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  • Robison Wells

Stop Telling People How To Mourn



Let's get one thing out of the way: war is hell. No war, no matter how "just", is a good war. There will always be tragedy and devastation and collateral damage and the death of innocents. War is bad.


But as I have been watching the news over social media, YouTube, NPR, CNN, Fox News, and every other source I can find news updates, I can't help but think of the old story of the crabs trying to get out of the bucket: if you put crabs in a bucket, even a lot of them, they will constantly tear each other down so that THEY will be the one crab to reach the top, all the other crabs be damned.


I am particularly bothered at the moment by the people who are using the current war in Ukraine--a devastating war with massive repurcussions for global politics and security--to promote their own personal greivances.


The most frequent thing I hear, which is, honestly, legitimate, are the people who are saying "Why are you so concerned about wars in white European countries when you're not concerned about wars in African and Middle Eastern countries where the people are of different races, religions, and cultures?" This is a legitimate concern--BUT, it is not the thing that we need to focus on right now.


When someone says "Why do you care so much about Ukraine when you didn't care about Syria?" they are saying that it's not okay to care about one thing if you don't care about EVERYTHING. And that's just wrong.


Are there people who are racist who are only concerned about white people dying? Sure. But are there people who are legitimately hard-hit by the War in Ukraine who don't know how to process it and are doing the best that they can? Also yes.


I get so tired of the moral superiority that comes from people who say "You didn't care about civilian casualties in Afghanistan; why are you caring about civilian casualties in Ukraine?" Because maybe we DID care about civilian casualties in both conflicts, and Ukraine just happens to be in the news right now.


Stop telling people how to mourn. If someone is brokenhearted by the war in the Ukraine, don't criticize them as being hypocrites about other wars. Odds are very good that these people are equally heartbroken by death everywhere, and this just happens to be top-of-mind right now.


If you want an extreme example, there was a Facebook thread floating around from someone's neighborhood page where someone said they wanted to donate to the people in Ukraine but only if it would go to vegetarian or vegan food supplies, and they 100% honest-to-goodness said "What good does it do to stop Russia if we can't lessen our meat intake?"


Guys, war is hell. Let people mourn the war, and let them deal with it in their own way. Don't call people hypocrites for not adhering perfectly to your worldview because, let's face it, you're not an expert, and I'm not an expert, and we can all use a little more education.


We should never use tragedy to say "You think THAT was a tragedy? Well what about this other thing??"


The world is bad enough right now and we have the sword of Damocles hanging over our heads. If some people want to say that they're upset about the War in Ukraine but they didn't make as big of a complaint over Syria--let them. We all have learning to do. No one is perfect. We only have enough spoons to care about a few things at a time, and right now caring about bombings of maternity wards is taking up all my spoons.


I will eventually be able to look back and evaluate the bigger picture, but what the world needs right now is a united front, not people tearing each other down because not everyone cares about the exact same issues that you care about.

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