I thought this cartoon was very relevant – not only to the Baltimore situation but to many areas of conflict throughout the world.
Take the situation in Ukraine. The media seems to only concentrate on problems of the ceasefire – violations and non-compliance with withdrawal of heavy arms.
But the Minsk agreement covering the current ceasefire has far more content than just the ceasefire arrangements. It has political and social requirements such as constitutional reform, language rights, local autonomy and new elections.
Of course these are dependent on maintaining a ceasefire – but the ceasefire itself cannot be maintained without progress on the political agreements. Unfortunately the media concentration on the ceasefire and it’s almost complete silence on the political requirements is just not helpful to a proper solution.
The current ceasefire is crumbling and most observers are predicting outbreak of full-scale fighting in the near future. But the cause of this is not just the itchy trigger-fingers of the combatants. It is the refusal of at least some parties in the conflict to allow any progress on the political solutions.
We should stop concentrating on, and moralising about, the riots and shooting which are manifestations of the underlying problems and instead work on solving those underlying problems.
The civil war in Ukraine is almost forgotten by our news media but it is only getting worse. Poroshenko’s announcement that the US is to supply lethal weapons to the Kiev government means things are going to get much worse before they get better.
But this is what it is like for civilians being evacuated by Donetsk forces from the current battle area near Debaltseve.
[eng subs] Uglegorsk residents evacuated by the militias from the town destroyed by UAF “Grads”.
As one of the refugees demands – Poroshenko should negotiate. A political solution is necessary and it is the only way to end this war. It is what the suffering civilians need.
For balance here is some footage on the evacuations from the side of the Kiev troops.
It is well established that the first victim in war is truth. Mind you the dispatch of truth usually comes well before the shooting starts.
I have a personal interest in Ukraine and the dispatch of truth occurred for me straight after the February 21st agreement signed by the then President, the opposition leaders and representatives of the European Union. The very next day there was a coup, the opposition leaders came to power and they (together with the EU politicians) immediately abandoned the agreement – before the ink was dry!
A real pity, as they had signed up to consitutional reform involving the whole country before elections later this year. Seems to me consitutional reform is exactly what the country is crying out for. Instead we have had Orwellian doublespeak and cynical geopolitical maneuvering by the major powers, as well as the Ukrainian politicians while the people have been ignored.
Well, not quite ignored because now the acting president has taken to calling protesters “terrorists.” (This is a guy who was put into power by a coup precipitated by violent protesters in Kiev). You can understand the reaction of people to this – if not have a look at this video. Here local people protesting at the Karamtorsk airstrip in eastern Ukraine captured by military units from Kiev argue with Uranian Gen. Vasily Krutov who was attempting to defend the “anti-terrorist” action.
They ask – “Who is the terrorist here?”
via На Краматорском аэродроме высадился десант. “Генерал” дает интервью – YouTube.
Yes, it sounds mad for a president, even just an acting president, to describe his people as terrorists. But there is a cynical logic here. Appa=rently by law the Ukrainian military cannot be used against protestors unless a state of emergency is declared – or protester are redefined as terrorists, I guess.
Mind you – it’s not only the politicians who have dispatched with truth. Seems to me that many of the journalists on the ground are also distorting the situation. Compare these Twitter reports from Ilya Azsar at the airfield with the evidence of the video! This from the Pro-Kiev The Interpreter.
I can understand the anger of people in eastern Ukraine being described this way. However, I myself also feel violated by the misrepresentations that seems to count for news in the midst of such conflicts. I feel I am being denied my right to information and treated like an idiot.
See also: Tensions Boil Over on Camera in Ukraine’s East and West for more on the above incident and also the mob attack on Oleg Tsarov – one of the candidates in the planned presidential elections – who spoke up for the east Ukrainians.