Sunday, March 20, 2022

Putin: hoisted on his own petard


I think the international community should unite to fight such inhuman phenomena as terror attacks and the murder of totally innocent people. (Vladimir Putin)

 Mr. Putin: Today, you are the terrorist who murders totally innocent people. Today, it is you who must take your own medicine. Today, it is your deployment of the totality of your military machine in a vain and hubristic, narcissistic and brutal display of the worst instincts of humanity, to dominate, to overpower, and to destroy innocent people for your own glorification. (Doubtlessly, you would argue also for the glory of Russia itself, as you have come to believe you incarnate the nation and reign as Supreme Potentate.) As the children in Ukraine tell us, “You are just like Hitler!” Perhaps you might recall another of your own statements:

“All the attempts to appease the Nazis between 1934 and 1939 through various agreements and pacts were morally unacceptable and politically senseless, harmful and dangerous.” ….

And another of your pithy epithets:

“It is wrong to make anyone into an enemy; it is wrong to scare the people of one’s own country with that enemy and try to rally some allies on that basis”…

And then there is this:

“Russia is a part of European culture. Therefore, it is with difficulty that I imagine NATO as an enemy.”

And how could you possibly ever have uttered these words?

“There are both things in international law: the principle of territorial integrity and right to self-determination.”

And for the rest of the world to attempt to reconcile these words (your words), we need your exegesis:

“History proves that all dictatorships, all authoritarian forms of government are transient. Only democratic systems are not transient. Whatever the shortcomings, mankind has not devised anything superior.”

Inevitably, on the media in the west, the Russian dictator is and will continue to be denounced as a liar, and not to be trusted, especially in the middle of a bloody  massacre of Ukrainians and their towns and cities. And, to be sure, none of us is totally free of hypocrisy. We are all bearers of, sustainers of and even generators of complexities, absurdities and incongruities.

However, what cannot be described as mere absurdities, or incongruities, are the bodies lying in the streets in Mariupol, riddled with Russian bullets. Nor can we dismiss or ignore the burned-out shells of apartment buildings across Ukraine, deliberately, wantonly and coldly transformed into their own architectural ghosts.

The fire and the smoke belching from their broken windows, framed in black carbon soot, is a monument to your unyielding and over-weening lust for power and the listless, and betrayed acts of Russian fighters compelled to follow your commands. “A special military operation” is one of the most cowardly euphemisms ever designed and imposed on a war, by an ultimately provable desperately weak tyrant. Ironically, your naivety in either believing that your people would fall for your chicanery, or that the world and the Ukrainians themselves, (admittedly your brothers and sisters) would fail to see the depth of your venom exposes your Achilles Heel: a blind arrogance and isolation that separates you not only from the people of Russia, and from the very military that serves you, but also from the rest of the world community.

Your Ambassador to the United Nations, too, is so utterly compromised in having to deliver on the world stage, such monumental “Alice in Wonderland” concepts as “neo-Nazis controlling the Ukrainian government”. Also in your demands for peace talks to include a “denazification” program in Ukraine, following the silencing of your bombs and missiles you beg the question of which country, Russia or Ukraine is behaving in an identical manner to that of the Third Reich. If, like Alice herself, you find death lurking underneath all of the puzzles and riddles that escape resolution in your life, as they did in her’s, and long ago have lost any last vestige of innocence, as your chosen archetype of world leader, and thereby consider it a requirement of your legacy to rid the world of all ‘hope and innocence’, you are not only engaged in a campaign to kill women and children, but also to eradicate the concept of innocence and awe from the landscape. The president of Estonia, appearing on State of the Union, with Jake Tapper, articulated an insight that exposed an even more insidious motive and tactic that is being reported and analysed in the North American media: that as a deliberate strategy, having decried the flow of refugees into Europe over the last twenty years, emboldening the far right in several European countries, you have now generated a massive refugee migration single-handedly, thereby again underscoring the arguments of the far right in those same European countries against an open-door receptivity to desperate, war-fleeing innocents. How insidious, and how contemptible.

Such antithetical, underworld motives and methods echo other literary figures like Hades, god of the Underworld, and Lucifer from Milton’s Paradise Lost.

In a CBC piece, on March 13, 2020, entitled, “Sympathy for the devil: Milton’s Satan as political rebel,” we read: ‘Charismatic and sympathetic. Milton’s Satan leads a rebellion against God and rails against what he perceives as the tyranny of heaven—little wonder, then, that he has often been interpreted as a revolutionary figure’….

You, Sir, are railing against what you perceive is the tyranny of neo-Nazis, in Kyiv, a supreme and utterly ‘trashable’ lie known to you and the whole world. Attempting, as you seem to be convinced you are doing in these mass killings of innocent civilians, to ‘rescue’ the people of Ukraine by murdering them is one of the most corrupt and contemptible wars in the history of Europe.

