We all have blood on our hands as the Ukraine horror show continues

silhouettes of soldiers in front of split Russia-Ukraine flag

The world of capitalism is at fault as we watch the horror unfolding in Europe and to some extent each of us is also to blame.

The banking world should hang its head in shame. Many banks have deliberately and wilfully courted the wealthy of the world and asked no questions as to where their money has come from. Piles of cash from pillaging their own country? No problem. Tax rorts and extortionate behaviours? No problem. State monopolies for gas and oil held in the hands of a few oligarchs? No problem. Looted money from terrorist activities? No problem. Banks will take it, washing the blood away and washing their own hands clean as they echo Pontius Pilate.

Small nation states have much guilt to bear, happily accepting blood money via tax havens that they have created and courted, a line of money flowing in and fees extracted. An easy way to make money under the guise of legality. It is all smoke and mirrors, shell companies piled upon shell companies to hide the true owner of the funds pouring in. Ask no questions and you will be told no lies is their mantra and fallback line, absolving themselves of guilt. And hiring expensive lawyers to continue the farce.

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Capitalism by its nature encourages greed, and corporations around the world have done business with dubious regimes and nation states in the name of making money and keeping their shareholders happy. Not to mention the big bonuses that executives pay themselves. Deal with a despot who poisons his opposition? Or one who orders the killing and dismemberment of his journalist adversary? Well, yes, the business community sees an opportunity and all is forgiven. Why let a few moral scruples get in the way of making money?

All of this behaviour allows the despots and autocrats of the world to flourish and then inflict their insane visions of the world onto innocent people. They claim they love their country and create myths to support behaviours that are a thin guise for megalomania. Restore the motherland to its former glory? Of course. Redraw the national boundaries of a country with the flick of a missile or two and a reign of terror? Easy peasy. Restore an island happily independent to the mainland via a myth of reunification and a wave of hyper-nationalistic propaganda? Say it enough times and it will be believed.

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But why are you and I to blame, I hear you ask, claiming your innocence and high moral ground. Because we fawn over the wealthy – the oligarchs of this world, the men who flaunt or hide their ill-gotten gains. We read countless stories about their parties, we pour over Instagram images of their new designer outfits, their benevolent ownership of soccer clubs, their extravagant spending on yachts and private jets. We swoon, we invite them to the openings of art galleries, we accept their philanthropic donations, we cheer them from the football stands, we live vicariously through them or are happy to have a modicum of attention shown our way as we shake their hand or kiss their cheek.

We all have blood on our hands.

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Written by Dianne Motton

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