Opinion – Two Cents About War

Midgard (1983), by Anselm Kiefer

Written & edited by Bruno Passos

The first step in understanding a conflict is accepting that the answer will always be more complex than we would like. Yes, it would be great if we just read the news to know the name of the current villain and which group we should hate, but the world (thankfully) doesn’t fit on the lunchtime news. A war never takes place suddenly, its gestation is slow, made up of decades of local conflicts and a lot of negligence on the part of those not affected.
Today we hear a lot more about the war in Ukraine than we do about the war in Yemen, Somalia, Syria, why?
The news will always be where the money and cultural identification are. This means that our perception of the importance of a historical fact will always pass through the Aesthetics of the facts, that is, through understanding through the senses (to the detriment of mere understanding through logic).

“Okay, so what?”

Hence, knowing this perception, it is possible to stop just “reacting” to the world and start “acting” in the world. The difference is that in the first case we are always a step behind, poorly articulated, subject to manipulation and the heat of the moment, while in the second case we live in the present and therefore we are active agents of the transformations of the future.

“How to do this in practice?”

Get out of your bubble more often, seek to meet different groups than you are used to, listen to music from cultures you don’t know, watch films from other countries, read authors from the continent you have less contact with. In short, challenge the algorithm of the internet, of the newspaper, of society.

“Okay, if I do this, will the War in Ukraine end?”

Unfortunately no, as we have seen here, this will be a late action for this war, although reacting is important and necessary, this is always less efficient than prevention, however, when we acquire this new, more active conduct we will get to know new cultures (and those who know, has empathy), encourage tourism (and those who visit understand why we preserve it) and be more aware of our impact on the world, in this way the chances of not neglecting conflicts when they are still embryonic will be much greater.

I’m sorry I didn’t give you a magic solution or some good catchphrase to anchor yourself, the truth is that changing the world takes a lot of work and I hope we are together and aware to do that.

I hope that world leaders do more than flash blue/yellow lights on their monuments in the public square, do more than “help” the attacked nations by stuffing them with weapons. Do more than just write disapproval letters. I hope they have sobriety, intelligence, and compassion.

2 thoughts on “Opinion – Two Cents About War

  1. I absolutely loved reading this, Bruno. Thank you for this perspective and truth. I feel as though you took the words from my mind and beautifully articulated them here in this article. I am encouraged and inspired to immerse myself in other cultures, in their music, books, food, art, etc. To learn, expand and grow. To build onto my compassion for others. Thank you, thank you.


  2. Love this reflection, Bruno. If we don’t see others as human, their culture as valuable, their sufferings as valid, it is indeed very hard to “care”.

    Getting outside of our little bubble is the first step to compassion. And I appreciated the last paragraph, which contains sobriety but also hope. Thank you for your two cents.


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