Ukrainian president Zelensky declares that your military’s inhumane blockade and slaughter and starvation scorched earth actions in Mariupol among to acts of terror, war crimes and will be remembered by history for a very long time. Undoubtedly, you consider his words hollow and meaningless war rhetoric. It is the shadow of your frozen heart and mind that casts a death knell over the cities and towns of Ukraine and effectively over the future of western Europe, if not the ‘free world’.

You are now the terrorist you once decried. You are now frightening your people with the hollow enemy of the Ukrainian people having been rendered into that role by your propaganda alone. You are violating the principles of international law, territorial integrity and the right to self-determination you once proclaimed to support. You now not only imagine NATO as a real and pressing enemy; you have emboldened and awakened the alliance to the very sense of alert you previously would never have considered imaginable. Indeed, it is now significant that President Zelensky again today on CNN’s Global Public Square, articulated a highly convincing argument that NATO make a decision, either to open the alliance’s door to Ukraine, or to formally close that door, rather than leave Ukraine in limbo, as he put it.

By you own words, you indicate that it was “morally unacceptable and politically senseless, harmful and dangerous” for the allies in the Second World War to participate in pacts and to appease the Third Reich, signalling, presumably without contention from you now, that for NATO to continue to appease the Russian tyrant by similar pacts, negotiations and appeasements is and will be “morally unacceptable, politically senseless, harmful and dangerous.’ You know all too well, that to appease tyrants and dictators is an act of foolishness. So, we can hardly expect and anticipate that you would be surprised if NATO, through Ukraine, actually took off the gloves, in whatever manner it deemed appropriate and necessary. Nor would you and your forces, considerably depleted and demoralized as they appear to be, be ready, willing and able to address such a shift in policy and practice.

In the CBC piece quoted above, we also read these words from Gabby Samra, one of the contributors to the piece: Milton’s Satan is a very human vision of what evil is. Satan is this really charismatic, transfixing image of evil that differentiates from the previous medieval depictions of the devil as this slavering, demonic monster. She said the Miltonic devil figure is defined by cunning, eloquence and the ability to manipulate others into bringing about their own ruin.

You Sir, are cunning, too cunning for your own good, somewhat eloquent so long as you are the only microphone permitted on the podium as you were before the fawning thousand in the soccer stadium at your recent rally. And as for your capacity, unimpeded, unchallenged, and free of all impunity, to manipulate others into bringing about their own ruin, your own officers demonstrate the fullness of this manipulation better than any of us could script. Those officers who have walked away from Ukrainian grandmothers confronting them on their illegitimate and unwarranted invasion, with sunflower seeds, so that flowers will grow on their grave, after they die in this battle, and then watched as those men did indeed just walk away, demonstrate how poignant has been their manipulation, their seduction that they were merely going on a special military operation, and not a full-scale war.

Your manipulation of the people in Moscow and in St. Petersburg, and in the hundreds of towns and cities dotting your vast land, also knows no limit: 15 years in prison for uttering or endorsing the “fake news” which literally is defined as using words like war, invasion, and killing. Protesters in the street, by your other manipulated men in uniform, are carted off in vans to prison, or for interrogation, and punishment. The cell phones of your people are being scrubbed of any evidence of expressions of protest against this war, for fear that those devices, too, will be and are instruments in your scorched earth campaign of ‘tyrannizing the truth of your actions, and your motives.

Your most noxious chicanery, of course, is that you appear to be telling the world “your demands” as if you are totally transparent in your earnest efforts to seek a peaceful negotiated settlement of this conflict. However, you more than anyone on the planet, know, both in your heart and in your mind, that the people of Ukraine are unalterably opposed to those demands, as would any self-respecting people be. And, as for self-respecting people, the Ukrainians have demonstrated such a degree and level of self-respect that the world everywhere has learned the full meaning of that concept from their inescapable mountain of evidence, hour-by-hour and day-by-day, and week-by-week, for the last month.

You, Sir, are engaged in, indeed giving birth to, the most calamitous conflict in world history since 1945. Your place in history has been secured in blood. And your fellow countrymen and women will need decades, if not centuries, to remove the stain on both their consciences and on their archives.  You are the Alpha and the Omega of this blood-bath, and while you have no justification to any kind of deification, your legacy will be covered in shame, in layers of spider-like webs of neglect and forgetfulness, for the next hundred years, regardless of the initial outcome of this conflict.

Is it not long past time for you to come to your senses, as we say in the west; to abandon your fealty to your puppet trump, and your sycophancy to Xi Jinping, and your adulation of your own hollow and virulent ego? Russia will not erect a monument to your travesty in Ukraine. And your manipulation of the world’s fossil-fuel dependency is not only unsustainable from an environmental protection perspective. It is also unambiguously manipulative of those you consider needing your largesse, another piece of evidence of the brittleness of your regime: dominating on the one hand and hollow at the same time.

You, Sir, are far more to be pitied that scorned. And that, Sir, is the epitaph you warrant on an unmarked grave in an anonymous cemetery outside Leningrad.

Your merciful Canadian scribe.


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