The hypocrisy of a leftist “No to War” that comes too late

Ramiro Gómez in Donbass.

“Now, the people of Donbass will be able to leave their shelters and play in a park with their children, without fear of blowing themselves up, for the first time in 8 years.”

I am writing this trying to contain the rage and indignation I feel at the reactions of the Western left and society in general about the Russian counter-attack against Ukraine.

The truth is that I do not expect much from this. I have more than enough proof that there is no one more blind than the one who does not want to see, and that no matter how much you repeat a thousand times that the TV manipulates, you continue dancing to the rhythm that the western mass media set for you.

Yesterday I saw the social networks full of NO TO WAR posters which have been cleaned of the almost 20 years of cobwebs since the war in Iraq.

I could say that those same posters have been forgotten at the bottom of the drawer of infamy, while Israel massacred Palestine. While the U.S. ravaged Afghanistan, or Libya, in massive bombings that resulted in the deaths of more than 150,000 people, including thousands of children. Deaths which the US has refused to investigate. But to say all this, it would be too easy. I could say that when the media told you again, that as with Libya you had to intervene in Syria, you kept quiet while the US attacked a sovereign country and plundered its oil reserves.

I could also say that so far in February 2022, there have been deaths in Palestine, in Damascus by Israeli bombing, as well as in Yemen and Somalia. And your little posters were still forgotten.

I could also say that Western policies have caused a continuing genocide in the Mediterranean waters, but 4 assholes would accuse me of demagoguery. It is clear that there are deaths that matter, and others that do not.

As Malcolm X used to say, be careful with the media, otherwise you will end up defending the oppressors.

But I want to focus on the war that broke out in Ukraine in 2014, to which, your vapid posters are 8 years too late. Everyone can become absent-minded, we can all make mistakes, but it is also possible that there is something more perverse depending on the “oversights”.

To have memory is something very important, especially in a society that manufactures throwaway conflicts for which most people only react by placing a fashionable avatar in their profile picture, which days later with the appearance of any tabloid article, news about soccer or any other bullshit expires in infertile soil.

First of all it is necessary to understand that a war nowadays does not appear out of nowhere and that many of us understand that the global war started a long time ago. Another thing is that the media we feed on, decide what the weather is, or what conflicts exist or do not exist, but there are many corners of the world that have been at war for years and are invisible because the economic interests behind it favor the western alliance USA-NATO.

For years NATO-USA has been breaking its commitment and building military bases establishing its troops along the Russian border, with the intention of weakening and besieging the Eurasian countries that could compete with the dollar and the euro.

It is as easy as looking up on a map the NATO bases around the world and you will see how the military moves of harassment have been ongoing for years.

The Ukrainian War is just one more chapter in a much longer series and it is essential to keep this in mind when analyzing the events of the last few days.

First of all, and to warn the rats that may appear, I will say that Putin disgusts me, and that Russia is not the USSR and its policies have nothing to do with its Soviet past, but I refuse to put the focus on Russia, because I consider that it is putting the balance axis in the wrong place which can only lead to manipulated positions.

I am going to focus on my beloved people of Donbass.

When in 2013 the Maidan movement emerged as a supposed social response to political corruption, the workers and miners of the Donbass viewed it with sympathy, despite the fact that they were involved in a coal strike, of cities long abandoned by the administrations, which was far away from the life of the capital.

From here we also saw the images of the mass demonstrations in Kiev and how they clashed violently with the police.

Up to that point everything was going well. The red-black flags gave a nice touch for a society of spectacle like ours to applaud the symbols and support these movements.

Things started to go awry when the demonstrators attacking the police were in paramilitary uniforms and Nazi symbols began to appear on their shields. Something was beginning to smell. The red-and-black flag turned out to be the symbol of the Ukrainian insurgent army of Nazi Stepan Bandera, who allied himself with the German Nazis in World War II, carrying out massacres of his fellow Ukrainian Jews that shocked the Germans themselves.

