by Jonathan Moniz, Staff Writer
This past week saw the breakdown of a crucial truce in Syria, due to not only miscommunication between the United States and Russia, but also due to aggression from unknown parties that disturbed the truce. A U.N. humanitarian convoy was struck by missiles, while a Syrian army base was also attacked.
Both the U.S. and Russia blamed each other for the attacks, citing the other’s belligerence and refusal to cooperate as responsibility for the break-up of the truce. However, both are equally to blame, for neither truly bothered to cooperate and communicate during this truce. Instead, it became one side or the other seeking to lay blame and demonize the other, with neither working to come together.
This has been the history between our two countries for a long time now, ever since the end of World War II and the bitter rivalry between the new Soviet Union and the United States began.
The United States’ aggressive foreign policy to keep communism “contained” and to “protect” democracy (descending into the Cold War), lead to an economic and influential conflict that shaped the future and led to the Soviet Union’s collapse.
From there has emerged a bitter and tense diplomatic state between the U.S. and Russia, a constant measure of wills that neither side is willing to admit they are invested in.
The time has only made it grown worse – not only is the U.S. embattled with Russia’s ally, President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, but numerous hacking attempts from Russian sources have soured the political situation considerably.
It’s all truly foolish, naive, and childish. I will not mince words, because in a world with over 13,000 nuclear weapons in our grasp, we cannot afford to be foolish or careless. The cost would be far, far too great to consider.
This is such a serious topic, and it’s downright disheartening. It rings of defeat, of despair, of the fact the world will be forever hindered by nationalistic views.
This idea, this difference that the nations hold so highly, is what keeps us from finding peace. The ideas of many Russians and Americans that we, as Americans and Russians, cannot come together, is ludicrous. But it is ideas like this that prevent the Syrian truce from working, and becoming more than just a farfetched reality.
We are human before we are Russian or American. In the age of the Internet, we realize this more than ever. In the ‘60s and during the Cold War, the interaction between Americans and Russians was few and far between. There was no way to contact them, no courier or postal service between the countries, nothing of use.
With organizations like the European Union, no longer is that true. Now, every year the country sends delegates to the Olympics.
Take for example the Eurovision contest, a celebration of music from all 27 countries of the European Union.
In 2015, the singer who represented Russia for the contest was Polina Gagarina, whose entry A Million Voices, was about world peace, ironically. It was about people coming together. “We are the world’s people, different, and we’re the same. Praying for peace and healing, hope we can start again” is how the song begins.
This festival happened around the same time that Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula, a controversial maneuver that world leaders across the globe denounced.
As such, Gagarina’s performance, a clear olive branch extended in one of the most peaceful demonstrations of sheer humanity, was met with boos at the end.
Her song placed only second, and was widely considered by many to be the victim of political intrusion in the contest. Is that not an apology? A beginning to peace? A small entreaty for forgiveness and acceptance?
What about a song would be so hard to accept?
In a world like this, there is no time for nationalism anymore. We must all join together, or cease to exist. The challenges facing us are great: from global warming, to hunger, to starvation, and massive wars. If we are divided, we will fail.
But together, we can do so much. One flag, one planet. Extending past Russia, this goes to all of the continents, to all corners of the compass: to Asia and Africa, to Europe and the Americas, we need to come together more than ever. End world hunger. Solve global warming. Stop wars.
In a world with people and knowledge only a click away, when we can make connections on the other side of the planet and become friends with people thousands of miles away, there is no excuse for this anymore.
Let’s tear down these walls and throw away these borders – let’s grow together, now. Let’s not retreat from the world because we’re scared of change. Let’s embrace that change.
The strength and brilliance of all humanity, coming together, is a powerful force. A force that can do anything. As the chorus for A Million Voices goes,
“When you hear our voices call, know you won’t be lonely anymore.”