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I had a crazy thought while I was in the shower last night.
I actually thought about joining the war.
Honestly, I don’t even know what that means or what signing up to go to war actually entails. From my safe, comfortable life I’ve never felt the need to even consider it. This is why the calm I felt with my thoughts of going to war and doing what I can to put an end to the war between Russia and Ukraine was so shocking to me.
As someone who considers herself to be a pacifist, and generally pretty happy to live in a country that is known for its tendency to sit back and say, “Sorry, sorry, but come on guys, can’t we all just get along?”
Can you guess where I live?
But I’m not here to talk about my country or patriotism. I’m here to share my internal turmoil and questions about how important our role is as an individual when the safety of one person or one country or the whole world is being threatened.
While I was enjoying the comfort of hot running water in my home with walls that are not being threatened to come down around me, I had this moment of deep discomfort. My quiet, gentle wishes for peace and love in the world are a cop-out.
There was quiet in the neighbourhood; all I could hear from outside my walls was the occasional dog barking. How different it must feel to be forced out of your home to find relative safety, with air raid sirens piercing the air around you—with no idea which direction mortal danger may strike from.
Even I, someone who prefers to keep her attention local, recognize the need to come out of the bubble of rainbows and sunshine I usually keep myself.
Anyone who pulls the nuclear weapon card is threatening the safety of the entire world.
We can’t be the quiet kid standing off to the side, just hoping the bully in the world playground is going to change his mind. Just waiting for it to escalate to a certain point that merits us stepping in and standing up for the poor kid taking the punches.
If it wasn’t enough to step in when the citizens of one country were asking for help, and it’s not enough for us to all stand together when nuclear weapons are threatened, then what is the level of escalation we’re waiting for?
We need to stand up as one against bullies.
While I had this thought last night—that I was actually wishing for world war—I felt so calm and I had to take a moment and ask myself why I feel so comfortable with it.
Do I actually want to go to war and be faced with the choice of taking another person’s life?
No. That’s a definite no.
Do I want to experience the fear and terror people in Ukraine and Russia are facing each day as they hope for this to be over?
No, not really.
Do I want to be part of a world event that tears the souls of many away from their bodies? And I mean that for those left living as well as those whose lives are lost. The after-effects of war are devastating to those who live through it, and future generations as well.
No, I don’t wish for this at all.
What I do wish for—why the thought of a world war coming feels so calming to me right now—is that it shows the world united. It’s all of us together saying, “F*ck you, this is not okay” to the bully in the world playground.
I hope we can take the word war right out of the equation, and just call it world unity because I don’t believe war or violence is ever truly justified.
Whatever we call it, world war or world unity, can we all agree to stand up to the bullies of the world and to do it before it escalates to the point where that bully will do whatever it takes to desperately save face?
And how do we do that without resorting to more violence?
I know I can donate money to provide life-saving assistance, and basic needs for those affected, but this just feels like chasing symptoms. I want to be a part of the solution.
So, please tell me, if you have an answer, is there a way to stand up to world bullies without losing ourselves or our values in acts of violence?