There are always so many opinions about the correct thing to do, the right way to behave, the right approach to adopt. Talking to people you see such a plethora of attitudes towards any imaginable issue. And this is amazing. People should be free to express themselves and free to think the way that matches their education and upbringing.
Russian invasion of Ukraine has made me think, – not only about this horrible war, but about numerous other world problems, stemming from the belief that everyone has the right to think how they deem fit. To understand what we should be allowing as a society, as a community, I think it is important to decide what world we are building.
Are we building the world where various views can co-exist regardless of their extremity and disregard for basic human values? When some people are closing their eyes on what other people are doing even when some believes and actions lead to unimaginable horrifying consequences? Or are we building the world where we all collectively agree that some things and believes cannot be tolerated for the benefit of all members of this society?
And yes, here lies a very fine line between what is right, and what is being dictated to us as being right. Excluding some people and views from the dialogue can very quickly turn the community into a dictatorship. But this will happen only if you exclude the rightful agent and allow wrongful agents to participate in building the society.
By this logic an inability of the world community to decide what should be allowed and what should be prohibited is, unfortunately, as inappropriate as excluding some people from the benefits of the free world. You simply cannot allow a racist, a fascist or a gay-hater to have the same right to the platforms as other members of the free world. Allowing any hatred or discrimination towards the groups of the society that have had no say over being the members of those societies is in fact much worse than banning some people from the right to a dialogue.
Some things, some believes, some upbringing, some ideologies, some religions cannot and should not be allowed anywhere and under any circumstances if we are really trying to build an adequate healthy society.
Why did I decide to write this during the war in Ukraine?
The fact that so many people, mainly russians, are claiming there is an alternative truth and there is some rational explanation to killing people in Ukraine; the mere fact they are allowed to claim that – not only in their country, sponsor of terrorism, but in various Western nations, which they inhabit, shows us that we have failed as a society, as a community of the world. Just like Nazis were not stopped in time to prevent a tragedy that took the lives of millions innocent people, equally the world today is allowing yet another genocide by giving the russian part of the world an agency and right to express itself and perpetrate the belief they are fighting for some kind of a sacred mission.
We have allowed this. The world has not only been tolerating russian dictatorship for over 20 years, but it has also been actively funding it! At least Europe hasn’t been funding Nazis’ economy, thanks God!
The world has allowed millions of russians to come to the West and be free in their opinions, – in their hatred towards the West, in their repulsion towards the liberal values, in their belief that Ukrainian people are a lower cast, in their support of the ongoing genocide in Ukraine. The whole world has opened their arms to its ideological enemy, whose main desire would be to see the West fail. Is there anything more ridiculous than enabling an enemy? Enjoying all the benefits the West has to offer, russians keep wrecking the foundations of the liberal world from within.
Russians hate the West so much, in fact, that they are openly greeting the fact of the nuclear annihilation of the Western capitals.
The situation with russians made me think about way more “dilemmas” that the society seems to allow to exist.
Can we realistically all agree on what is the acceptable thing to do and what is not?
I think we can. And we must.
I will never understand people who are judging others by the colour of their skin, sexual orientation, or nationality. It is like judging a child for being born in Kosovo and not New York. A child is born wherever it’s born, with no influence over this fact whatsoever. A person cannot be blamed for being born Black, White, Asian, Brown, or green! You are born the way you are born. A person cannot be judged or discriminated against for being a Chinese, Australian, American, russian, Jewish or South African! It was never even their choice to be any of these socio-political constructs. You cannot judge a person for liking men, women, rubber dolls, you can’t even judge a person for being attracted to a goat if the goat could have a say over that sexual intercourse! It is absolutely everyone’s prerogative who they want to fuck or how they like to spend their time. Why would anybody even care, if the other person, rubber doll or a goat is ok with this?!
You absolutely cannot judge or hate the person for what they were born with! Saying someone is worse because they are Black, Jewish, Ukrainian, russian, gay or disabled is not just irrational, it is dangerous.
You cannot wish death to Jewish, or Germans; Ukrainians or russians.
