What is wrong with these people? What the almighty god is wrong with them?
Are there not enough problems in their own countries to keep them busy, or enough peace and well-being to keep them happy, that they have to go and participate in the cynical and stupid fucking up of another country?
These men can’t even explain why they are fighting in Ukraine. Is it just that the journalists are asking them the wrong questions? I don’t think so – or not entirely, anyway.
How can a Swedish white supremacist possibly justify fighting for white Ukrainians against other white supremacists from Russia? Why would a Soviet Armenian who must remember one separatist conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh be fighting alongside Soviet Russians busy provoking another such conflict with Soviet Ukrainians?
And what about the Chechens fighting here, for god’s sake – don’t they remember what two wars did to Chechnya?
I guess the answer is: they remember all too well. It’s all they remember.
They can’t explain why they are fighting, because no one can explain what this East Ukraine war is actually about. There is no cause worth dying for here. There is the pathetic fantasy of a war-reenactor, the petty ambitions of criminals, the exploited hopes of people who once dreamed of better lives, and the ruined psyches of men who have seen far too many wars and don’t know how to do anything else except fight under orders.
And there is the money, of course. The money.
Hugh MacDiarmid says it much better, in ‘Another Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries’ (1935)
It is a God-damned lie to say that these
Saved, or knew, anything worth any man’s pride.
They were professional murderers and they took
Their blood money and their impious risks and died.
In spite of all their kind some elements of worth
With difficulty persist here and there on earth.
PS ‘News’ of one of more Swedes in the Ukrainian volunteer battalions is not particularly new. And I realise I am critical of the BBC article because it is telling me something I don’t particularly want to hear. But “speaking in a telephone conversation from an unknown location” – Really? So it could actually be… Sweden, right? Or Russia, or …? You’ve never actually seen this person? I call that shoddy journalism.