Written by: Jorinde Berben
Image credit: pexels.com

These past few weeks I’ve been thrown back and forth between my own story, my own small life, and the events that are taking place in Ukraine and the global consequences of those events.

It’s a mixture of feelings going from frustration and despair (I can’t believe this is happening, still, everywhere in the world), to feeling completely helpless (I don’t see how I could help), to feeling enraged (who the fuck gets to decide bombs get dropped on hospitals?) to a form of detachment because it is impossible to constantly feel all those things and still take care of two children and my own frail mental health.

As I was talking to a therapist last week, I told him about this constant feeling of guilt over the fact that we have so much where others have so little. And by so much I mean we have a roof over our heads, enough food so we can overeat if we want to and time in which we can enjoy ourselves instead of worrying about dying.

I notice that we, as people, keep looking for solutions to these problems. We want it to be simple, to be a story of good guys and bad guys (preferably one villain, that’s easiest). That’s what we’re built to do, right? See a problem –> find a solution. But the world stage has become so incredibly complex, and so inherently unknowable, that the solutions seem to elude us all the time.

Take the powers that are behind these wars. We know that the Iraq war was probably started for very different reasons from the ones that were vocalised in US politics. We know that there are victims both in Palestine and in Israel. We know that violence is profitable, for much more than the global arms industry. We know Putin tells his people a very different story from the one we hear. And I’ve talked to many refugees through my work with very different stories about the reality on the ground versus the news we see on TV.

For all we know, there is so much kept behind the curtains. There are huge corporations and banks that have a say in all big industries in the world, and (probably) in all big political parties, and thus play an invisible role in causing global events. The what, how and when of these influences is never breaking news, and journalists who get close to uncovering parts of these backdoor dealings are often not believed or silenced in one way or another.

Knowing this, being aware of how difficult (or sometimes impossible) it is to fully grasp the causes and political games behind all these wars and conflicts, only makes the reality of them more tragic. The thousands of people who die every day due to either direct violence or indirectly through starvation, disease, extreme weather. None of them asked to be involved in this. In fact, I think most of us would be hard-pressed to find anyone who thinks war, in general, is a good plan.

Yes, people want to defend their families, cities and countries, but if there’s no threat, they would much prefer to go play cricket, drink tea with their neighbours or finish high school. Don’t we all?

If only there was a little button we could press that would make it so that the only people ever injured in war were those who orchestrated it…

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