What is true, however, is that Germans did wish death to the Jewish. And russians do wish death to Ukrainians. Not only they wish so, both groups of people have been (Nazis) and are (russians) actively exterminating another group for the quality of national belonging, which both Jewish and Ukrainians were born with! Obviously, both aggressive groups have created myths to justify their inadequate believes to other members of their groups. Just like Nazis blamed Jewish of anti-German sentiments or the desire to destroy Germany from within, russians are blaming Ukrainians in harbouring Nazis, discriminating russian speakers and so on.
What is important to note that while both Nazis’ and russians’ claims are from the domain of Guillermo Del Toro’s magical realism, the whole world has been tolerating both claim for long enough for those claims to establish themselves as a newly created national identity of Nazis as well as russians. Hatred towards Jewish and some other groups of people has been in German self-identification for years. Hatred towards Ukrainians and the desire to eliminate them as an “unworthy” not russian enough group has been russian national trait for centuries! I am not a big expert in all the world’s genocidal tendencies, but the fact that most of the world have been closing their eyes to the mere formation of such ideologies is undeniable.
It is important to note that neither Germans, nor russians, nor Chinese (towards Uighurs), nor any other group of murderers were born to hate. The inhuman desire to see other groups of people suffer and die has been carefully and methodically bred by some people, forces or sometimes those very nations to justify their existence and mask their insecurities and mistakes. And this is the crucial difference for how the world should be viewing these things.
Political attitudes, believes, ideologies – these things can and should be judged. If we do not want to be living with many more Holocausts, slavery, sexual trafficking, domestic violence, child abuse, discrimination of women, serial killers, terrorist attacks or paedophilia, the acquired qualities in fact have to be reviewed and classified by the society, – very carefully and with no exceptions!
Maybe some people might not like the Jewish, but the ideology of exterminating them as a race can and should not have been allowed. It should have never been allowed to be counted with. It should have never been allowed to be appeased by the Western world. Churchill did make a stance and told Hitler to get lost when Hitler has been offering a Union. It should not have been Churchill. Churchill should have never had to deal with Hitler in the first place. Hitler should not have been allowed to be appointed a Chancellor after Mein Kampf saw the light of the day!
Equally Ukraine does not have to be fighting for its existence! Ukrainians should not be begging the West to arm themselves for protecting their very right to exist, and to defend the right to live in the free society, with Western liberal values. The West, the whole world should have eliminated putin, all his surrounding and disabling an omnipresent russian propaganda years ago!
The world must have acted on Uighurs; the world had to act on Rwanda. These things would have never happened if we were choosing what we allow to exist in our world, and what we should eliminate.
Exterminating Dutch because someone doesn’t like the tulips or splitting the bill sounds ridiculous, but it is an identical example to the hate towards Jewish or Ukrainians.
Since there can never be any rational explanation as to why a group of people should be murdered, the aversion to tulips, ceviche, rainy weather, or vodka are as worthy reasons for killing Dutch, Peruvians, British or russian as Nazi’s dislike of the Jewish nation or russians’ dislike of magical Nazis in Ukraine.
Rwandan genocide of 1994, ongoing Chinese genocide of Uyghurs, Holocaust, Holodomor of 1932-1933, Bosnian genocide in Srebrenica in 1995 and the current genocide in Ukraine are all the results of believes and attitudes. There can be nothing wrong with being a Rwandan, Uighur, Jewish, Bosnian or Ukrainian, but many things are wrong in wishing and perpetrating death to a Rwandan, Uighur, Jewish, Bosnian or Ukrainian.
Politics, education, and upbringing that lead a certain group of people into thinking killing others is a correct thing to do has to be brought to the light of the international community. And it must be acted upon. Immediately.
Genocide is a very extreme case of erroneous acquired qualities and believes. But it is only one of many.
Let’s talk about racism. Some people tend to think that Blacks or Asians are somehow inferior. Some people in Western societies deem Eastern Europeans to be inferior too. Worth watching any second Hollywoon movie. Emily in Paris representation of Ukrainians as thieves is one of many, many racist stereotypes of Eastern Europeans. Indeed, if Blacks, Polish or Ukrainians are occupying lower positions in the society, it is mostly the result of their background, which includes decades of discrimination by those very groups that deem them inferior.
