Vladimir Putin, the Russian President made a statement this week during a visit from the French President, Emmanuel Macron. He outrightly made clear his stance on Ukraine joining NATO and what the implications would be for the entire world. He stated, “Russia’s weapons are quite incomparable to that of NATO” but warned his country is still ‘one of the leading nuclear states’. “You don’t want war…neither do I…for there will be no winners, and you will be pulled into this conflict against your will…”

Vladimir Putin needs no formal introduction, and the Ukraine crisis needs no elaborate briefings to bring you up to speed. If you have been monitoring international news it would not come out strange to you. That aside, United States is warning its citizens to evacuate Ukraine as an attack by Russia is imminent within a couple of hours and several European countries are making the same declaration. But what gives Russia these guts to make a bold stand and willing to confront the world?

Russia is a superpower in her own rights. And under a leader with balls of steel and sheer cunning, you can imagine how frightful that prospect is. The Cold War era was majorly a war between the West led by USA and her allies, and the Eastern Bloc led by USSR (now Russia) and her allies, and which ended 3rd Dec 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall.  The Cold War was a decade of intrigues, espionage, counter espionage, sober rattling, near war misses, massive research and development in weapons and arms which led to nuclear stockpiling on both sides and other frightful weapons of mass destruction, and diplomatic horse shoeing across the globe.

Now won’t you wonder that all these countries were once allies against Germany in WW1 and WW2? What has led to a turn of events with allies now turning to enemies and vice versa?

The answer lies in ‘power’. The desire to dominate and be in control…a personal ambition of one man and nation.

For historical perspective, Ukraine used to be under the USSR until the dissolution of that republic and Ukraine gained her independence in Aug 24, 1991. However, political intrigues in 2013 led to unrest and Pro-Russia elements declaring independence and making room for Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014. Despite international outcry, and the unfortunate incident of the downing of an airplane, Russia never budged, and they are back on the borders of Ukraine, to grab more. Does this not sound like when Germany invaded Poland that led to the start of WW2? History is repeating itself is it not?

Now, the West and the East are on double alert mode waiting for the first move as in a game of chess…and both sides awfully aware of the casualties that would occur. This is 2022, not 1939, one party as already declared he is willing to lose to make a point…in other words, more than willing to sacrifice the world to make his stand clear…and with the armament on ground, people would be dead before they can even realise what hit them…probably worse than Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

How concerned should Africa be?

Well, unlike WW1 and WW2 when Africans were conscripted into the army and shipped to the battlefront, it won’t be so this time around. But we would feel the effects of the war should it start. How you ask? I am in Africa…not near the theatre of war…well true, but it’s a self-delusion.

  1. Should nuclear or other non-conventional weapons be used, we would feel the aftermath of the effects in Africa carried by wind currents and by whatever mode of transport. Remember, COVID-19.
  2. World economy would be paralysed. Yes, you read right. Nobody wants to be a casualty of war; everyone wants to be within their safe zone. US did not initially join the WW2 until invasion by Japan at Pearl Harbour. What makes you think, to widen the scope of the war, unprovoked invasion or attacks will not occur? Remember, Putin already said, you will all be drawn into it against your will…
  3. We are not prepared to even take care of ourselves as individual African countries in times of relative peace not to talk of when there is a war ravaging Europe. We are heavily dependent on foreign aids and Europe; America and China are our biggest market. If China does not get dragged into the war…there might still be hope but China is a like a dozing bully…who can wake up and strike at any time…so really…where do, we hope in?

Africans need to be self-reliant and break the shackles of colonial mentality that has bedevilled us since we have achieved our respective independence. We have the resources and the manpower…let’s put our brain to work and develop and not rely on stipends.

Aside that, the big bullies need to call themselves for a seat down and hold a frank talk. I am sure that is been done and is on-going, but to start the war…with a lose-lose mindset…is already debilitating as it is and shows the selfishness of power and self-aggrandisement. The earlier the citizens of NATO and Russia speak some home truth to their leaders the better for the whole world to avoid bloodshed and untold hardship.

It is clear, that UN can no longer be the watchdog in the world, the arbiter for peace…and it is high time for nations to acknowledge where true sovereignty lies and bow in worship.  Micah 4:1-4 AMP captures it succinctly,

“But it shall come about in the last days
That the mountain of the house of the Lord
Shall be established as the highest and chief of the mountains;
It shall be above the hills,
And peoples shall flow [like a river] to it.

And many nations shall come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob,
That He may teach us about His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.”
For the law shall go forward from Zion,
And the word of the Lord [the revelation about Him and His truth] from Jerusalem.

And He will judge between many peoples
And render decisions for strong and distant nations.
Then they shall hammer their swords into plowshares
And their spears into pruning hooks [so that the implements of war may become the tools of agriculture];
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Nor shall they ever again train for war.

