What good was a year of war? | chronicle

There shouldn’t be anything nice to say about the terror the Ukrainian people were subjected to. The dead who do not return and who leave broken families, the millions of refugees whose pain we cannot imagine, and the immeasurable and eternal psychological trauma. But suffering always brings learning.

Nobody wants, nobody should go through physical and emotional suffering, but this makes us grow, and it’s always an opportunity to shape ourselves individually and collectively. There is nothing good, but there are lessons that make us more human:

  1. Human life in the distance. The appreciation of human life without identification, language, culture, religion or skin color, is still an embryonic phenomenon, to which I think this war contributed a lot.
  2. Solidarity on a grand scale. I think we have to go back to 1999 during the demonstrations in Timor to remember so many Portuguese taking to the streets with a genuine desire to help a people, like the one seen after the invasion of Ukraine. It was very beautiful to see and feel.
  3. Consequences of a conflict. Understanding that it’s not just shots and bombs that kill is the crux of the matter. When the health system becomes dysfunctional, it kills much more. Disruptions to education, justice, environmental protection, destruction of electricity, water systems, roads, etc., have overwhelming consequences that are true of any war, and which have to be understood.
  4. Humanitarian help. In a way more with the heart than with the head we saw a rush to pharmacies and a rush to the border that did little or nothing. But the will to put empathy into practice was there. Perhaps if they are aware of who is still there and will be there as long as necessary, they will understand how effective humanitarian aid works.
  5. Refugees. Portugal received and with a great desire to welcome about 60,000 Ukrainian refugees. It would be good if we could look at other nationalities who also need us with the same compassion.
  6. Importance of global citizenship. About 85% of the world’s population did not apply any economic sanctions to Russia. It is a case to say that “we” Westerners never wanted to know about the suffering of “others”, so perhaps it is natural that something that affects Europe, but little or nothing affects “others” causes: love with love is paid. I think it is yet another opportunity to integrate the unavoidable importance of being citizens of the world, before being any nationality.
  7. democracies versus Autocracies. In this war only Russia killed civilians. Only Russia kills the opposition and journalists. Only Russia violated international law. Only Russia violated the sovereignty of a country. It is somehow understandable that only autocratic regimes side with Russia, or live in cynical neutrality. The democracies got together, and realized that only all together believing in freedom and justice, can stand up to dictators.
  8. Do not depend on bloodthirsty dictators. It is likely that we are facing a reorganization of the world order, perhaps it is a good time to realize that if it was immoral and a mistake to do business with Putin, the same is also true for Saudi Arabia, China or Iran, among others.
  9. The importance of truth. It is known that in wars the truth is treated very badly, and there will be propaganda and wordplay on both sides. But the ideological edifice on which the Russian narrative is built is a lie. Whether it’s health, climate, or politics, we have to punish those who treat the truth so badly.
  10. Hunger in Africa. As always, they will be countless, but in addition to the Ukrainian and Russian people, it is the Africans who have suffered the most from this conflict, especially during the blockade of grain output from Ukraine. We cannot continue to pretend that these lives don’t count. It is humanity’s greatest scourge and it has become acute, without almost anyone paying attention, news, empathy, or substantial action.
  11. PCP and extreme right. I only speak of parties when they cross two lines that I am not willing to negotiate: science and human rights. The PCP’s position was, and is, a shame for humanity, and for us Portuguese. The extreme right always plays on opportunism and populism, in addition to the support they receive from Putin throughout Europe. Here, for the time being, they are for Ukraine, but they are like vultures waiting to capitalize on economic discontent if the war drags on. And then they will turn their backs on the Ukrainians. We get to know better who they are and what they are made of.
  12. Sexual violence. In 2018, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Nadia Murad, Iraqi, Yazidi, made a sexual object by the Islamic State for months, and Denis Mukwege, a Congolese doctor, who dedicated his entire life to treating victims of sexual violence in the Congo war . Unfortunately, the war in Ukraine showed us what not even the Nobel Peace Prize could. All wars, all human misery bring sexual violence with it, and it is disgusting to know that there are those who close their eyes as if it were just an epiphenomenon.
  13. We met José Milhazes. Not only for his in-depth knowledge that helps us understand Russophony, I feel privileged to know a little more about his personality and his life story. Humble, intelligent, frontal, courageous, but more than anything, he brings us humanism in his words, which is very rare in a commentator on geopolitics.
  14. A younger sister. I would give anything for her to be with her family, her friends, speaking her language, and studying at her university. But by chance it has been almost a year since he joined my family, and I am doing everything to ensure that the misfortune that Putin has brought him is mitigated with friendship, affection, personal and professional guidance, and the possibility of sleeping without bombs or sirens. I got richer.

The Second World War brought us the United Nations and then the Universal Charter of Human Rights. It would be good if these were strengthened, and if possible built in a world that intends to be more humane.

It all starts with becoming aware, on the one hand, facing the terror of a war head-on, but also the lessons that make us look with enthusiasm at solutions to the great problems of our family.

There is nothing good here, but if we learn it becomes so.

Gustavo’s chronicles Ride are sponsored by the Manuel da Mota Foundation in favor of Doctors without Borders

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