So, if you adopt this logic and lock the person in a cage for a year, suddenly you’ll discover the person being surprisingly inferior to others because he’s probably gone nuts in this cage. Equally, – if you take a girl and rape her for a month, like russians are doing to women, children and elderly people in Ukraine, – you might discover this girl to be psychologically distressed and maybe even harmed forever. You can also kill a women after you’ve been raping her for a month and burn a swastika symbol on her, like russians are doing in Ukraine. And then you can claim she is now inferior. Yes, she’s been raped for a month in front of all her family, later had a swastika burnt on her body, and later killed by you. But can we really classify a killed raped girl and a mad person from a cage somehow inferior?
All these cases might seem unrelated, but the idea is identical. You cannot claim someone, or a group of people is inferior for what another group has done to them. Blacks are not inferior just because they have been forced to occupy lower social positions than Whites. Equally Whites are not worse, or inferior because their ancestors have been using Blacks as slaves. Germans are not inferior because their grandfathers were burning Jews. And even russian children are not inferior to any other children because their parents hate the West and want Ukrainians dead.
Blacks, however, would indeed be inferior if they had all the economic opportunities the Whites have and chose to ignore those to be able to claim they are being discriminated against. Whites are indeed inferior if they are ever supporting the history of slavery or deem Blacks to be worse for the colour of skin or economic standing. Germans are unforgivably inferior to the whole world if they do not condemn what their ancestors have done to the Jews. And every russian child will grow up to be an equal scum to their parents if they grow up adopting the believes of the fabulous “russian world”.
Only people can make themselves superior or inferior. Anyone who claims otherwise is clearly a narrow-minded idiot, and, most likely, also a racist and a psychopath. And yes, these types of attitudes cannot be tolerated in the world, despite the freedom of speech, and even the freedom of thought… It is not only wrong to label a certain group of people inferior due to their place of birth or colour of their skin. It is dangerous and must be punished by the international law.
Yes, some manifestations of BLM movement should be viewed in the same way the White’s racism towards Blacks is viewed. Equally, any “positive discrimination” and giving or denying an opportunity for anything rather than objective skills, values and abilities is still a discrimination. It should not be allowed. Period.
Germans should not even be allowed to talk positively about their Nazi past. Russians should never be allowed to talk positively about their Soviet past, putin, Ukrainian genocide or their love for the russian culture. The very underpinning of the russian culture has been an acute hatred towards all russian neighbours, the West, and, honestly, against themselves. The russian ideology, the ideology of the “russian world”, if the world chose to actually study it and act on it, is the ideology of anger, dissatisfaction, revenge, conquest and enslavement; it is an ideology of a perverse Orthodox religion of continuous suffering, which is supposed to give some kind of respite in the “next life”; it is an ideology of “Mumu” dog, where a woman-owner tells her slave to kill the dog- his only friend – and he merrily does so to satisfy his master; it is an ideology where an absolute majority of people have to live in a near starvation for some illusionary idea of “Great Russia”, which they have been fed their whole sad miserable lives; russian ideology is the justification of hatred towards life, towards those very russians propagating this ideology. The ideology of russian national identity should have never been allowed in a normal society, for it is the identity of self-destruction, paranoia and hatred to anything different.
The fact that we now have 140 million of people poisoned with the idea of this very identity and “russian pride” is a failure, it is a collective failure of our world. Chechnya, Georgia, Ukraine and, honestly, pretty much every nation neighbouring russia, have suffered from this ideology heavily and continuously, but the main victims of this ideology have always been russian people!
Eternally enslaved by the ruling elites, sent to the wars these very elites have created, dying for no interests of their own, russian people have been made fools of for centuries! WWII, which was possible thanks to Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, war against Chechnya which started after putin has bombed apartment complexes in russia, current war against Ukraine, – justified by the presence of mythical Nazis, – all these wars have been manufactured or enabled by russians to serve their people an idea of a “common enemy” which should justify the need for a strong leader in power, even if it means scarifying the level of your life.
