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Tired of war; but tired of bullies, too

By Tichaona Zindoga My Turn
Being a decent and peace-loving people, Zimbabweans hate war and suffering. Perhaps it is because we saw and endured war, a brutal war, in the late 1960s to the late 1970s, even though we emerged victors.

Those that witnessed the inhumanness of war do not want to return to the bush because of the carnage. War is ugly: even some of us that never partook in it feel its creepiness; its needlessness.

Let those go to war that are brave enough (where there is real cause) or foolish enough (as in the case of some among us who would dare the country's liberators to go "chain the country back where it was shackled" by colonial settlers). This is not cowardice. War is just wrong, although some people will always find justification for it.

There are even what are called just wars, which essentially was what Barack Obama was trying tell the world when he was being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.

Here is what this man who illdeserved the prize, said in part, "We will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations - acting individually or in concert - will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified... So yes, the instruments of war do have a role to play in preserving the peace ...

Peace requires responsibility. "Peace entails sacrifice. That's why NATO continues to be indispensable ..."

Such an irony! But of course we know that some countries are addicted to war. They enjoy it; it is sport: and now they have devised killer machines called drones that are operated like video games which are designed so marvelously, well, they reap lives in far-away lands without the inconvenience of American body bags.

Some countries like America also derive their livelihoods from war through control of resources such as oil and their companies benefit from both manufacturing implements of war and by undertaking reconstruction. War-mongers like Barack Obama are the ultimate darlings of the so-called military-industrial complex.

The devil himself, the ultimate Grim Reaper, should be smiling as mankind gets dehumanised and decimated by war; by a leader that tells us that there will always be violent conflict; whose architect and winner, of course is the sole superpower.

Perhaps I am wrong. Maybe because I do not work for CNN or some such Western media outlet that thrives on conflict and appears to love war and suffering.

We are different. That is why I am deeply disturbed by what is happening in the world today that seems to suggest a hurtling towards a World War or some such catastrophe, which must please the likes of Barack Obama.

Ukraine is the latest flashpoint. The US and Russia have crossed swords and such an encounter does not make for friendly duel. It is war.

The actions and rhetoric so far seem to suggest the beginning of another World War. The US (providing US$5 billion) and its Western allies aided a neo-Nazi coup in Ukraine that installed elements linked or affiliated to the murder of Jews and Poles during World War II.

Western countries' provocative behaviour, a relic of the Cold War, targets Russia not only in seeking to weaken its sphere of influence but also deliberately encircle it. Russia is not blind to this. It has flexed its muscle.

Its intervention in Crimea, where there are majority ethnic Russians who identify with it and need its protection, and the vote over the weekend legitimises it is stuff of statecraft and war. Tensions are now very high. The US, forever the policeman of the world, has imposed sanctions on Russia, and warns of more "costs".

Obama on Monday issued sanctions in light of the "actions and policies of the Russian government with respect to Ukraine - including through the deployment of Russian military forces in the Crimea region of Ukraine - (that) undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets."

(All very noble ideals, which the US alone is permitted to tout when it sees fit.) The US wants to teach the "Russian government that there are consequences for their actions". The sanctions target top officials in Russia, including aides to Russian President Vladimir Putin, members of the Duma, the Head of the Federation Council, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and top officials of the Crimean Parliament.

Such sanctions are hardly overtures for peace. And Russia will not stand with arms folded. Just consider what one news presenter Dmitry Kiselev said in light of the continued belligerence by the US: "Russia - (is) the only country in the world capable of transforming the US into radioactive ash ..." Now this is not something to joke about.

Any carelessness in this will have catastrophic consequences, and it is the poor, innocent man, woman and child - and future generations - that will suffer the grim comeuppance. Like in Japan at the end of World War II.

Like in Vietnam, where we saw the grim pictures this week of children suffering from a range of physical deformities caused by agent orange which the US used in the 1960s, including missing or underdeveloped limbs and extremely curved spines.

Some are deaf, blind and mute, while others have been bed-ridden for most of their young lives. There are similarly depressing images from past war zones such as Iraq post 1990s and post 2003. Maybe the CNN and other Western media enjoy them - that is in secret - because they never go back to show such horrors despite always leading their countries to war.

We don't enjoy such grim pictures. The saner world doesn't. Yet one gets to enjoy it, in a guarded sort of way, when countries like Russia stand up to the bullying of the US: it sort of balances things off. The unilateralism that makes the US behave like a school bully has to stop.

It should have been stopped by common sense, but the tragedy is that such sense has never been a factor in the world. I shudder to think that God is referred in some contexts as the God of war.

Our pious God, he cannot be this crazy.

Or particularly identify with the likes of Barack Obama.





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