Remember this heartbreaking video of a father who says goodbye to his daughter to stay and fight for Ukraine? Well, it turns out that this video was made days before the invasion – in the separatist Donetsk republic. If this man will fight, it is probably on the Russian side.
Does this make the video any less heartbreaking? No, it doesn’t. Does it shed a different light on what’s going on in Ukraine, or change our perspective on either side of the conflict? No, it doesn’t. Does it mean that blablabla “both sides”? Again: no, it doesn’t.
But it does illustrate this: as politicians fuel nationalist sentiment, arms manufacturers count their dollars, and heads of state play their dirty political games, it is normal people who need to part from their loved ones and risk their lives fighting another man’s war.
I too have small children. There is nothing in the world that would make me want to separate from them to fight and die for something abstract like a ‘nation’. No matter what side of a randomly drawn border one happens to find oneself on: no one should be put in this position.
This is the real injustice of war: the political and economic elites wage it (and often end up getting even more rich and powerful). Normal people suffer, fight and die in it – no matter what ‘side’ they are supposedly on.
Fight war, not wars.
Mathijs van de Sande
(This article was first published as a thread on Twitter.)