War, screens and despair for bystanders

Mark was in front of the screen. He had just destroyed an enemy patrol and had now seized their rocket launcher and a box of ammo for it. He had also managed to find their medical supplies and was carrying out first aid to the injuries he had incurred during the fire fight. It was a pretty good result.

Ben was in front of the screen. The drone camera had just picked up an image of a man in black carrying something. Could it be a rifle or rocket launcher. He zoomed in. Yes! Possible enemy combatant. He noted the co-ordinates and called in an airstrike on the area. Navigating away he noticed a woman carrying a child dressed in a red top heading to the area. Five minutes later he navigated back to the site of the strike. No sign of his black clad figure, but he noticed a red rag fluttering by the rubble of the strike. Ben carried on with the scan of the area. Just another day doing his job.

The interviewer was on the screen. The guest was invited to condemn the terrorists, but they refused to without adding any context as to the history of decades of conflict. The interviewer hurried on talking over them and with a look of relief ran out of time without letting the guest explain. He hoped the next guest would be a bit easier.

Matthew was in front of the screen. His shares had done well. He had seen the provocation of Russia and invested heavily in Raytheon. Then, just as Senate and Congress had looked like they were pulling the plug on supporting Ukraine, this Middle East conflict had blown up, and now his shares were rocketing again. He must admit he was feeling pretty pleased with himself.

David was in front of the screen and had just watched another harrowing video of death and destruction of innocent civilians sheltering in a hospital. The harrowing scenes were eating away at him. He could not look away but how could he make it stop?

Amin was on the screen, his face covered in dust. He had been scrabbling in the rubble with others to pull a young child out from it. He was hungry. He had not eaten since yesterday morning and was pleased when someone offered him a drink of rainwater. His eyes were haunted. Where could he find shelter next? The sounds of bombs and missiles were relentlessly ringing in his ears. Would he be blessed with sleep tonight and survive another day?

People are demonstrating against war all over the world, but their politicians do not pay attention. In fact in some western countries demonstrations are being clamped down on as if the people had no right to question the morals of their governments. Some people have chosen to boycott companies supporting war and killing, but governments are even trying to stop this.

What are you left with when you watch a video showing aggressors being eliminated and almost feel like raising a cheer? Then you think about that and you are supporting other humans being killed. It is a
symptom of the exposure we are getting of the conflicts in Israel and Ukraine that it has almost become detached from reality like some video game. The nightmare is that these are all real people suffering, whether you are on the side of the “goodies” or the “baddies”.

Will the horrors we are being exposed to reduce our empathy and obliterate our humanity? Is that the plan that, being powerless to influence our governments, we are doomed to be spectators of more horrors in the future?

Do the people in our governments even care about these scenes? Are they so driven by donations and second jobs that they have become monsters consumed by greed? I would hope not, but the evidence
against this hope appears overwhelming.

If we want a fairer, more just world then this is not the way to create it. The governments of the west have disgraced themselves in front of the rest of the world by their failure to support negotiations for peace. The obvious answer is for the majority of normal people, who do not want this future, to build a grass roots movement to take back control of how we are governed and by whom. At the moment none of our current politicians are offering this. So we cannot look away or turn off the screens. We need to be using our screens to show there is a different and fairer world for all.

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