It is curious to see how if someone throws a stone at the police in Euskadi, Catalonia or Madrid, they are little less than a terrorist, and when someone burns a policeman alive in Venezuela or Ukraine, they are an activist for freedom.

The fact is that the events that followed were known to all. President Yanukovych (just another corrupt man, like any other) left Ukraine and the coup d’état put in place a recognized fascist like Poroshenko. The Nazis took to the streets. Gradually it would be discovered that such protests were supported by briefcases of American dollars that were pumped into raising this monster of war.

The violence since then has been savage and daily. The first thing they did was to go to communist and anti-fascist headquarters and smash them. Armed Nazi groups came to all the assemblies, and said, either join us or we will kill you. Many fled and moved away, other so-called comrades joined the Nazi ranks in pursuit of Ukrainian Unity. An absurdity, but so it was.

The population of Ukraine is very heterogeneous, with 20% people of Russian descent, mainly settled in the east of the country, in the mining basin of Donbass. There are also Tatars, Belarusians, Romanians, Moldovans, Hungarian Poles, Gypsies, Jews, etc.

In eastern Ukraine, when Stalin sent thousands of Russian workers to populate the abandoned coal-rich Donbass area to exploit the mines, Russian and Ukrainian families merged, creating a healthy coexistence with more brotherly love than hatred. Families of Russian fathers and Ukrainian mothers and vice versa were quite normal there.

But ominously, something was brewing years ago.

First of all, education began to whitewash the insurgent army of Stepan Bandera, who had been considered unpatriotic outlaws, and began to sell them in schools as “heroes for the fatherland” (today it is easy to find primary school books with children drawn with the red-and-black emblems of these murderous savages).

On the other hand, from the main political talk shows on Ukrainian television, began to be created the breeding ground of ethnic hatred very well designed and cooked, in which the Russian population was presented as the culprit of all the economic ills suffered by the Ukrainian people. All of this was complicated by Yanukovych’s local policy of favoring trade relations with Russia rather than with “prosperous Europe”.

In these talk shows they began to portray the population of the Donbass as almost subhuman monkeys who were only good for picking coal mines, in contrast to the Ukrainian population of Kiev with its university and its modern world. There was a constant bombardment of ethnic hatred.

There is a video on the internet in which a famous Ukrainian talk show host is seen saying “It is a hard truth to accept, but those people are a burden, they impoverish us, and they occupy a space that we real Ukrainians need. It is hard to say, but there are people in Donbass who must die.” Just like that, and without relinquishment. Meanwhile, for years, in parallel, the Pravy Sektor and Svoboda, the main Ukrainian Nazi parties, paramilitarily trained their militants in war and combat techniques with Western money.

Returning to the Maidan, the effect of all this strategy bore the fruits they expected. Nazi and racist hatred was translated into lynchings in Kiev of racialized people, homosexuals, leftists, or those nostalgic for the Soviet past. The murders were happening every day. At that moment is when the paramilitary groups of extreme right, are formed as official military battalions, paid with a good salary directly from the wallets of local oligarchs like Kolomoski among others. These battalions are heading for the Donbass.

While these formations march emulating in symbology and uniforms the German Nazi groups, the civilians of Kiev applaud them while chanting “death to the Russians”, “Glory to Ukraine, glory to the heroes”. Tragedy was in the air.

While the Nazi units were on their way to raze the people of Donbass to the ground, the ultra-nationalist civilian hotheads began to impose their law in all the cities. The first thing they did was to tear down all the statues of Lenin (in the east there is one in every town) and to lynch all those they considered enemies of the fatherland.

There are many images of different events, where groups of young and not so young people mercilessly kick the heads of the elderly carrying flowers to the statues of Lenin.

Most of these uncontrolled beatings ended in death.

People from the East, of Russian origin, were forced to respond. Seeing what was coming, they began to gather around the squares and statues of Lenin to demonstrate their position and organize their self-protection.

The fateful day that changed the lives of thousands of people in many countries arrived. May 2, 2014.

