-Manasvi & Tisya
On February 24, 2022, the Russian forces launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The response came after NATO and European countries denied Russia’s demand for halting the eastward expansion of NATO, which Russia considers to be a threat to its internal security. President of Russia Vladimir Putin said, “Russia cannot feel safe, develop, and exist with a constant threat emanating from the territory of modern Ukraine.” The Ukrainian Foreign Minister urged world-level support for Ukraine and asked the global powers to impose severe worldwide sanctions against Russia.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has verified the deaths of 3,381 civilians so far and has more than 3600 reported casualties. The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned the Russian act of violence and said, “In the name of humanity, do not allow a war to start in Europe which could be the worst war since the beginning of the century, with consequences not only devastating for Ukraine, not only tragic for the Russian Federation but with an impact, we cannot even foresee.”
The war is unleashing havoc on the lives of the citizens. Amid the growing tensions, there is a continued fear in the minds of the global community that the war might pave the way for a 3rd World War if not resolved through a peaceful amicable solution.
War & the Global Impact
Dwight D Eisenhower said, “War settles nothing”. This statement has stood true and tested with time. It is not war; rather, it is communication that helps bring about a peaceful solution to the gravest of conflicts. Victor Hugo aptly stated, “Peace is the virtue of civilization. War is its crime.” Civilised societies must in all situations avoid wars, as they pose a threat to not only the local but the global community. In the case of the Ukraine-Russia war, the world is facing supply-demand tensions, which in turn has resulted in the rising prices of commodities and fuel, giving birth to the economic crisis the world over. Crude prices have increased to over 60%, and food prices are also increasing at a high level. UN chief Antonio Guterres has warned that the conflict could reverberate far beyond Ukraine, causing a “hurricane of hunger and a meltdown of the global food system” as Russia and Ukraine account for 30% of global wheat exports.
DESTRUCTION OF THE SOCIO-POLITICAL FABRIC
Wars lead to the destruction of the social and political fabric of countries. Societies become prey to chaos and destruction. During wars, citizens’ rights are curtailed, and government control increases. For instance, Ukraine has announced a state of citizens’ rights emergency with power shifting into the hands of the military and government.
LOSS OF HUMAN LIVES
War casualties are high and an unthinkable number of human lives are lost, which is pretty evident if we trace back to the deadliest world wars and even inter-state and intra-state wars. According to the NY Times, “At least 108 million people were killed in wars in the twentieth century. Estimates for the total number killed in wars throughout all of human history range from 150 million to 1 billion. ”
Wars turn citizens into refugees, aliens in their motherland. According to the United Nations, there are 15 million refugees worldwide, created out of conflicts. Even so, the present situation in the Ukraine-Russia conflict seems to perpetuate the biggest refugee crisis Europe will ever face. UNHCR anticipates that nearly 4 million people will become refugees as the war unfolds in Ukraine. “This is now the fastest-growing refugee crisis since World War II,” tweeted the UN refugee agency. The detrimental effects of war are enormous and can be contained only by preventing wars. The World Community has to work out ways to prevent wars through peaceful dialogue and has to resort to peaceful means of ending conflicts by maintaining active diplomatic channels. Reflecting on the present situation between Russia and Ukraine, it is the shared responsibility of all the countries to encourage a truce between the warring sides and provide them with mediation channels, instead of carrying out extreme measures which might escalate the dreadful situation.
War’s impact on human lives
War affects us badly in every way possible. People suffer physically as well as emotionally. The wars are about ideologies, politics, and power, but the casualties are always innocent people. The mental health of women and other vulnerable groups is also at risk. People in war zones are prone to mental diseases and disorders.
Post-traumatic disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition usually triggered by traumatizing past events. One of the major symptoms of PTSD is having nightmares, vivid memories, or flashbacks of the event that make you feel like it’s happening all over again. We can also see people suffering from other psychological disorders like anxiety, different kinds of phobias, and depression. People from the armed forces and ordinary people suffer through this. We can all easily see the physical loss people go through, but mental damage is always left unnoticed. These are the long-term impacts of wars.
People also suffer socially. A child’s necessities are taken away from them. Education, food, and a healthy environment are required for a child’s healthy cognitive and social development.
In conflict zones, there have been more children since 2000. There were 1.6 billion children (69%) living in conflict-affected countries in 2019. As of 2019, 426 million children were living in conflict zones (more than one in six). These numbers represent a 2% increase from 2018.
Women, in particular, suffer more at this time. One of the most egregious examples is sexual violence during wartime. In the name of power, politics, and vengeance, women are raped. The victims are raped, murdered, and tortured by soldiers. People are often sexually molested, beaten up, or made to labor in the fields. Moroccan mercenary troops, for example, fought with Free French forces in Italy during World War II on terms that “included a license to rape and plunder in enemy territory.”
Physical damage can also lead to long-term stress as a person loses their home, gets displaced, or goes missing. War can turn a person’s entire life upside down.
War comes with a shortage of food and water. People experience lots of difficulties and fight for their lives. Nothing rational ever comes from wars. They only bring forth grief and pain. People who fight and those who are fighting against each other both suffer. We’ve all been through a lot of agonies and watched a lot of people die as a result of the coronavirus in the previous few years. Instead of promoting hate, we should spread kindness and love.