I am a pacifist. I don’t believe that war ever solves anything and have never come to terms with the fact that humanity can’t get beyond it. War should be confined to history yet, as the saying goes, only the dead see the end of war. If only everyone agreed not to fight then that would be it but it seems that aggression is an unfortunate part of human nature.
I find myself conflicted by the appalling situation in Ukraine. Not since the Falklands war, when I was much younger have I felt the same way. At that time there was a small chance that I would be called up to fight but now I think I am too old. Yet what would I do if I found my country to be under direct attack from an enemy force? Would I stick to my principles or would I, like so many people have done in Ukraine, pick up a weapon and get ready to kill fellow humans?
There are many wars around the world. The civil wars in Syria and the Sudans have been raging for years. The conflict in Yemen continues without the coverage in the media yet I have felt distanced from these in a way that I am not from the Russian invasion. There is a real threat that the theatre will spill out into a global conflict. Old global alliances are being rekindled and new alliances are being formed. The shape of international politics is very different from the early twentieth century and who knows how a wider conflict would pan out.
What then would I do? My thoughts have been with my own children and now grandchildren. I don’t think I could stand by any longer and do nothing. I may be too old to fight yet I am sure there are many ways in which I could be involved. To me, some of the bravest people in the last world war were those who put themselves in great danger by working in active combat zones but who would not pick up weapons. Perhaps that would be a way forward for me.
As I watch the news and read the papers I hope that war will never come knocking at my door. I have been very fortunate so far.
My thoughts go out to everyone affected by this and every other war.