Soaring gas loads and fears of nuclear war
Last week my house had no light, no WiFi, no hot food for several days. If you live in a rural area, power cuts and the use of kerosene lamps are the norm. As for the hot food, well… Let’s go back to when someone reading this and speaking standard English could relate. We went through high school, college, and eventually national service, or JKT, at the time. We have lived and passed through camps.
We cooked with grass and dry sticks and ate sitting on muddy, sandy ground. We used our bowls to wash our faces, drink tea and eat ugali, beans and amazing dishes. The bowls were our smartphones.
In open-air mashambani etiquette, running out of electricity is as normal as running out of a bus. There is always the next bus, but not for us city dwellers.
Of all the vital things these days, an urbanized citizen cannot remove WiFi. We need the internet. Not having electricity and using torches is BAD, but the lack of WiFi (especially in London) is a big deal.
These days, most young people don’t know how to cook. Want some food? Just check your smartphone. You don’t even need to speak. Just click on this and that and choose any food. Vegan. Vegetarian. Meat. Gluten free. Sugar free. Without salt, etc. Perches in your home in less than 30 minutes. Not having WiFi is therefore tantamount to starvation.
Life got super expensive in April-May 2022.
Everything up at least 50%!!!
Wages? Some got a two to five percent raise, which is peanuts, to be honest. And that is the price of war. War is evil and akin to a smiling devil. War is also a lucrative business. According to market share statistics, between 2017 and 2021, the main arms exporters were the United States (39%), Russia (19%), France (11%) and China (4.6 %). In terms of military technology, we are told, the United States is in the lead, followed by China, North Korea and Israel.
Every few years when people are ravaged by planes, bombs and guns, someone makes money. While we complain about murders and rising prices, look whose bank balance is happy.
Open Democracy, an online report said in March: “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has enriched members of the British House of Lords tens of thousands of pounds through their investments in arms companies” .
Open Democracy claimed that some of these lords held at least £50,000 in British arms manufacturer BAE Systems. BAE’s share price has risen 23% since the massacres began.
War is about power, blood and money.
But what about us simple Alis, Johns, Marys and Khadijas?
We feel the pinch.
And we, Africans, what about?
Some Africans say Russia never invaded Africa. Russia never colonized Africans. There was a clip circulating online, talking about double standards.
He claimed that the massacre of innocent civilians in Ukraine is horrible, yes. Last week, the United Nations High Commissioner confirmed the death of 2,345 civilians.
Now. Check the deaths in Palestine, the clip says. In 2021, statistics provided by the Independent London newspaper quote an Israeli rights group reporting 300 Palestinians shot dead, “…at least a fifth were children, marking the deadliest year on record since 2014. Nearly 900 Palestinians were also left homeless.”
In Israel, 13 people, including two children, were killed.
In Syria, the pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that 160,681 civilians were killed between March 2021 and March 2011. The figures list the killers as other armed groups, international coalition forces , the Turkish forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces.
These killings, say many Africans, were continuous and did not create much of a stir in Ukraine. Sympathy for President Putin is not exactly what most Africans say it is. The African argument is that, in this dreadful theater of dangerous nations, Mr. Putin is doing nothing new.
Americans (and others) have been dancing it (worse) for ages.
Headlines in this week’s Sunday Times claimed that previous British governments had been reluctant (and refused) to send arms to Ukraine since 2015 “for fear of provoking Russia”. The “Insight” story gave the impression that peace and fear of nuclear escalation are central to the decision-making of some of these politicians.
Meanwhile, deaths continue to climb in Ukraine. Most of us dreaded an escalation. The first result was life becoming expensive. Following? Fear of nuclear war. And the top nuclear nations are Russia (total 5,977), the United States (5,428), China (350), and France (290).
Apparently the only safe place to be in the event of a nuclear explosion is in Antarctica.
So the nice words for mid-2022 should be caution, discretion, caution, caution, and even more caution.
Until we have reckless leaders…