News casts show Russians, who don´t know about the war in the Ukraine, nor the havoc wrecked by the Russian army as they target civilians, destroy cities, and even bomb nuclear plants. Seventy percent of all Russians are in favor of their “peace keeping mission” and “the spreading of law and order in brother´s land.” Makes me think. Reminds me of somebody, who doesn´t read the news because it is too distracting.
Solschenizyn suggested not go silently if state security comes to pick you up. Rather, make a noise so that your neighbors hear. Don´t let anyone doubt, that you are going against your will and that your captors are doing it by force. They should all know the truth about this. His warning was, because most victims of state tyranny believe that by being law-abiding and not creating a big scene, you might just win the goodwill of the powers that be. You might even pacify these false authorities coming for you in jack boots. Big mistake! Even if they come on rubber soles, they are the idiomatic snake in the grass and you will be shoved into their prison vans in a wink, whilst the brutal forces try to keep faces straight and appearances normal. The Ukraine is making a big noise. They are showing, what chaos the Russians are bringing to their lands – and that this is not their idea of peaceful coexistence.
Back in my confirmation days, my pastor told us, that living close to a concentration camp during the 2nd World War, he had seen the countless trains with loads of huddled people coming in, but never leaving. He told of the putrid smell from the smoking furnaces and the common explanation, that that was from making soap for the people. He added: “Little did we know!” Afterwards, when they were walked through the camp, many repeated: “How could we have known?” It all looked innocent enough. Rumors of the contrary were just put off as fake news. Just like those many, many Germans, who heard afterwards, what terror the Wehrmacht had wrecked beyond German borders in Poland, Ukraine, Russia to name but just three of the many, many horror stations in that world war. Goebbels never mentioned that, did he? Neither did their own husbands, fathers, sons in their cryptic letters from the war zone. It was war. But the enemy’s radio (Feindsender!) did. No small wonder, it was forbidden to listen in on the BBC. Remember, how the authorities in East Germany (GDR) forbade citizens to switch to West-TV? That was just Propaganda! Sound familiar? It´s going on even now. Russia switched off BBC etc today.
When Max du Preez exposed the torture horrors of Vlakplaas and the “Truth and Reconcilation Commission” ran revealing reports on SABC, I thought again and again: “I didn´t know that!” How could that have happened in our dearly beloved and honored home- and fatherland? That recalled the many times, when foreign criticism of Apartheid was just discounted with a “You don´t know. You can´t know. You are a foreigner!” That held true of our very own Director of Missions: Rev. Friedrich Wilhelm Hopf DD. Some discontinued reading his “Missionsblatt” – because it was far too political! Or local atrocities were relativized with other horrors far away: “See? You are not much better (or even worse!) and how can You judge us?” Local criticism was silenced with: “Don´t wash our own dirty linen in public!” Germans call them: “Nestbeschmutzer!” People who bring their own family into disrepute. Do you recognize how perpetrators stylize themselves as victims and victims, who speak out, become further brutalized, ostracized, and punished?
Well, in peace and quiet, there is room for civilized debate, pro et contra – much like Luther´s ninety five academic thesis. At first that was just a professorial plea to clarify legalistic and pastoral misunderstandings, get the gospel back on track and live happily ever after. However, when the Pope refused to listen and declared war against Luther, the cards were on the table. There was no room for debate, but high time for clarity, strong words and determined action. As long as Hitler was still in the realm of legality, opposition was difficult, but he exposed himself more and more as prime evil. Especially when he legalized evil – like the lawful extermination of Jews. Some like Sasse and Bonhoeffer saw this abomination earlier than others, but some never woke up, but revered this deceiver as their leader and savior even when there was no room left for excuses. This German tyrant had not just transgressed basic commandments of God. He legalized apostasy, homicide, total war. He put himself in God´s place and deceitfully clothed himself as an angel of peace and goodwill. The only question remaining is, how to stop this blatant perpetrator and get rid of the evil leader, democratically elected in a previously civilized country. War changes everything – and the willingness to start war on others, is a blatant rejection of all legality, civility, and humanity even. Tyrannenmord: Kill the tyrant!
Many have blamed today´s Germans, that they were so tolerant and bent over backwards giving Putin the room he craved. Just like the British in the heydays. Poland had to be attacked in those bleak September’s days, before they woke up and declared war. There was no other way to stop Hitler´s armies. Thank God they did. And thank God, the Americans joined in after Pearl Harbor. We can all lament the fact that they woke up so late, but thankfully they woke up eventually. It took Germany and NATO far too long to push back against Putin. At last the please of the Ukrainians are heard. Their valiant efforts at defending their fatherland are astonishing, but Russia is all out to kill. It´s hurting its very own motherland. It´s that simple. There is no validity in the claims, that Russia needs to appease own hurt feelings in such a barbaric way. That´s puerile nonsense like dueling or archaic “Ehrenmorde!” Grow up and get a life: It´s free.
We know, the Russians can unchain hell fire still and they´re hell bound to do it. I have my doubts, whether the Ukrainians can withstand their aggressive onslaught much longer. But there is no doubt in my mind, that Putin is a bloody tyrant. He and his grim generals have too much innocent blood on their hands already, they´ve brought crying shame on Mother Russia and endless grief on their own people, never mind the horrific war they have unchained and brought to the independent nation of Ukraine. I know, Russia can do far worse, but we can´t say that we didn´t know this. It is high time to wake up and take a stand against the evil war machine with all means at our disposal wherever we are. Otherwise, the free world, as we know it, might fall – even as we are sleeping. It could be barren emptiness functioning as dreaded Gulags. Ignorance doesn´t serve as an excuse in courts of law. It doesn´t in everyday life either. Sticking one’s head into the sand is no meaningful option. We have a responsibility to get informed and truthfully so even if it aggravates Putin, his devious generals, and terrible war machine.