My father was six years old at the end of WWII. This is how he remembers the moment when he thought he would die: he is watching my grandfather amputate the leg of a twelve year old boy when Moroccan soldiers fighting for France enter the house.
The doctor in the neighbouring village had already shot his wife, children and then himself. My grandfather is prepared to do the same. He reaches for his side arm as the soldiers roamed through the building. He knows that armed civilians are shot on the spot.
But then my grandfather changes his mind and hides the pistol under the boys body who does not survive the operation. My grandfather does not shoot himself, his wife or my dad. And the Moroccan soldiers never find the pistol hidden under the corpse.
These memories are now coming back to haunt my dad because of the war in the Ukraine. He remembers the terror, the smell and pain of war. Today my dad and talked about this, and we also discussed whats different. Before WWII people did not demonstrate around the globe against the war in the way this happens today.
Even though enemy broadcasts have been banned we can still find out on the internet and via social media what the other side is thinking. People in Russia can discover that like them we do not want war. Like them we want peace. Like them many of us are demonstrating against war and against Putin. The Guardian has a great article about this here.
I don’t know if that will be enough to end this war. But it gives me and my dad hope.