Russia-Ukraine in My Neighbourhood

Published on 15th March 2022

I live in Canada. Canada has a big chunk of citizens with Ukrainian bloodline. Thus, what’s happening in Ukraine directly affect Canada. Though I’m African, my kids have daily been asking me many questions about the conflict. I have also received many messages from my university about the same.

After Russia invaded Ukraine, the types of questions I am asked have changed from my personal experience and home to Ukraine as if I’m a Ukrainian. There is this neighbour of mine who doesn’t hate or love me. He doesn’t even greet me sometimes. Because of the centrality of Europe and Ukraine being one of its countries, he recently asked me: ‘’Why is Russia doing this to Ukraine?’’

Guess what? I simply replied that this is how colonialism works. For us victims, no colonisation is decent or justifiable. It is criminality. He did not get it and wanted to know what I meant. I told him that this wasn’t the first time a sovereign country had been invaded by another. I cited Libya which was invaded by the west in 2011 and its president, Muamar Gaddafi killed but nobody in Canada was concerned.

I reminded him that we had been neighbours since 2009 and he didn’t come to ask me why the west invaded Libya and killed its president. Mind you. This neighbour used to be afraid of me because of Covid-19 isolation.

Soon after Russia invaded Ukraine, Covid-19 was pushed under the rag. If this didn’t happen, some western rulers like Boris Johnson–––who faced the scandal of flouting Covid-19 rules–––would have been already in the cold.

More on my neighbour, I told him that Libya’s GDP was twice bigger than that of Ukraine and life was better than Ukraine’s but internationally, Libya’s plight wasn’t anything to consider since it wasn’t a European country. Who would believe that Libyans who used to be looked after by their government are today begging for charcoals and eggs in the paradise they used to enjoy and take for granted? Those who used to be given stipends for marriage and apartments, most of them are now scavengers. Again, they’re neither European nor white. Despite being pushed to go to the dogs, Libya’s GDP per capita is still as twice as bigger as that of Ukraine today.

Another friend asked me if Russia would win this war. He wanted to know my views of the conflict and what can be done to save Ukraine and its people. I openly told him that there won’t be any winner since war is destructive. We all have already borne the brunt of it. Gas prices are increasing like crazy, and this directly affects everything be it goods or our livelihoods globally. I told him that the only winner is colonialism since after the war, new laws and rules will be enacted to compensate the loss and poor countries will bear the blunt.

My other friend asked me if it was good to show solidarity with Ukraine. I told him that that it was a good thing to do. However, I asked him why didn’t we apply the same to Liby. He replied that Libya’s plight happened a long time ago and that Ukraine is a civilised, white and European country. I responded that, to me, what transpired in Libya did just happen yesterday and that it is not only European and white countries that deserve to enjoy peace as opposed to non-European ones.

Knowing I am a Peace and Conflict Scholar, another friend said that Putin is evil because he invaded Ukraine. Again, I asked him why this rationale didn’t apply anywhere when the west minus Russia invaded Libya, it did not become bad or evil. He couldn’t answer. I asked him why and decided to answer my own question by giving two reasons. First, Libya is an African country. Secondly, Libya isn’t a civilised country apart from being a Muslim country. So, too, it wasn’t invaded by Putin. This means that if Putin invaded an African country­­­ he would neither have shaken the world nor be seen as evil and dangerous to the world.

The West toppled Patrice Lumumba, the founder of the Congo, later Zaire and now the DRC; Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana) and installed stinking dictators. Again, this wasn’t an international issue since the duo didn’t go to the communists, then led by the defunct USSR. So, too, the DRC, like Libya, is neither a European country.

The ongoing war in Ukraine has shown how the West has lost it. What difference does this make from colonialism, which made do with criminality against others and created the capital for Europe we see today? Essentially, the biggest lesson is that all catfish have barbels.

By Nkwazi Mhango

Mhango is a lifetime member of the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador (WANL), an expert in Terrorism and author of over 20 books among which are Africa Reunite or Perish, 'Is It Global War on Terrorism' or Global War over Terra Africana? How Africa Developed Europe and contributed many chapters in scholarly works.

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