When War Happens To White People

White people say Ukraine is the worst war since WWII when it’s not even the worst war today. It’s not even the worst war in Europe. It’s definitely not the worst war in recent history.

We are surrounded by war, but it’s somehow only an atrocity when it happens to white people. The constant killing of colored people is just furniture. It’s like factory farming or environment destruction. Our blood, bones, and planet are just the background for imperial vanity. Our dehumanization is so complete that colored people don’t even register as human beings.

And yet we are. In solidarity with the people of Ukraine, I reject this rank hypocrisy. It is this very dehumanization that makes war such an atrocity.

The White Empire that holds Ukraine up as some great example is getting them killed as much as they regularly kill colored people like me. We all get stuck between this murderous empire and the villain of the week. We’re all victims of the same hypocrisy.

Worst War?

I’m not just burning a straw man on your lawn. Mitt Romney came and burnt this odious tweet on everybody. He said “Putin’s Ukraine invasion is the first time in 80 years that a great power has moved to conquer a sovereign nation.”

What the fuck is he talking about? Were Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan not sovereign nations, conquered and occupied? How many places has White Empire tried to topple, or left to rot under siege?

The ongoing wars on Syria, Yemen and sieges of Afghanistan are killing people every day. The war dividing Korea never ended. The punishment of Iran never stopped. The Israeli occupation of Palestine is killing people every day. Because this happens to people of color, however, white people can’t see it. It just blends into the background.

To Mitt Romney, colored nations have no sovereignty at all. We don’t even exist. This is the ultimate dehumanization, this is what keeps us under forever war. To the settler-colony of America, we’re still just an endless frontier of savages. Beasts of no nation. We don’t even register as things to conquer, as lives to take. War can only happen to white people, not animals.

In truth, what happened to Ukraine is not even the worst war going on right now, if you can admit colored people their humanity. On the same day the Ukraine was attacked, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen were also bombed, the latter 37 times. On the same day, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, Cuban, and North Korea remained under siege. It has been another day of constant war, but it’s like those people don’t even exist. White people really don’t see color.

It’s not just Romney, ostensibly in opposition. Here’s what an unnamed defense official told CNN:

The world has not seen a “move like this, nation state-to-nation state, since World War II,” a senior US defense official told reporters Thursday about Russia’s attack on Ukraine — “certainly nothing on this size and scope and scale.”

But we have seen this! I have personally seen the nation states of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya toppled and Syria and Yemen reduced to rubble. Those were nations! Those are people! In terms of size, scope, and scale, just fucking look:

The Costs Of War Project, because nobody else is even counting

Here’s your comparison to World War II. At least 38 million people have been displaced in White Empire’s Terror Wars, the worst human catastrophe since World War II. And it’s ongoing. That’s real. Those are real people, and under the ground are millions dead. This is war. This is real war. It is endless because these human beings remain so thoroughly dehumanized.

Hence you can get President Joe Biden saying, without any sense of irony,

“Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries on territory that belonged to his neighbors? This is a flagrant violation of international law and demands a firm response from the international community,” Biden said.

What is he talking about? How is this even coherent unless colored nations do no exist? Biden supported destroying Afghanistan, Iraq, and whoever else came up, countries which aren’t even America’s neighbors. America’s backyard is everywhere, and it’s full of bodies. America’s idea of a ‘rules-based order’ is attacking other countries all the time.

As the better President Jimmy Carter said,

President Jimmy Carter recently noted that in its 242-year history, America has enjoyed only 16 years of peace, making it, as he wrote, “the most warlike nation in the history of the world.” (Rolling Stone)

The dehumanization is so complete that it’s fucking invisible. That’s how not human colored people are. Hence the western(ized) journalist (?) Julia Ioffe can say that America is somehow allergic to war. She said:

Julia Ioffe

What does this mean? How is this tweet still up? This isn’t some isolated idiocy, this is reality. This is how white people really see.

