••• The International Writers Magazine - 23 Years on-line - State of Things 2022
It might be that Putin doesn’t listen to Justin Timberlake but he might be familiar with the above saying ' What Goes etc' – life is a circle and the misery he is inflicting on Ukraine, now Europe and by winter the starving millions in the Middle-East and Africa and Asia who won’t be getting the much needed grain (or afford it if available) will eventually blow back on Russia. Not Putin of course, dining on caviar in his underground bunker, but the people of his festering kingdom – daily subjected to a diet of extreme fascist propaganda that has so far kept them in check and fully complicit with his ‘global misery’ plans. It’s easy to do. The average Russian has a miserable life with a poor diet , so imposing the same standard on Europe and Ukraine is his version of leveling down. Literally leveling whole towns and cities in Ukraine, of course.
What Goes Around Comes Around
Justice may not come quickly. The capacity to live with misery and low life expectancy in Russia is hard to shake. Sure, the top one percent lives in luxury, as do their children and fellow travelers, but the rest live on vodka and promises. They probably genuinely believe that real democracy is evil. The Autocrats know what’s best for you – the fat cats will feed you junk food and tell you you’ve never had it so good. Memories of better times or opposing views are illegal. Russia lives permanently in the moment with a hard boot pressed against their necks.
Meanwhile in Europe, faced with extraordinary energy costs and rationing this winter the economies will drop off a cliff. 2008 will seem like a picnic. It may be that democracy itself may not survive it. Italy is already showing the strain (As Far Right politicians do Putin's bidding there). Germany may rue their feckless previous government that allowed their dependency on Russia and blame the Greens for forcing the nuclear reactors off line. Either way, who will be able to afford to buy their cars in 2023? Assuming they even get built.
I dread what will happen in my own country as our new PM Liz Truss takes over and quickly bankrupts the country with unfunded tax cuts that make very little difference to our ability to pay for heating our homes or our workplaces. Experts say heating could cost £500 ($600) a month by January. It’s quite likely that civil strife could break out all over Europe as some or indeed many people go hungry.
You think this is too gloomy – maybe you’re an optimist. But the parallels with the late 1930’s are too great to ignore. History doesn’t repeat in an identical way but it echoes and I wonder where we shall find the necessary leaders to face this challenge and speak the truth to people. Our opposition keeps yelling elect us and we shall promise ‘growth, growth, growth’ ignoring that we signed up to net-zero and you can’t have industrial growth and net-zero – no matter how many industries try to adapt to climate change.
War will only set us back further- the weather won’t wait for us to make up our squabbles. The glaciers are melting – the rivers are drying up – the world population is still rising. Something has to give. It might be the forests; it might be whole countries face starvation and war simultaneously. Gluing yourself to our highways won’t stop Putin. He’s merely the catalyst for a possible global catastrophe.
And all the more caviar for him.
© Sam Hawksmoor - August 2022
Author of The Book of Ashes (Published August 2022)