Dave Richards' Weekly Column in The Woonsocket Call

Dave Richards for July 22nd……

--Starting off on a happy note this week, Up With People, the worldwide ambassadors of music and good will are returning to northern Rhode Island for the first time in seven years. The show is August 29th in the Wellness Center of Cumberland High School and the proceeds will go to the Cumberland P.T.O.s. We’ll need host families and a bit more sponsor participation, though the list of commercial supporters is as long as I have ever seen it. More information is available on our website or at www.upwithpeople.org/NorthernRI. Stay tuned for further details on this great and uplifting event.

--Now to the unpleasant matters. Israel has sent ground troops into Gaza. While it is an awful thing, there is not much truly new about this, as it is more of the Arab and Israeli fighting that’s been going on for centuries. Largely, they keep it to themselves and whichever of their friends as will get involved. We know both sides are wrong, and they take turns playing the part of the victim and the aggressor, but our country has supported Israel since its inception after World War Two. This moderates the U.S. point of view somewhat. There is fighting going in amongst the people of Eastern Europe to one degree or another. And, while those conflicts may not have been going on as many years as the Arabs and the Jews, they are nonetheless just as chronic. But now, war has just taken a horrible new direction.

Russia is not happy with its role of ‘just another country in the world’ in this post-Soviet age. Despite their denials to the contrary, they show every sign of wanting to be the ‘big dog on the porch’ again and they seem to have begun their expansion plans by inciting troubles within the boundaries of their neighbors. This has been going on for some time.

When countries war with each other, there are those other countries which will want to either stay out of the fight, pick a side and fight alongside their friends, or be sneaky and support a side with resources without actually getting themselves into the shooting part of the war. There is a group of people within The Ukraine who would like to see things their way in that country and are willing to fight to take the country over and put themselves in charge. Russia thought this would be a swell idea, since they didn’t much like the folks running The Ukraine at present anyway and so Russia sent the rebels some weapons to seal the friendship between them. I just don’t know what they were thinking when they sent them a ground-to-air missile launcher and missiles. I might have sent them some riffles or mortars. Maybe they sent those, too.

The United States of America already has had angry diplomatic words with Russia recently on other subjects, like the annexing of Crimea. I just don’t think there are any stronger diplomatic angry words to cover the apparent liability of the shooting down of nearly 300 innocent men, women, and babies from countries which have nothing to do with your conflict, killing all aboard. This is an unprecedented act which has, days afterward, stunned the world’s nations into a shock, as they all struggle to deal with the new reality that there is a group which wants to take over their country which have shown themselves to be so utterly unworthy to run a country and stand among the peaceful nations of the earth as to defy any explanation.

This group of rebels, ‘separatists', they call them, have further proven their unworthiness by erasing all doubt that this act may have been a dreadful mistake. There are reports of looting of the valuables from bodies and the crash scene and removing evidence, including some human bodies, from the scene. Whether true or not, the rebels have failed to show the decency of securing the crash scene so representatives of the international community can safely arrive to do their sad duty. Only after they have scavenged everything they can are they now offering to allow teams on the site without threats.

As much as we may wish for it, there is little civility in war. Atrocities are recorded by history on all sides of every conflict, it seems. However, every now and again there is the one incident which goes ‘beyond the pale’. This terrible, criminal, and careless act should show the world what kind of people Russia is supporting. Further, Russia’s cool response to their role in all this should show what kind of people are leading that country, too. It is now up to the nations of the world to ‘police their own’ and make sure there are consequences for this act. To shoot down a passenger jetliner filled with people who have no part in your conflict must have negative consequences or it will happen again and again. And if you don’t think that could lead us to another, larger war, think again my friend.

--That’s what I think. What do you think? Comments to dave@onworldwide.com or mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. Thanks for reading.


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