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Posted: February 27, 2022

It’s time the world got rid of Putin

“Perceptions,” by Gerry Warner

Op-Ed Commentary

My first concept of war came through my grandfather.

Grandpa Warner was a stern veteran of the First World War, a wonderful family man and a Victorian imperialist to the core, who was kind enough to leave me a memento of his war time adventures, a gold railroad watch which still runs perfectly and I treasure to this day.

The face of the watch tells the time in bold, black numerals and there’s also a smaller clock on the crystal face with a second hand that races around the face, doing a complete revolution every minute. But that isn’t the neatest feature of this wonderful Victorian relic.

I was about 10 years old when Grandpa showed me how the railway conductors of the past changed the time on the watch to keep pace with the oft-changing schedules of the old railway era.

It was simple really. Mind you, at first glance, you wouldn’t even see it. What Grandpa showed me, was to rotate the crystal over the face until it came off.  Then, if you looked hard, you could see a tiny, metal lever tucked into the face and if you gave it a firm pull it would come out and leave the clock hands free to be manipulated backwards or forwards to a new setting so that the trains could roll safely down the tracks.

Neat eh! Low tech, but very reliable and you didn’t need to call tech support to figure out how to do it. Grandpa also explained to me that the reason the railway watches were built that way was that once you made the time change and rotated the crystal back on the watch face the hands couldn’t be moved again by accident or by force. That way the time was always correct, ensuring no disastrous train collisions because a conductor’s watch gave the wrong time.

I don’t know why I’m telling you this except to say I guess this is my way of coping with the news that Europe is at war again thanks to a demented madman.

That madman, of course, is Vladimir Putin, who is so deluded he thinks he can roll back the hands of time to Hitler’s era when fascist dictators could ignore borders and invade other countries just because they could.

In my naivete, I thought we’d  got away from that authoritarian era but obviously I was wrong. Evil still dwells in the hearts of some men, and when one of those men holds the obscene power that Putin does, many cruel disasters can shatter the relative tranquility of the modern world.

How is this going to end? I have no idea other than to say it will likely end in tragedy. I’m of Ukrainian heritage myself and this hurts deeply knowing something of the tragic history of this sorely tried country that has experienced war, famine and genocide over the years. Man’s inhumanity to man. Such a cliché, yet so true.

I may be totally wrong on this, but I can’t help but think that if NATO, with all the power it holds from its European and North American members, was to temporarily revoke its charter and march into the Ukraine with a show of force it would put the bully Putin on the run like a scared bunny.

Yes, there would be lives lost that way too. But fewer than the losses the Russian military has already inflicted on Ukraine in what’s looking to be a long, drawn-out campaign followed by an even longer insurrection thanks to the bravery and tenacity of the Ukrainian people.

Sometimes you have to break the rules for the greater good. I think the tragedy now unfolding in the Ukraine is such a situation. And I even think my imperialist

Grandfather would approve.

– Gerry Warner is a retired journalist, who believes many Russian people don’t support Putin’s cruel campaign.

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