Lost me in the first paragraph when the author said that Merkel was capable.
And when he decided to casually slag off the UK too.
”but as yet, for shameful political reasons, the British people have been mostly unable to help the people of Ukraine. Germany, a state shaped by Angela Merkel, one of the few leaders of her generation who was both capable and decent, has helped hundreds of thousands.”
There is no explanation of his sweeping justification of ‘political reasons’ that allows us as readers to understand or critique, which is very unusual in Unherd. I suspect it’s some king of veiled accusation that the British Tory government is racist. The same government that is letting hundreds of thousands more non-EU immigrants into the country as well as Hong Kong refugees.
And no reference to the fact that Germany are paying for Putin’s war, so of course they feel the need to assuage their guilt by taking more refugees. They’re really nice to Jews these days too.
Why does Unherd allow such a cliched and casual dismissal of the U.K. – it’s standard jaundiced and lazy journalism and not what I expect from Unherd.
Ah he was working for Radio 4, that explains his sneering animosity for the U.K. – a mandatory qualification for that august Orwellian entity.
Merkle. Capable and decent? She is largely responsible for this catastrophe by her insane policy of trusting the Russians for Germany’s energy.
These upper class British reporters are so drearily predictable. Most people – including their president – would say that Britain has led the world in its response to the Russian invasion while Germany has been a disgrace – unable to respond with any force because of its supine dependency on Russia.
The only people who take an opposite view are writers like Horatio who see Britain as “shameful”. It is not a view held by men called Dave or John, only those called things like Horatio.
Whenever I have read of a disaster from Russia, I had always acknowledged the pain that must have been felt.
Apart from Chernobyl, I can recall watching the briefest of news reports on either ITV or BBC in the summer of 1989 of the Ufa train disaster when probably nearly a thousand Russians died as a result of a gas leak over a rail line that resulted in a fireball as two packed passenger trains passed each other. Ufa I believe is in central Russia and many of the passengers were heading south to go on holiday. Because the disaster occurred on the same day as the Tianamann Square event and the Ayatollah dying, this piece of tragic news was easily forgotten. At the time it was also quite difficult to get news of even a non-military event out of the USSR anyway. But the reason I recall this event in my mind was the novelty of even being able to watch brief footage of the scene of the events from the deep interior of Russia: well, not exactly. It was from a hospital that had treated the many badly burned survivors: and it was the image of two “tough” Russian doctors crumpled up in tears in a treatment room of some kind. A brief three second clip, of a man and a woman, from what I can recall. Perhaps whatever news organisation in the West had obtained news footage from Moscow had had to edit some of it in order to get through what was a busy day of international events. And so maybe there was originally more film. But a three-second clip was all I needed to see that the Russians were human too. As Sting sang, I hope the Russians love their children too.
Another disaster I recall reading about, at the time, was of a bus being hit by a train near St Petersburg in 1990, at the time of the Italia World Cup. I recall reading that the bus driver was in a rush to get back home to watch the football. And dozens died.
More recently there was a passenger plane crash, perhaps six years ago, when, in January I think it was, the plane, having taken off from I guess Moscow, slammed into the frozen ground. I recall reading that one of the victims, who was named, was an air stewardess in her early twenties. And It’s desperate to read about such a young life taken in such a routine way, by merely doing one’s job. And it was a job the young lady may well have been proud of doing.
But not long after that air crash was the shopping centre fire in a mid-Russia city that claimed the lives of about forty people. A piece in the Guardian by a Russian writer soon after claimed that the West ignored the realities of the way Russians had to live as much as Moscow did. It basically said that the West does not care about Russia either. But If only some Russians had known of the concern that Westerners did have. Like me. Who had a few months before read of the tragic plane crash and the young lady air stewardess.
But life IS cheap in Russia. The Ukrainians were an antidote, are, to that fecklessness. Are they not? And I believe that many Russians would like to transform their own society.
Another news item I recall watching from the early 1980s, in relation to Russia, was in fact from America. It concerned the death of a teenage American girl in a light plane crash over perhaps Massachusetts or nearby. Perhaps the individual concerned was from that state. But I think she died with her father who was piloting the plane (if my memory I sincerely hope serves me well). The reason this young lady’s untimely death was reported was that she had been in Russia not long before on a peace mission. (Her smiling face was shown from a photo from when she had been in Russia: if I recall right when she was in traditional Russian dress). To encourage goodwill between Russia and America, perhaps between each country’s youths. And probably in both America and Russia her enterprise, or perhaps it was part of an exchange programme at the time, had made the news. I imagine that her tragic death had made the news in Russia too. And it was on British television, albeit briefly.
Life is precious.
I have not googled any of these stories to jog the memory as it were. Except for the Ufa train disaster. But only to confirm in my mind the memory of that brief TV news report from June of 1989.
This piece ended abruptly. All those Ukrainian refugees must be very weary. If the war were to end tomorrow, I don’t think they would not have the energy to hate. At least Germany is by now, now that it’s early summer, a sunny and safe space. The Kremlin has a lot to be blamed for. It has no shame. Millions of Ukrainians have been driven out of their homeland.
Let me rephrase: I don’t think they would have the energy to hate.
Is what I meant.
Moving piece of normal people being heroic. Thanks for the inspirational story brightening my morning.
It’s so sad about the children. It’s such a shame to subject children to war. I thought we were past wars of colonisation in Europe. Russia needs to get itself together and move on from imperialism like Britain, France, Germany etc.
Excellent writing and observation