. Putin is now trying to repeat what he did in both those countries.

Ukrainians voted for democracy. Even before Putin’s invasion there was a majority in favour of joining both the EU and NATO. Just because Putin’s military shattered the possibility, is no reason for the West to sit on it’s hands and allow the atrocities of Putin’s henchmen to continue.

Back at the end of 2021 when Russian forces were gathering along the Ukrainian border and US Intelligence was predicting the invasion, NATO should have thrown all it had into the area around the Black Sea and warned Russia of a terrible reckoning if any invasion of Ukrainian territory occurred. Under such duress it’s very unlikely Putin would have taken the risk, and his “military exercises” would have remained as just that.

As it was, NATO sat on it’s hands and debated, like the People’s Front of Judea in the Life of Brian, allowing Putin to walk right in.

I wonder how many others, like the writer, feel deeply ashamed by the obvious reluctance of Western leaders to stand up for what is right and proper in the face of armed brutality and potential genocide?

Or maybe it’s just easier to sit in front of the TV screen, or out on the streets at midnight after a belly full of ale, watching the displays of fireworks and joining the crowd of revelers for whom, for a time at least, Ukraine and it’s beleaguered people no longer existed.

After all, it’s not happening to us, is it?


3 Replies to “A Happy New Year – For Whom?”

  1. My thoughts exactly not forgetting Pakistan and the millions of homeless still in floods, schooling suspended crops unplantable.

    We are on our way to sure extinction, I have resolved to do what little I can with my limited resources and try to make even one small difference every month.

    HPNY RD, it can’t be easy for you but I am so glad you’re writing again.


  2. It puzzles and dismays me that we have not yet banned fireworks. Theu serve no useful purpose, are dangerous, cause untold injuries each year, and provide at best brief moments of “pleasure.” Surely, we can do better.

  3. WWW ~ Yes indeed, and I read today that the whole national power grid in Pakistan has gone down. Millions without power.

    David Gascoigne ~ sadly, I’m not sure we can do better. If governments tried to ban them there’d be an outcry on New Years Eve, or Guy Fawkes Night in the UK. Fireworks are cemented into these traditions. I’d be happy to do without all these so-called “traditions” if only the money they cost could be put to a more responsible use.

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