The longer the war in Ukraine lasts, the worse it gets. The survivors are facing increasingly desperate situations and the aggressor is maintaining his line of righteous excuses for all his war crimes. The news coverage shows unrelenting tragedy. Sanctions seem like they are having some impact, but I am still confused by a lot of the rest of the political rhetoric. Western powers don't want to enter the fray with troops or ships or tanks because then it would be WW3... but isn’t what's happening to Ukraine worth the whole world fighting back against it?
The reluctance by literally everyone other than Ukraine to put boots on the ground reminds me of the lead-up to the novel coronavirus becoming a pandemic. The WHO didn’t want to call it a global pandemic even as it spread from country to country faster than wildfire jumping the county line. Unfortunately, by the time whatever threshold they were waiting for was reached it was too late to start dealing with what was going on. The fire was already over the line. We should have taken the tiny virus more seriously and we should have done it sooner. Same thing with Putin. The powers of the world should have taken his antics more seriously and they/we all should have done so much sooner.
Now it's gone so far that it's almost out of control. What happens when Putin fails to take over Ukraine? What happens if Putin destroys Ukraine entirely and takes over the empty husk? Will he actually face international war crimes charges? Or will he continue to be insulated against consequences for his actions by his power and influence? Isn't his way of being in the world worth the world fighting back against?
I understand that fighting against injustice doesn't always mean fighting with tanks and troops. I get that we're fighting with other tools, like sanctions and social media. Possibly the only good thing to come out of this mess so far is how united the world seems to be in their opposition to this aggression. But it still seems like the international community is doing too little too late. And everyone is watching.
Just like climate change and racism and poverty. I don't want the world to end before we make it better. And if we don't fight for policies and practices and systems and institutions that address climate change, combat racism, and eliminate poverty, then those ills will definitely swallow this world. There are examples every day of where we're headed if we forget some things are worth fighting for (or against).
I just saw an announcement for a video game that takes place in the Harry Potter universe and promotes all kinds of terrible ideas. One of its designers apparently used to run an anti-social justice YouTube channel, so the tone of the propaganda isn't surprising. But it is upsetting. The original book series has been a soundtrack to my life for a long time. Like my own personal bible, I draw inspiration for being a better person from the anecdotes and characters within it. But more and more it is co-opted by bigots and fascists. So, I wonder if I should even keep using it? Then I think: why should I give it up if my interpretation is the version that’s better for the world?
I guess it comes down to whether it's worth fighting for.
In the case of HP, there are any number of other fantasy series to fall in love with and be inspired by. Terry Pratchett is probably just as well-known as JKR and has much to offer from his catalog. And there are all the beautiful coming of age stories by queer writers and authors of color that have come out over the last decade. But my desire to hold on to the HP story is not so much a defense of HP. It's more about not letting the assholes take whatever thing they want and ruin it. If I never say "no, you can't have that," then won't they eventually just ruin everything? Like the "ok" hand symbol or the swastika.
The case of HP is made even more complicated by the fact that one of the people I want to rescue it from is its creator. And therein lies the ultimate problem: too many people still like that franchise to abandon it to the ruiners. It's worth too much money (and money equals power) to leave it in the hands of racists and bigots.
Just like America. I often think about moving to another country. I have family roots in Europe and a skillset that could land me a job in almost any place. But I haven't pulled the trigger on that yearning yet because it feels like there's too much at stake here. One the one hand, I'm like "fine, America, you want to be racist assholes? Fine! I'm leaving you to wallow in your own suffering!" But then I remember there is too much power here. I can't leave all the money and fire-power in America to people with a clear deficit of empathy without also bringing all my concerns about what they will do with all that power along in my luggage.
If everyone interested in making the world safer and more just leaves, there won't be anyone mitigating the harm that could be visited on the rest of the world. If I leave America to go work on global issues in another context, that would be fine. But I can't escape the issues created and perpetuated by the US simply by relocating my domicile. There's nowhere I can outrun bigotry. So for now I stay and fight.
Which is basically what is happening with the war in Ukraine. Putin has been acting like a megalomaniac for a long long time and nobody did anything real about it. The international powers just let him have whatever he commandeered. Annex Crimea? Fine, have it. We'll stand over here and waggle a disapproving finger at you. But he tried to take all of Ukraine and Ukraine said no. And this time it seems to be working. At least for now.
Making the world safer and more just feels like something worth fighting for. Whether it takes a war of weapons or a war of words (or both), it's worth the effort and energy and expense. We should all do as well as Ukraine and say "No. Get your hands off what I love. You don't get to ruin it." We should all embody that spirit however we can within our own personal spheres of influence and fight for everything worth fighting for.
Information and Inspiration
Jaydra is a human in-process, working to make the world a better place. Sharing thoughts, feelings, and observations about the human experience.