The soccer league, “coincidentally” in the middle of that hotbed, organized a friendly match “for the homeland” between two soccer teams with major fascist supporters. Before the match they all joined in a demonstration for the unity of the Ukrainian homeland.

Near the route of this demonstration, an encampment of anti-Maidan demonstrators of Russian descent was established at the gate of the House of Trade Unions.

In Russia their “holy week” is marked by Soviet history, and from May 1, the Day of the Working Class, to May 9, commemorating the Day of Victory against the Third German Reich, are holidays, and people take advantage of them to visit relatives and go on excursions. So the anti-Maidan camp had only several hundred people, mostly pensioners and youngsters.

At a certain point of the fascist march, they deviated from the route and headed en masse towards the House of Trade Unions. There would be a great deal to say about how it all happened and which agents were involved, but if I go into that now, I’ll never finish.

We all know the result. The people in the camp, seeing that enraged mass of Nazis with Ukrainian flags, were forced to take refuge inside the building.

The Nazis surrounded the building and set it on fire with everyone inside. More than 50 victims, including 16-year-olds, burned to death. There is footage available for anyone to see of a pregnant woman strangled by the Nazis with a telephone wire while the rest of the demonstrators shouted “death to the Russians”.

People who tried to flee the flames and jumped from a third floor onto the street were met with steel bars and beaten to death by the mob of “innocent civilians”.

The real data is that in addition to those 50 people burned, there are another 150 who disappeared without knowledge of where they had ended up.

The infamy would not end there, because the authorities, who were present at that attack without doing anything, even collaborating. The only people they arrested for these events were those who had been attacked. Meanwhile, Ukrainian politicians publicly applauded the events on the Internet. The images of the bodies of the burned comrades are terrible.

Also terrible are the images of many Ukrainian girls and boys in their early twenties, filling the Molotov cocktails with which they would burn their comrades alive. Or the images of the leader of FEMEN in Ukraine celebrating the massacre with the burning building behind her (it is as easy as searching in Google “Femen, Odessa”).

Here, in our country, the same media that are telling you how bad the Russians are and that you should take to the streets to protest against this war today, are the same ones that after those events published the following headlines : “MORE THAN 50 DEAD IN CLASHES WITH THE PRORUSSIAN SEPARATISTS”.

You have to be deeply despicable and criminal to publish that, selling the victims as executioners, nothing new under the sun.

The events that followed this were expected.

Nazis lynching, hanging, burying alive Russian civilians, raping women, crucifying people they would later set on fire. It would be very easy for me to attach the photos of all this, but I do not want to fall into morbidity, and for respect to the friends and companions of the victims, who will have these images engraved in their memory without having them continually before their eyes.

But as I said, those images are public and are available to anyone who bothers to look for them. I don’t expect to change the minds of those who deny this and prefer to swallow the shit that the media shovels into their mouths. They have enough to contend with in their despicable existences.

Before the Ukrainian discourse that called to take Donbass and exterminate that 20% of its population in the east, they were forced to respond to defend their families and their homes.

Referendums were held in which it was decided to become independent from Ukraine and to ask Russia for help. In Crimea, for example, 97% of the population is Russian, and the results of these referendums were predictable. Nobody wants to stay in a country where they want to kill you.

A number of independent People’s Republics of Ukraine are declared.

The Ukrainian army declared war and the Nazi battalions (Azov, Aidar, etc…) began to surround and bombard the most representative pro-Russian cities.

It must be said that all this civil and ethnic war was concealing NATO’s plans to take over a very important enclave in its covert (and not so covert) economic cold war against Russia. They staged a coup d’état, put in place a Western puppet and set up military bases on Russia’s doorstep. For that, a very important strategic piece was the Crimean peninsula with its naval bases and control of the Black Sea.

Russia is not stupid, and immediately supported the Crimean referendum by annexing it.

Neither Kramatorsk nor Kharkov were prepared to withstand the military artillery siege and soon succumbed. The scenes of Nazi violence that would follow in those days were overwhelming.

