This was a particularly difficult piece for me to write.
I knew I wanted to write a story related to Russia's invasion of Ukraine for this month's Uxbridge Writers' Circle Word Challenge. But the words I had to use made it, well, a challenge! And, to be honest, it was hard for me to hold my emotions in check.
I wish I could do what Donald is doing (see my story below) but to help the Ukrainians in a way that I can, I've made a donation to the Canadian Red Cross through https://www.canadahelps.org . The Canadian Government is matching donations.
Meanwhile, all I can do is dream and scheme about how I'd stop the war and give Ukraine back to its people, if I could.
I hope you like the story. Please let me know by leaving a comment below.
Here's the story: 'Why?':
It’s hard for Donald to swallow. He almost chokes, but recovers with the help of a couple of sips of brandy. He doesn’t drink, but the war in Ukraine has opened wounds and dug up memories he’d relegated to the dark depths of his mind, as well as heightened his anxiety about his granddaughter.
He doesn’t want to hear the news of the tanks rolling in and buildings being blasted, and he doesn’t want to see the grey faces of fleeing women and children, and the bloody faces of fighting men. But he can’t permit himself not to watch or listen, to turn his back on this stupid war.
Well, it is stupid, isn’t it? What’s the purpose of this war waged on a peaceful, beautiful nation? Why attack innocent people and destroy their lives? What’s the point of it all?
Donald never met his father. He was a navigator on one of the bombers that flew over Germany in World War II. One night, after a daring raid, flying low, they were hit by anti-aircraft fire. Their plane plummeted to the ground and blew up. It happened so fast. No-one had a chance to escape. One of the other pilots witnessed the loss. At least Donald knew what happened. But, as a child, being raised without a father, he often asked the question ‘why?’. Why did Daddy have to die? Why couldn’t he have stayed home in England? Why did Hitler hate so many and kill even more? Why?
The current rhetoric is full of lies and hatred, just as it was in World War II. He hangs his head.
His mother taught him you get more in life with honey than with vinegar. Well, on the surface, it looks every bit as if most of the men who rise to the top, the ones with all the power and money, are the ones who lie and use violence, oppression, coercion, and fear.
He gazes at the television as a long line of displaced persons, who don’t want to leave their homes, their loved ones, their animals, trudge miles to the border. It’s as if Donald is in some sort of trance, as if he’s hypnotised by the images of these people. It can’t be happening. How is the world letting this happen? Why do we allow this to happen? One man changing the world, threatening the world.
It’s time to turn his attention away from the stories of doom and get ready for his meeting. It’s his only chance to make a difference, and he hopes he’s not too late to stop this madness. He had dithered because he couldn’t believe the war would happen. He thought it was all bluff.
He gets a bit forgetful these days, so he double-checks his calendar. Yes, it’s set up for two o’clock this afternoon. He insisted on an in-person meeting. He believes he can be more effective, and he wants to meet face-to-face with the men he’s put in charge. He’s only read an excerpt of each of their credentials, and he’s not involved in the day-to-day operations, but he knows the organization like the back of his own, blue-veined hand.
Because he wants to stress the importance of what he has to say, he’s carefully selected what he’ll wear. He could don any old thing, he knows that, but he demands respect. This has become even more important to him as he ages. Dignity and respect are easy to lose with advancing years. He holds onto both with all he’s got. He must impress upon these men how important this mission is.
With every minute it takes to get ready, he thinks of the losses each Ukrainian is suffering.
He selects his most elegant cane, puts on his hat, picks up his gloves and gets into the waiting car.
His boardroom is on the fifty-fourth floor and overlooks the River Thames. He arrives at the precise time of the meeting, and the four men he’s carefully selected are already there. They stand up simultaneously.
He impresses upon the men how urgent the mission is and how critical it is to get it right. They agree on strategic targets his company will attack. They agree on the deployment of drones, robots, and missiles, as well as the procurement and distribution of equipment, including anti-tank weapons. They will equip and train Ukrainians whenever they get the chance. And they will launch cyber attacks on anything Russian.
Donald has put his own resources on the line. He doesn’t have a client to foot the bills for this engagement of his private military company. His organization is usually deployed in peace-keeping missions, but sometimes offensive tactics are needed in order to restore peace and freedom. He believes that Ukraine needs fighters on its side. Nevertheless, Donald emphasises that loss of life must be kept to a minimum. He doesn’t want any more men leaving sons without their fathers. It shouldn’t happen.
And perhaps even more important, they are to make sure his granddaughter gets out of Ukraine alive and well. She’s a war reporter and she wouldn’t leave Kyiv when she could have. Her last tweet was from a bunker six hours ago. Will his army be too late to save her?