The world appeasement of the russian ideology is destroying a huge country with unlimited potential, unmatched natural beauty, and insatiable resources. And now, the appeasement of russia is also destroying the whole Ukrainian nation, a nation of 44 million people, a nation that have nothing and never wanted to have anything to do with russia or its cursed “russian world”.
If you look at the situation from a sociological and cultural view rather than the geopolitical one, Ukraine has as much to do with russian culture and aspirations as Australia or Peru. Just like russians are inventing Nazis and discrimination against russian speakers in Ukraine, they could have equally created a story about Nazis in Peru and anti-russian sentiments in Australia. They could obviously start bombing Peruvians and raping Australian children to eliminate Nazis or save russian speakers.
Of course, Nazis could have also started killing Ukrainians, Roma, disabled, russians, Polish, Hungarians, Belarusians and Blacks. Ah, wait a second. Nazis were indeed killing all these groups of people. Realistically, there is no reason for russia not to nuke Australia or Peru if doing so would justify the idea of the “russian world”.
Ok, let’s leave russians alone for a second. And move to LGBTQ. The idea that someone should be discriminated, hated or beaten up for their sexual preferences is outright barbaric. And, yes, there are still countries and societies where homosexuality is illegal or can be a reason for a murder, like some Middle Eastern countries or russia, where being gay is extremely dangerous.
Hating and beating gays is same as beating me for liking men. Being attracted to men is biologically encoded in me just like liking men is encoded in homosexual men. We cannot control it. We have not chosen it. And, thus, we should not be blamed or judged for it. Isn’t it that simple?
Now, 365/ 24/ 7 pride parades and pride flags in some countries make me equally baffled. I don’t go around screaming that I like men. Not sure I understand why people are doing so in the societies where LGBTQ rights are respected, and no one really objects homosexuality. Of course, I understand having these parades and protests in places where their rights are being oppressed. Everyone has the right to fight for their freedom. But imposing your way of life on others seems disrespectful at least. Equally, both hiring or firing a person for being a gay or straight, a Black or a White, a woman or a man is plain wrong.
Just like you cannot discriminate against Ukrainian or russian for where they have been born, you cannot discriminate someone for who they want to love. Judge or discriminate people for being mean, rude, racist, lazy, hypocritical, or cruel, but you cannot discriminate people over something they never had any say over.
Think it goes without saying you cannot discriminate people based on sex. You cannot deem women inferior to men, because they are physically weaker, or they are biologically programmed to give birth. Equally there is no need to judge a man for having to provide for a woman if she chooses to take care of the kids or judge a man for being the one taking care of the kids when the woman is making a career and providing for a family.
Any kind of judgement or hatred towards people for who they are cannot be tolerated and must be brought to light. Equally, any kind of judgement for choosing to be who you want to be, and living how you want to live, should not be judged, or discouraged in the slightest, if this choice has no negative impact on other members of the society.
But then, if we are looking to keep living in a society of cowards and opportunists, we can keep closing our eyes on hatred, intolerance, and genocides. After all, sometimes it is better to be blind, than see Auschwitz, Oswiecim, GULAG, Bucha or Mariupol.
Sorry that you and your family are forced to go through this war.
But more than that – you are correct that these socio- and geo-political categorisations of human beings have for far too long been used to discriminate, punish, or wage war against those that *someone* feels are different or inferior and it must stop.
Countries pandering to autocrats who commit violence against other countries, or even their own people is a vile neglect of the entire human race. Autocratic countries should not be allowed to participate in a global economy.
Also, I very much enjoy your writings – Ukrainians have such a way with words. The language itself is so poetic that when writing in English, Ukrainians express things in such engaging ways.
A Ukrainian friend of mine used to share her personal writings with me, which she would try to translate directly, and they were so beautiful. Every time I became so emotionally invested in her written world.
Thank you Jono for your support!
Re Ukrainians – I have never been nationalistic and always enjoyed learning other cultures even more, but with the current situation I am discovering Ukrainian culture and language are indeed very rich and profound
Hopefully, more people will grow to appreciate the culture of this eternally repressed nation and discover what we are fighting for
Might write an article on recommendations on best Ukrainian content. Here in the end there are some recommendations: