An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
HOW MANY bombed-out maternity hospitals will it take? How many destroyed apartment buildings, flattened shopping centres, public buildings?
How many dead women, men and children? How many more hundreds of thousands of refugees? How many more destroyed cities? How many more atrocities committed by Russia against Ukraine?
How many, before we stop being bystanders to this outrage?
We rally and we march. We sanction and we condemn. But, we say, we can’t get involved, not really. So we send food and medical supplies and guns but sooner or later that will become more and more difficult and the humanitarian crisis will get even worse.
Is there no red line in this war? Is there nothing Putin can do that will push us into taking even the slightest risk?
We tremble in fear that he will launch World War Three if we offend him. He says a no-fly zone would be considered involvement in the war so we say, OK, Vladimir, no no-fly zone, not to worry.
He says we can’t give airplanes to the Ukraine because that would be an escalation so, alright, no airplanes.
Where’s the tipping point? Certainly not, apparently, people’s homes and lives being destroyed. Not the sight of injured pregnant mothers being carried out of a destroyed maternity hospital. Not the blown-up schools and kindergartens.
Russia doesn’t have enough missiles and cluster bombs, it seems, to change our minds.
But surely, in the name of humanity, there must come a time when we say, “Enough is enough.” A time when we say, “We accept the risk because the consequences of not accepting it are more than our sense of decency can endure.”
A time when we start sending in fighter planes and set up a no-fly zone as the Ukrainians are asking. It’s beginning to feel more and more as though it’s the least we can do.
To use that well-worn phrase, are we there yet?
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at email@example.com.