But Lugansk and Donetsk became strong. The workers, miners, civilians, and also some policemen and soldiers of Russian descent, organized themselves, took barracks and armed themselves by forming popular self-defense militias. They were not willing to let themselves be killed.

The Nazi battalions and the Ukrainian army surrounded them, creating an encirclement that isolated these cities and began to mercilessly bombard the civilian population in violation of all human rights conventions and covenants.

The first thing they did was to bomb the water, electricity and power plants. Leaving the population without water, without electricity, without communications, radio, telephone and television. Then they destroyed the main transportation routes to prevent them from obtaining supplies of food.

Your little No War signs were sleeping peacefully in the dusty closet of your consciences. The international community remained silent.

For months these cities were ravaged in the cruelest way. Thousands of people, old people, children, etc., were dismembered and blown to pieces in a bloody carnage.

Hospitals, schools, kindergartens were not spared from the bombs. The surrounding towns and villages were destroyed. An exodus of hundreds of thousands of people was generated and they were welcomed in Russia to be protected from the bombings.

The sadism of the fascists emulates Franco’s Spain with the bombing of La Desbandá. On the last road that remains untaken from Lugansk and that connects it with Russia, something terrible happened. The Ukrainian army informed the civilians of Donbass that they would stop firing for 24 hours so that all civilians who wanted to flee to Russia could do so immediately.

Caravans of buses began their journey along the road. The Ukrainian army opened fire and massacred the entire convoy, reducing it to rubble of smoldering, smoldering wreckage of twisted iron among charred bodies. The same army that is now being punished by Russia. He who kills with iron, dies with iron.

I have said that the event of May 2 marked many of us forever, and amid tears of rage and desire for justice many people decided to leave everything and offered their own hearts as a shield and their hands as tools to defend the people of Donbass from the fascist butchery. I was one of the people who left everything and took a plane alone, amid tears of fear, to cross thousands of kilometers, break through the siege of the Ukrainian army and plant myself in Lugansk to help a people forgotten by all of you.

What I was able to see there, many people dismiss as Russian propaganda. It would take me a long time and many more counseling sessions to overcome the terrible images and experiences that I had. I had to exert myself with all my strength,  my physical and mental agility, not to die on numerous occasions. All around me, not so fortunate, I could see the mutilated bodies and the scattered viscera of children, old people, innocent men and women. That smell, that blood, those images will never be forgotten in my life.

It has been 8 years during which the Ukrainian army has mercilessly and uninterruptedly massacred the people of Donbass. 8 fucking years during which you all have kept a cruel and complicit silence. From the media, to those of you who are now taking out your offensive little No to War signs.

The “official” civilian victims, which are infinitely shorter than the real ones, recognize 14,000 people killed.

The Nazi battalions in turn, took over entire villages, raped at will all the women and girls, looted the houses, tortured the men and even held orgies in which they raped babies in front of their mothers. You can see for yourselves who the Tornado Battalion really was.

In the time I lived with them I could see how they suffered in 40 degrees heat, without a drop of water, without being able to eat, or wash ourselves, sleeping in corners, basements and even sewers to avoid the continuous pounding of Ukrainian bombs.

President Poroshenko was applauded by all Ukrainians when he said “our children will be able to go to school while the children of Donbass will have to hide in cellars like rats”. All his people applauded him. The same people who granted the portfolio of the Ministry of Defense in wartime to the Nazi leaders of the Pravy Sektor. Being an innocent civilian does not exempt you from giving power to real psychopaths to torture, kill and rape without mercy.

Now, Russia, which has long warned that it would not allow itself to be further besieged and endangered, has decided to act. Evidently, they are doing so to protect their interests and to prevent NATO from continuing to arm and surround them with missiles and troops. I will not be the one to sympathize with Putin or today’s Russia. Far from it. But I refuse to participate in this infamy by putting the focus on Russia. It seems to me to be completely blind. In the first place because the consequences of the geostrategic confrontation of large blocs involve many responsible parties who have been bombing other lands for years and moving their forces to continue extending their domination, and I see it as completely legitimate that other countries that see what is coming to them should also move their forces.

