“I grew up during war and I don't wish it on anyone. We must stop this nonsense where innocent people die. We want to live in peace.” Not my words, of course, but the words of Luka Modrić.
It seems somewhat surreal that in 2023 Europe is again at war. Surreal, sad, yet depressingly true.
The 2020’s have been a decade to forget so far. After two years of a global pandemic now we have a war. A hundred years ago the decade was known as the Roaring 20’s in the Western world, as it was a decade of economic growth and widespread prosperity. In France the same decade was called “Années folles” which translates as the crazy years. And in Russia, and this might just be a coincidence, they were going through a civil war that brought about the introduction of the communist state. Again this might be a coincidence, but the war ended exactly one hundred years ago, in 1922.
Whilst the world was of course connected a hundred years ago, the past century has seen a global effect like never before. “Look at all those people in front of the bank,” said my wife as we drove through Gruž. A war in Ukraine has people queuing to save their money from a Russian owned bank.
One tiny fish on the world stage, or rather a plankton-sized fish, has its own connections to the war, with a hotel, restaurant and bank all under Russian control. We even have a petrol station in Lukoil. Not to mention a future hotel resort investment closer to me in Župa. The domino effect is in full force.
And yes, of course, our tourism industry will feel the effects as well. Flights from Russia, which landed in large numbers last year, are currently grounded. Tourists from both Ukraine and Russia made up around 4 percent of all guests in the county last year. However, talking about our fragile tourism industry seems somewhat insensitive when the people of Ukraine are suffering so much.
“All wars are fought for money,” said the Greek philosopher Socrates.
In 2012 Ukraine discovered natural gas around the Crimean Peninsula in the Black Sea worth trillions of dollars. Two years later Russia invaded and at the same time took control of the gas fields. Coincidence?
Before this invasion Ukraine was the 26th biggest supplier of natural gas in the world.
In 2013 the Ukraine government signed a deal with the global oil company Shell to extract natural gas from the Donetsk region, though to be enough gas to supply the whole country, again (coincidence) Russia invaded this region a year later in 2014. Seems like Socrates was right!
There is one major gas and oil field in Ukraine, in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains in the far west of the country. they have two from three, are they going after the third.
As the informant in the famous, or rather infamous Watergate Scandal in the US said, “follow the money.”
And as always innocent people get caught in the middle of the global game of Monopoly. The Russian smokescreen of Ukraine joining NATO as an excuse is just that, “the fog of war.”
We’ve had a pandemic that didn’t respect any borders and now a Russian President who is doing the same.
And you know what followed the Roaring 20’s, the Great Depression of the 1930’s, a decade haunted by mass poverty, violent extremism and ending in a world war. The stupidity of man knows no limits. Has history not taught us anything? We are simultaneously the smartest and dumbest animal on earth.
The rest of the animal kingdom must be thinking “Here those idiots go again, fighting amongst themselves!”
Now of course, nothing is as black and white as our brains like to make things. But one thing is for sure the current Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has proved himself as a brave patriot and has written his legacy in the last week. Formally a comedian and actor, Zelenskyy has shown that some politicians are comedians, but that some comedians can make strong and effective politicians. We used to listen to politicians and laugh at comedians...now what?
My thoughts are with Ukraine and the innocent people suffering due to a senseless war. Hopefully a time for talks will come soon, for as Winston Churchill famously said “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak, it’s also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to