It takes courage to talk peace in Ukraine

A Europe in distress, an unstable continent, could further hurt the connected global economy and add to the pandemic woes that people are enduring bravely



Firefighters work on a fire on a building after bombings on the eastern Ukraine town of Chuguiv on February 24, 2022. Photo: AFP
Firefighters work on a fire on a building after bombings on the eastern Ukraine town of Chuguiv on February 24, 2022. Photo: AFP

Published: Tue 1 Mar 2022, 12:08 AM

Loss of thousands of lives on both sides. The human factor should always guide decision-makers and leaders who have expansionist tendencies.

Ordinary Ukrainians and Russians are already bearing the brunt of the fighting and displacement triggered by the Russian attack on Europe’s second-largest country.

There’s a looming refugee crisis in Eastern Europe. War can be the death of reason, of conversation, when shells and bombs drown out the art of diplomacy and dialogue.

The UN estimates that four million people will be displaced if the fighting continues. Destruction cannot be a solution.

A Europe in distress, an unstable continent, could further hurt the connected global economy and add to the pandemic woes that people are enduring bravely.

An economic recovery could take ages if this conflict does not end now, peacefully, and without further escalation.

Militarily, there is also a risk of nuclear war that would be genocidal in nature. The first use of nukes by any country would lead to a global fallout — a radioactive pandemic that could spread across the world. It would take generations to rise from the ashes and the radiation that will buffet the atmosphere.

Russian forces, meanwhile, are facing stiff resistance in the battle for Ukraine. Moscow has put its nuclear forces on alert which is cause for global alarm. The silver lining is that both sides have agreed to talks in neighbouring Belarus. Negotiations are the only way out of more bloodshed.

The world knows it but the combatants — one the attacker, the other the defender, have a lot of ground to cover to build trust.

Their common lineage, ethnicity, cultural links, even language has meant the calls for peace in both countries and globally are growing louder.

Protests for peace are breaking out in global capitals. Thousands are turning up, and social media has been an enabler in the process of finding a just solution.

Every advance on the fronts of war, retreat, and retaliation are being documented by ordinary citizens, conscripts, and soldiers who have stepped up as journalists to tell the tale of a war that has been thrust on our common humanity.

But for what? Land and resources? It breaks hearts and speaks to our conscience. Fathers sending children to safety as they stay behind to take up arms; students stranded and far away from their loved ones; debris and destruction on the streets.

There have been acts of defiance and courage against the odds. Indeed, peace demands courage from both sides. It’s an act of bravery to leave those weapons behind and start the process of talking and healing.

Both Russians and Ukrainians demand wisdom, vision, and patience from leaders who may have lost their way in the cacophony of war.


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