This is the third publication I have written about the war in Ukraine. It has been interesting to see how the conflict has developed, but I have now started reflecting on the effect of writing about this for so long on me. I have been following the conflict almost hour by hour. At first it was exciting because the situation was developing so quickly and at any moment something exciting could happen. I was hooked, like watching a show that you just can’t get enough of. It’s been a month now, and the conflict has slowed down. The battlegrounds are becoming static, the diplomatic developments are much slower and not as exciting, and every day more images and videos come and show the death, destruction, and humanitarian crisis that this war has caused.
It’s really made me think how one month ago this was all anyone could talk about but now it’s just another headline. It really made me think about just how accustomed we are to hearing about war and how little we care. Some of the earliest memories I have of watching the news was watching US soldiers fight in Iraq. I remember when the Iraq war ended in 2011, I was eating pizza with my brother in the living room as Obama announced the war was over. I remember when I found out about the war in Syria: it was years after it began. It was in 2013, and my 8th grade history teacher talked about the Nobel Peace Prize winner and the work they did in Syria. It really has dawned on me how accustomed we are to hearing about never ending wars in some distant desert country.
It reminds me of the never-ending war in Orwell’s 1984. No one knows why it’s happening, and no one cares. I keep thinking of the phrase “war is peace” and the meaning behind it. Even in peacetime we still see conflicts being fought but because they’re not in Europe or in the US nobody cares after a few days. I keep wondering if the same will happen to Ukraine. To us, it’s just videos of burning tanks on TV and endless discussions on sanctions and oil prices. But to millions of people, their world has been turned upside down. Ukraine will never be the same after this war. But to us, life still goes on, and the news moves on to the next war in some faraway land nobody has ever heard of.