Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Thursday has made headlines across the world, with Western powers and some African countries criticising Russia’s “aggression” and demanding that the Kremlin withdraw its troops from its neighbour.
Some countries, notably China, have refused to condemn Russia, describing the crisis caused by Russian president Vladimir Putin as “complex”.
UK-based Zimbabwean law expert, Alex Magaisa, has attempted to explain, in simple terms, the crisis. Pindula News publishes Magaisa’s Twitter thread in full below:
1. Some say what about a piece on the war in Ukraine? I’m not sufficiently equipped in that area. But like everyone else who cares about humankind and the world I’m following events with keen interest. I have sketched out a very simplified take on events.
2. Once upon a time there were two rival gangs one led by Blue and another by Red. They threatened each other for decades but never had a direct fight. Each had a weapon that could destroy not only the other but themselves as well. So it was a cold war.
3. Later, however, Red’s empire collapsed spectacularly. He wasn’t managing his affairs well. As a result, he lost many of his friends who were quite delighted to have independence after decades of tight control. Blue felt triumphant and some even said it was the end of history.
4. Without any serious rival, Blue began to spread his way of life around the community. Free from control, some of Red’s former friends began to join Blue’s circle of mates. Red wasn’t amused by this turn of events but he was too weak to do anything about it & he bided his time.
5. As Blue made more friends close to Red’s residence, Red grew more uncomfortable. He thought his old friends were getting too big for their boots. As far as he was concerned they enjoyed their freedom at his pleasure and he could take it back if he wanted to & because he could.
6. Red’s old mates thought Blue and mates would help if Red threatened them. One of these chaps is Orange who wants to join Blue’s circle. Red is furious and has gone after Orange. The problem for Orange is Blue and his mates are not prepared to sacrifice themselves to defend him.
7. Blue and his mates don’t want a big war. They suspect that Red is unhinged & this is a risk since he has weapons that could destroy everyone. Red knows their fear and is using it to do as he pleases. His attitude is “Vangandidii? Hapana zvavanondiita!”
8. Blue and his mates take measures to exclude Red and hope that this will force him to relent. Red doesn’t seem to be bothered. Some of Blue’s friends are reluctant to take tougher measures because they are highly dependent on Red for some critical supplies in their homes.
9. Red knows their dilemma and vulnerabilities. He thinks he has them exactly where he wants them to be. Some of Blue’s friends host Red’s rich mates who have brought lots of their money to their homes. They are reluctant to take tough measures lest this affects them.
10. There’s another chap who’s quietly watching all this. For years, Purple has had an eye on an old neighbour, Green whom he claims to be an estranged member of his family. He wants to take him back, by force if necessary, because Green doesn’t really want to join Purple.
11. Red believes because of shared interests, Purple, who has become very powerful and wealthy in recent decades, is in his corner. Purple also has a tense relationship with Blue. So he’s watching events with great interest.
12. Meanwhile, the rest of the chaps are busy doing their calculations. They have opinions but not much else as they suspect they will be ignored. Those in the grey zone for example know they are small & are uncomfortable with the idea of the big boys having their way.
13. But some of them have old friendships with Red and Purple while they have a difficult relationship with Blue and his mates. So do they sit back and watch big Red suffocate Orange just because he is small or do they challenge Red and risk upsetting him and possibly Purple?
14. Some in the grey zone have stood up for Orange as a matter of principle but others remain silent, unsure how to handle their dilemma. The other problem is that they rarely stand up against bullies in their neighbourhood so they are also facing criticism.