On the other hand, because as I have already said, the war which all of you are suddenly worried about because the news is dictating it, did not start on February 23rd, 2022. This war has been mercilessly murdering an innocent population for 8 years while you stood on the sidelines or looked the other way. Your little “No to war” signs are cruelly too late and in the indirect service of NATOist interests.

They seek to turn you into other manipulated accomplices of the barbarism that our people have been suffering under for 8 interminable years, during which Ukraine ignored all the points of the Minsk agreements.

I would like you to make the effort for a moment to understand the rage and indignation that I feel when I see you all jumping now.

Regardless of Russia’s real intentions, what is certain is that finally, the people of Donbass will stop suffering and living hidden in basements of blood-spattered ruins.

The truth is that this terrorist and murderous Ukrainian army is being demilitarized by destroying its bases, its powder magazines and warehouses of weapons and bombs that they will no longer be able to drop on Donbass.

What is certain is that the battalions of ultra savage neo-Nazis like the Azov battalion will no longer rape and torture because yesterday they died by thousands in their military base in Mariupol. Their Nazi leaders have been eliminated and there is a very long list of war criminals who are being captured and will be tried before the people of Donbass.

The “innocent civilians of Kiev” have been frightened for a day by sirens, hiding in basements, and on subway platforms, and weeping in images relayed to us by all the special envoys in Kiev who have never wanted to set foot in the massacred cities of Donbass. You have all been outraged by this in 24 hours, are the lives of the children of Donbass not worth the same?

Your No to War would be satisfied if Russia withdraws from Ukraine. And you would again keep the little posters obedient to the media, to again keep silent and bury with your own shovels the sons and daughters of Donbass.

The truth is that I despise you.

I would like to accompany you to the orphanages we have visited in Donbass, of children who have been left alone forever in a destroyed land. Those orphanages from which I left crying with rage and sadness when I saw how they were used to throw themselves to the ground in a ball at the order of the teacher to protect themselves from the bombs when they were 5 years old. And how day by day, these children have been decimated.

Don’t expect me to join you now in crying out against war.

War always is and always will be a rich man’s mess that the poor pay for. But this war has destroyed many, many lives that look at you from oblivion while you try to protect their executioners.

I am not saying that all this makes it legitimate for civilians to die in Ukraine. I will not be hypocritical, some will die and it is impossible to avoid it in such a scenario. But the truth is that unlike the Ukrainian army, which systematically slaughters civilians, and even this morning killed two teachers in a school in Gorlovka, the Russian army is trying to inflict casualties only among the military, although on TV they tell you otherwise by using archive images of bombings in Syria or other countries. The propaganda machine is working at full throttle. What I do say is that it is infamous that you would talk about it when there are tens of thousands of dead children, elderly men and women who have received neither your support nor your solidarity.

Do not ask me to feel sorry. I will not be so cynical as to say that I was almost killed. I took all the risk to go there with my heart as a shield to stop the bullets against the people. But in my heart are many people I saw die, many children I saw cry (and die too), many old people who did not deserve to end their lives dismembered or dying of hunger and thirst in their forgotten hideouts. I owe it to them, and I owe it to justice.

NATO, USA and Europe are criminals and murderers. The wars of the powers including Russia should be stopped immediately. The working women and men of the world should be united against their wars, against all their wars, and against the oligarchs on both sides. That would be ideal. Ukrainian and Russian workers expropriating the oligarchs and building an environment of mutual support and solidarity.

But we are light years away from that and what matters to me now, is that the people of Donbass will be able to leave their shelters and play in a park with their children, without fear of blowing themselves up, for the first time in 8 years.

Neither War Between Peoples, Nor Peace Between Classes

Ramiro Gómez is a member of the Brigade Ruben Ruiz Ibarruri- Anti-Fascist Caravan of Banda Bassotti.

Interview with Ramiro Gómez, humanitarian activist in Lugansk. 2014

Spanish volunteers fighting in Lugansk.

Translation by Internationalist 360°

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