Like most people, I am horrified by what is happening in Ukraine. There is so much historical evidence that wars do not solve problems or end well, yet politics continues to cause wars. And the result is human suffering.
It makes me despair sometimes that we just don’t seem to learn from past mistakes. So what can we do?
Well, we can protest against war, we can do what we can to help those who are the hapless victims of the war, but then what?
We can notice the kindness of people in an emergency: people driving miles to pick up refugees and take them to a safe place, people providing shelter and provisions for those refugees.
We can notice that the president of Ukraine – not a career politician – has not run away and hidden, saved himself. He has stood up for his people, and called out the wrongness of the situation on all sides. So maybe we can have leaders who actually care about something other than their own egos.
And we can notice that large numbers of Russians are prepared to risk imprisonment in order to protest about what their ‘leader’ is doing. They are not the enemy.
It also seems to me that one thing we can do is to make sure we don’t replicate the mistakes of our ‘leaders’ – that we consciously make an effort to learn from our own mistakes, our own miscalculations, our own lack of understanding of other people’s view of the world.
When we know we’ve got it wrong – and we all do know – let’s stop and look at what happened. This is not an exercise in beating yourself up. It is to consider what else we could have done, how we might have approached the situation differently, in order to create a better, more positive outcome. By thinking this through, we make it more likely that, next time we come across a similar situation, we put into practice our revised version of action and show to ourselves that we have learnt from our own history.
It is sad that events like this can happen in our world – pray God, this time there may be some learning from it!