I read today about a third Russian aid shipment to Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, wondering when the second one took place, since that one obviously escaped media in Sweden. Itâ€™s comforting anyway that our propaganda has become more civilized over time.
We remember the outrage caused by the first aid convoy. It was a Trojan horse; the Russians just intended to deliver arms under Red Cross cover. Or it was a propaganda stunt by Putin, pretending to be some kind of saint. And, anyway, many of the trucks were empty, etc. The convoy was denied entrance to Ukraine, a permit the Russians politely awaited while the Ukrainian leaders tried to make the most of the media frenzy. When the convoy finally just entered and delivered their goods in Luhansk it was described as an unlawful intrusion by a hostile power. And so on.
The dire situation in Luhansk, where electricity and water had been cut off due to artillery and rocket fire supposedly from the Ukrainian military, appeared to be of no concern to the Ukrainian leaders. The fate of their suffering countrymen seemed much less interesting than the propagandistic charades played out to the worldâ€™s media. I think itâ€™s proper to say in hindsight that the Ukrainian tactics in this case was a fiasco and that western mediaâ€™s complicity will be filed in the archive for disgraceful memories.
A New York Times reporter â€“ Carlotta Gall â€“ issued yesterday an informative report from the hard-hit city of Luhansk. She interviewed a hotel manager, Nikolai Pesotskii, and wrote:
â€œThe first sign of help, he said, came from a Russian convoy of aid, which entered Luhansk against the wishes of the Ukrainian government. â€˜Without that, there would have been hunger,â€™ Mr. Pesotskii said. A wealthy businessman, even he made use of a Russian food parcel, distributed from the local school, that contained canned meat, sugar and rice â€“ enough for one person for 10 days, he said.â€
Where are the superior humanitarian values of the democratic world, which constitute the core of our self adulation? How come we always prefer to bomb suffering people with grenades instead of aid, and even demonize those who do the opposite?