The ugly face of war

All wars bring out the worst in humans. The war in Ukraine has shown us two ugly faces. One is the calamity of war itself; the other is racism.

When European countries are welcoming Ukrainian refugees (with white skin and blue eyes) with open arms, the world also witnesses with shock how refugees of African and Indian origin are treated as lesser humans.

Racism is not inherent in human beings: it is a creation of capitalism. Capitalism needs racism to justify slavery, genocide, aggression, and the extortion of resources from the land of coloured people by degrading them to sub-human level.

We see a lot of protests against Russian aggression and solidarity with Ukraine, which is welcome from a humanitarian viewpoint. Of course white people don’t deserve to be bombed; but neither do Iraqis, Afghans, Libyans, Yemenis, or Palestinians.

So why is the outrage selective? Why not a similar outrage against the bombing of a poor country such as Yemen? or against the US aggression against Afghanistan, where 58 per cent of the population live in abject poverty? or against Israel’s apartheid against Palestinian people?

Why don’t the media that broadcast attacks in Ukraine 24 × 7 allot a fraction of the air time to show the bombings in Yemen, where 377,000 people have been killed so far by the Saudi attack, with the backing of the United States?

Why don’t the media even mention the word “apartheid” in relation to Israel—a fact that has finally been acknowledged by Amnesty international? Why has it no effect on our humanitarian values? Is it because their skin colour is different?

Does the colour of their skin make them less human, not worthy enough of space in media reporting? Does the difference in skin colour make their misery less painful?

It was abominable to listen to reporters talking on television about the refugee crisis happening in “civilised” Europe among people with “blond hair and blue eyes.” What does it even mean? Does it imply that people of colour are born to run around as refugees?

These are the people who preach about “civilised” Europe. This is the moral degradation that capitalism has caused to the human psyche through racism: that people of colour can be treated differently, even if they are refugees like the white people.

The Indian author and activist Arundathi Roy said, “Once weapons were manufactured to fight wars; now wars are manufactured to sell weapons.” Wars are essential for capitalism to capture markets and resources and to maintain hegemony; and the consequence of the wars is the creation of refugees—which exposes the racism in accepting the refugees.

The actual war is not between Ukraine and Russia, it’s between NATO and Russia plus China, with Ukraine as the battleground. The United States is realising that its global hegemony is eroding and desperately needs a war to restore it. That is the reason for breaking its promise not to progress eastwards after the fall of the Soviet Union.

The United States is already engaged in an economic war by means of sanctions, which will prevent the supply of natural gas from Russia through the Nord Stream project. The global increase in oil prices caused by the war creates an advantage for the United States: its exports of shale gas to the European Union will become more profitable. The United States will also supply Ukraine with weapons that it manufactures—which could end up in the hands of the neo-Nazi Azov Regiment—because of the escalating war; and once the war is over it can get the contracts for rebuilding the infrastructure demolished by war!

So it is a war instigated by the United States for the creation of profits for its monopolies.

Replacing the gas from Russia through a pipeline with liquefied gas from the United States is more damaging for the environment, because the technology for liquefying gas increases carbon emission. Therefore this war will take us in an opposite direction from the carbon emission control agreed by developed countries, with disastrous effects on the planet, which may create refugees from climate change in addition to refugees from war.

Many developed countries that lacked the money for tackling the climate crisis or for investing in “green energy” to reduce carbon emission are now ready to invest in war and strengthen NATO, because war provides rich dividends.

This reckless behaviour by world leaders to engage in war when the world has to unite to fight against climate crisis is shocking and doesn’t provide hope.

While we fight to end wars we should also fight to win the war against racism, because the pain of death and destruction is the same whatever the colour of the skin. And the fight against war and the fight against racism will succeed only if it is also a fight against capitalism, because capitalism as a system needs both in order to sustain itself.

The solution can be achieved only when the working class of Russia oppose the war against Ukraine, the working class of Ukraine fight for autonomy in Donetsk and Lugansk, and the working class of Europe fight to dismantle NATO.

Wars are never fought for the sake of the working class. As Jean-Paul Sartre said, “When the rich wage war, it’s the poor who die.”