Collateral damage

The  papers these days make for grim reading. The war in Ukraine is raging, with scenes familiar to us from WWII films. Rubble everywhere, dead bodies, crowds of civilians trying to flee. Endless talk of sanctions, strategies, freezing of assets…

Beyond all this, there already are huge collateral damages. Family left behind: the grandparents who are unwilling, or unable, to travel—and in such conditions. Do you stay, or prioritise your children? Animals left behind: we keep seeing people clutching a dog or a cat, but what do you do with a large dog, who does not fit in the car with four adults and their suitcases? Turn him out in the street? What do you do if you have horses? Or goats and cows?

At least spring is here

Large European companies with offices in Moscow were warned by their governments to close them within days. Some had hundreds of employees, who have been fired at a moment’s notice. Even the oligarchs’ super-yatchs that were seized had crews, who will now perhaps not be paid. And there is a long supply chain of businesses who will take a hit.

I even read an article of people who were finally picking up a child they had adopted, only to be stranded in a war zone.

European countries are proudly talking about increasing their defence budget. So more of our taxes will go to guns and missiles instead of food and housing for the poor, or improving the roads…


And another kind of collateral damage: the refugees from non-european countries have now found themselves at the back of the queue again. Someone else has stolen the limelight, dim as it was in the first place.

20 thoughts on “Collateral damage”

      1. NATO and the Warsaw Pact had missiles pointing at each other for decades. But NATO didn’t attack any Warsaw Pact country, and vice versa. The aggressor here is Russia, so don’t try to spin it any other way.
        Your “comment” is a particularly gutless way of saying “I’m backing Russian aggression” or, alternatively, “I’m glad a country aligned with the West/US is being trashed”.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. pointed at one another. Putin is a dictator running the country for the benefit of a few oligarchs not for his people. try and protest in Moscow … hold up a blank piece of paper and you are arrested.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Absolutely right, annechappel. Our friend “Magda” is evidently trying her best to excuse Putin. I will give her a gamma minus for her effort, together with the mention “must try harder”.


  1. Strange how the blue-eyed, white skinned refugees are so much more ‘acceptable’, after decades of heartache for Syrians and Afghans. Well, not strange at all of course, just a predictable display of European Racism. It is another heavy sadness to bear, on top of the daily heartbreak seen on the news.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Regarding the decades of heartbreak for the Syrians, perhaps you should have a word about this with President Assad,
      You might also note that over 1 million Syrians were accepted (to use your expression) in Germany and elsewhere – which, given the different sizes of the Ukrainian and Syrian populations ’40 million and 22 million respectively) is quite impressive actually. So drop your silly anti-Western carping, eh?

      Liked by 3 people

    2. My thoughts exactly. People from countries like Syria, parts of Africa and the Yemen have similar problems, yet we said ‘We can’t take any more refugees. Sorry.’ But now, people are falling over themselves to house a Ukranian in their own homes.
      The media suggested these others weren’t really refugees at all, and ‘asylum-seekers’ became a bad word. But I know that many were in fear of their lives in their own countries. When I was teaching, a refugee girl in my class had a twin brother, 15 years old, and an uncle, who had disappeared. They knew nothing of their whereabouts, or if they were still alive.
      Asylum-seekers are, in the main, people whose lives are in danger in their own countries. So why do we not welcome them, Syrians, Yemenis, and Africans in the same way we welcome Ukranians. Even people who would be horrified if you told them they are racist seem to welcome Ukranians but not others.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. There is a lot one could say on this theme. For the moment let’s confine ourselves to the following two observations:
        1/. Many asylum seekers are in fact economic refugees. This is certainly the case for many from sub-Saharan Africa;
        2/. You are right that there are also many whose lives are in danger in their own countries. But as a result of civil war, religious persecution, ethnic discrimination, ie, internal factors. The case of the refugees from Ukraine is different : they are fleeing from an unprovoked act of aggression from a neighbouring country – a country, which it should be remembered, made life a misery for many tens of millions of Central and Eastern European peoples for almost half a century after World War 2.
        Let us not try to somehow minimise Russian aggression by diverting discussion onto how refugees from other countries are treated; by so diverting, you are objectively making propaganda for an aggressive state.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I would like to thank Matt for each and every one of his words – ones I meant to put down when I first read the post yesterday. Admit to a degree of gutlessness. Unlike any of you I speak from personal experience of having been an Estonian child of the Second World War. lost half my family in Siberian labour camps, lost my home thru’ Russian bombing, lost my homeland as so many Ukrainian children now are doing, leaving my country with just that one suitcase we see on media now. To become a boat person torpedoed, to wander Europe as a penniless refugee seeing rape and murder, always hungry. There was no United Nations or NATO or EU in the beginning . . . there was no 24/7 media . . . . our family managed to reach Australia for me to have a normal life impossible for my parents. I weep for beautiful Ukraine at the moment . . . what I wish for Putin social media would not allow me to print. Marina – your post in its entirety has been received by many of my friends world-wide – thank you !

    Liked by 1 person

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