Each of them shall sit [in security and peace] under his vine
And under his fig tree,
With no one to make them afraid,
For the mouth of the [omnipotent] Lord of hosts has spoken it.”

MH17 memorial focuses on supporting families and friends left behind


Powered by article titled “MH17 memorial focuses on supporting families and friends left behind” was written by Melissa Davey, for on Thursday 7th August 2014 04.19 UTC

Around 1000 people from different backgrounds and denominations filled St Patrick’s cathedral in Melbourne on Thursday morning to remember people lost in the MH17 tragedy and to support their friends and families as part of a national day of mourning.

The focus was on them, as talk of blame and of justice for the victims was put on hold to focus on the suffering of those left behind and the need to offer them comfort.

The friends and family of those killed held each other tightly as clergy, government officials and dignitaries spoke, as the Australian Boys’ Choir sang, and as the names and photographs of the dead were displayed, one by one, on screens throughout the cathedral.

The Catholic archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, used his opening address to acknowledge their pain and the terror they must have felt as news emerged that flight MH17 had been shot out of the sky. He said there had been an outpouring of love for them, which he hoped provided some comfort, though he said it would not take away the pain.

“We stand in solidarity with those who are suffering unimaginable loss,” he said as he opened the memorial ceremony.

The Australian Boys’ Choir sang the national anthem, followed by a multifaith opening prayer from representatives of 12 belief systems, including Jewish, Hindu, Islamic and Catholic denominations.

The governor-general, Sir Peter Cosgrove, offered a moving tribute to those killed as he wore a white wristband with the words “we will never forget you” in Dutch.

He was also present at a repatriation ceremony for the victims held on the tarmac of a Netherlands air base just over two weeks ago.

“Our thoughts were consumed by lives cut short, those left behind and the intolerable heartbreak caused by this tragedy,” Cosgrove said.

“So often words do not and cannot express our true feelings and thoughts during such a time of great loss.”

He acknowledged the resilience of the families of those killed, and referred specifically to Rin and Anthony Maslin, who lost their children Mo, Evie and Otis, and the children’s grandfather, Nick Norris, to the tragedy.

“Even at such a time, even the most deeply bereaved can demonstrate extraordinary fortitude,” he said.

“The Maslin family has expressed so powerfully some of how they feel, that in spite of the enormity of their loss and the depth of their despair, their love exceeds and surmounts all the hatred in the world.

“There is nothing stronger or more powerful than the love we have for our children, our partner, our parents, our family, our friends.”

He also offered condolences and heartfelt thanks to the people of the Netherlands, who he said had embraced each and every one of the dead as though their own.

“Thank you for the compassionate and dignified way you have paid respects, for the minutes of silence, the ringing church bells, the flags flying at half mast and the sea of flowers. We thank you for your kindness and humanity as you too deal with tremendous loss.”

His words were followed with a reading from the Netherlands ambassador, Annemieke Ruigrok, and the high commissioner for Malaysia, Zainal Abidin Ahmad.

The opposition leader, Bill Shorten, said those on board MH17 were “innocent, unoffending and precious”.

“We mourn 38 of our own who laughed and learned and loved beneath the southern cross,” he said.

“Today is not about why or how, it is about who we have lost and what we will miss.”

To the families, he said: “It is almost impossible to say anything that can console you at this painful hour.

“But I hope you can draw modest consolation from our nation’s great, invisible, generous, sustaining sympathy, and from the knowledge that you do not walk alone today.

“You loved wonderful people who lived meaningful lives.”

Katie Noonan performed an acoustic version of the song, Even When I’m Sleeping, and returned to the stage later to close the service with I am Australian.

The prime minister, Tony Abbott, followed her performance, saying that almost three weeks ago today families and friends of the MH17 victims woke up to the “very worst news imaginable”.

He used his tribute to reiterate the importance of bringing home the 38 Australians who were among the 298 shot down.

“May those we have lost arrive home to the people and country they loved,” he said.

“We cannot bring them back, but we will bring them home as far as we humanly can, and we rededicate ourselves to supporting the bereaved.”

Abbott also described the contribution those Australians killed had made to society. A time to judge those responsible and bring them to justice would come, he said, but the memorial service was to recognise the meaningful lives of those killed.

“[They were] doctors who worked with refugees, teachers who worked with children, with people who are disabled, volunteers in armed forces and local charities, business innovators, and pillars of local communities, young people filled with passion for the lives before them,” he said.

“Somehow, we who have not been bereaved must reach out to those who have and show by our love. That love has not abandoned them – you have not been abandoned and you never will be.”

The families of the victims then filed to the front of the cathedral, where they laid flowers in remembrance of those they loved, and will miss, so much. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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