They think that because drones aren’t human, the people they kill are somehow not human either.

Out of sight, out of your fucking mind. They somehow think that decades long invasions and occupations are not occupations because they’re well-meaning. They’re doing us a favor, really. The white man’s burden, so please don’t burden us with even counting your dead.

White people really can’t see themselves as the monsters they are, and they certainly can’t see us as human beings. We are beneath even war. War is not even declared on us. War is for human beings, and we’re so throughly dehumanized that we’re like cattle, or plants. Israel even describes its regular murder of Palestinians as ‘mowing the grass’.

In order to kill people you have to dehumanize them first, and we in the global majority have been so thoroughly dehumanized that we don’t even register as victims of war. White people only perk up when it happens to white people. That’s when it’s an atrocity.

Worst In Europe?

The New York Times, reducing humanity to European states (via)

The qualification to the Ukraine outrage is that this is somehow the worst war ‘in Europe’ but what does that mean? Yugoslavia is in Europe and they got was pretty wrecked in the 90s. That was NATO’s first real taste of blood.

What ‘in Europe’ really means is ‘for white people’. That’s really what ‘Europe’ means as well.

Europe is not a real continent, as Hitler’s tanks could tell you. It’s just a white supremacist line drawn randomly across Asia. Hitler was completely flummoxed by bodies of water but he rampaged across Eurasia just fine.

Most WWII casualties were actually in Asia, not ‘Europe’ at all. By a long shot. By the tens of millions.

There is no point in reducing a literal World War to just the European theatre, unless you’re being racist, which people are. ‘Worst in Europe’ is just a shorthand for ‘worst for white people’. It’s just the worst war within the confines of white supremacy. This is an act of warlike dehumanization in itself.

This is not for the Ukranian peoples benefit. Just ask the citizens of the former Yugoslavia, who have now been completely disappeared and forgot.

Whitewashing War

The message we in the global majority get loud and clear from your hand wringing is that war is only war when it happens to white people. As Emran Feroz said, “Most Ukraine coverage is dominated by a lot of Eurocentrism. Go and talk about a “new era”, “new timeline” etc. with Afghans, Chechens, Syrians or Iraqis.”

Plenty of colored blood was spilled during World War II, plenty continued to be spilled after, and your ‘Cold’ War was pretty hot for everybody else. But that’s somehow not history. You’ve whitewashed history, and today we can see you whitewashing reality. But this time it won’t wash.

As Shailja Patel said:

Solidarity with the people of Ukraine against Russia’s bombs. Rejection of the agendas and messaging of the countries currently bombing Yemen, Syria, Gaza and Somalia, and starving Cuba, Iran, Venezuela and Afghanistan. Both are possible at the same time.

As Alan MacLeod said:

The outrage you’re feeling now is the outrage you should feel when the United States bombs or occupies a country, which is every day.

As Jeff Sharlet said:

We can simultaneously recognize the horror of Putin’s invasion and recall the terrible wars in Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo. This isn’t the “first war in Europe since WW II.” Nor is it (yet) the worst war in recent decades; US invasion of Iraq far worse; 2nd Congo War worse still.

This stuff is all basic geography, history and reality, but white supremacy warps peoples minds so much that they can’t see. They can’t see colored dead, they can’t see colored occupation, they can’t see the endless state of war that has continued since World War II.

In truth, WWII never ended, it just became World War Too. The world remained at war, white people just stopped giving a fuck and called it ‘cold’. But hey, guess what. We all bleed the same warm blood. We all prefer to keep it inside our bodies.

Hence this is in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, they’re not somehow alone in being victims of war. War is the very act of dehumanization, and this is what we must resist, whether it happens in Ukraine or Yemen, crossing the Mediterranean or the river Dnieper, wherever the crushing of human life and very existence may be.

We have to realize, war isn’t something that just happens to white people. War happens to people. In solidarity with the people of Ukraine and the people in pain everywhere, we have got to recognize our shared humanity.