Waiting on a War

I'm younger than Foo Fighters' frontman Dave Grohl, but I nevertheless feel probably the same emotions as when I first heard their song "Waiting for a War". This blog post has been sitting in my drafts folder for quite some time now. But the reason to write it has unfortunately remained, if not become more urgent.

Ever since February '22, I have never felt such an amount of anger and a feeling of being powerless as a human being as before. My entire adult life was, up until that point, ruled by the ability to make a choice. With Ukraine being so far and yet so close, things suddenly seemed futile. And while we were (and still are) able to do whatever little we can, it has never felt enough.

The thing is, same as the motivation for writing the song, I never imagined having to explain those things to my children. Growing up in eighties was enough for me. Why somebody needed to have practise how to put on the gas mask or what are the basic precautions in case of the nuclear explosion? When we were young it was part of fun I guess. But it all sinks in. It's part of the unconcionsly accepting the war as something given. No matter what is the motivation, it's part of warmongering. This must have been similar on both sides. Waiting for the sky to fall.

Now, two years later, I'm even angrier because the world is changing ever so rapidly. We're getting used to the new reality. And I can't stand a moment of it. It's not that I am scared for myself. I can't stand the feeling of people having to live with the same (and much worse) mindset. And in the last two months, it started affecting people I know personally. Sneakily. Step by step. It's not just Ukraine anymore.

And it's not only the fact that someone needs to accept this as the new norm. It's the logic that armed conflict needs to be inevitably connected to the dehumanisation of others. The 'us and them' logic. Viewed from this lens, it is polarisation which seemed to be escalating over the last decade. But it's not only the precursor for any war but also its instrument. Providing a context for a psychological tool to use violence, a framework for the conscience of the masses, a tool for compliance, and a sick tool of propaganda.

The trouble is, while the single armed conflict can be stopped relatively easily (so to speak), it's the normalisation of the new reality and the dehumanisation that have long-term effects on society and beyond. And for what?