No, not wrinkles. Similar to that thin line between love and hate, this is in reference to the fine lines between ally and foe, provocation and retaliation; threat, and execution. The fine line between white and black. All plainly crossed on a global stage in the unfolding conflict instigated by the Russian Federation in the Ukraine.
On 24th February 2022, president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, woke up in the foulest of moods. Engulfed in a mental fart fanned by ill-willed advisors, Russia has invaded the eastern European country of Ukraine in what continues to be called ‘a special military operation’. It plays out as an inhumane exercise akin to culling a herd. Whereas odd smear campaigns could be overlooked, a direct invasion warrants retaliation and resistance against a lethal rival. Consequently, we witness a conflict that threatens to offset a third world war.
The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine unleashed a geopolitical stench that is souring an already brewing globe. However unlike the occasionally pervasive flatulence encountered in the mundanity of daily living, political rumbles are more vigorous in their effects. When what is mine and what is yours overrides what ultimately is ours – this world – we are called to choose sides.
Ours is Africa. As we observe war undergone under northern snow, there are over a dozen wars (for instance in Ethiopia and Mozambique)[i] being endured under the African sun. Daily reports across all media platforms show the tragedies of war between Europe’s two largest countries, with an influx of images giving priority attention to the movement of displaced people, families and their pets, as they seek safe refuge. Hollowed by “patriotic” resentment that inhibits empathy towards those deemed unworthy or less valid, the world is shown how northern dictators enact their vengeance. And even then, we see the overt disrespect with which Africans are treated across Europe and pointedly during the current Ukraine-Russia conflict. It is alarming in its predictably. Stemming from a long standing myth still ascribed to by many Europeans; that they are privy to a set of standards that Africans are not. Above braving a foreign war, those of African descent experience the added assault of the racial prejudices of ignorant white people.
Everyone loses in war. In wartime, kindness becomes weakness. Anger wrinkles the mind[ii], and to survive, hate will thrive as an adversary must be treated in kind. No apology will be given as ego does not allow responsibility to be taken for the injustices inflicted. Diplomatic talks aimed at conflict resolution can become a mere observation of social protocols where actions, as ever, speak louder than words.
Lastly is that finest of all lines – the bottom line. The economic blow-back as a result of (necessary) sanctions placed on Russia, sees all suffering. As theorised and proven by geography and gravity, what rises in the north often finds a landing in the south. Africa, already ravaged by and challenged with her own issues, is feeling the pinch of war in Europe. The ripple effect of increasing food and fuel prices are indicative of a long winter ahead. As conflict across our own continent has shown, war leaves destruction and pain that can affect generations. Thus, we wish resolution and peace for Europe, in the same manner they wish it for Africa. It’s a fine line.
[i] African conflicts to watch in 2022 by PSC Report; https://issafrica.org/pscreport/psc-insights/african-conflicts-to-watch-in-2022
[ii] Sylvia Boorstein; https://donnajacksonnakazawa.com/tag/sylvia-boorstein/
Featured imaged soured from: https://pixabay.com/photos/barbed-wire-iron-skewer-rust-wire-314333/