Stop The War
I have, therefore, chosen this time and place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived. And that is the most important topic on earth: peace. What kind of peace do I mean and what kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow, and to hope, and to build a better life for their children — not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women — not merely peace in our time but peace in all time.
- John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 10th June, 1963
There are no winners in war. Only immense, incalculable, inconceivable human suffering.
It is a terrible tragedy, then, that so many of our fellow human beings are living in conditions of war rather than conditions of peace today.
From Ukraine to Yemen, death and destruction are being dealt on people. There are many conflicts throughout the world, not just the ones most governments and media choose to show us.
JFK's renowned speech made a crucial point, that world peace would not come from a Pax Americana enforced by US weapons. Unfortunately, perhaps for all of us, Kennedy was killed and the US has very much pushed the idea of delivering peace (amongst other things) through bullets and bombs. It is not particularly surprising that the consequences have been catastrophic.
The US example, that a nuclear superpower could do anything it liked anywhere it liked against non-nuclear states, must surely have been observed and absorbed by Vladimir Putin. His criminal aggression against Ukraine certainly didn't happen in a vacuum.
The flagrant disregard for international law (with no real consequences), for example as repeatedly demonstrated by Israel, must surely be an encouragement to others who seek to act illegally. With little recourse to prosecute war crimes and hold war criminals to account, it is easy to see why they are so commonplace in our world.
But this need not be a reason to give up on peace. We cannot give up on peace. Ever.
Vietnam, the first time people saw the horrors of war broadcast to their homes, changed the discourse around war forever. The Iraq War, based on false pretexts and illegally pursued, led to millions of people around the world uniting and demanding and marching for peace.
These things may not have ended war in our world, but they certainly gave huge swathes of humanity the impetus to demand peace.
That impetus remains with us today. It cannot be stopped. Not by lies, not by bombs and not by imprisonment.
While Putin mercilessly attacks Ukraine, the people of Russia are rising and saying STOP THE WAR.
And this is the only thing which will end wars, and end them for good. The people. All of them. All of humanity united, as Kennedy envisioned, demanding peace and accepting nothing short of it.
Stop the killing.
Stop the war.