GONZALO Lira is alive and well. If you don’t know who he is or why this is good news I’ll explain in a moment.
But first, let me ask a quick question: does it matter whether or not we get to the bottom of what’s really happening in Ukraine?
I hope you’ll agree with me that it does very much. And the same goes for all the other wars that have cost us blood and/or treasure over the last few decades from Afghanistan and Iraq to Libya and Syria.
What if we were dragged into them on a false prospectus? What if our servicemen and servicewomen lost lives, limbs and mental health there for no obvious reason? What if the people we were told were goodies were in fact the baddies – or vice versa? What if our involvement ended up doing far more harm than good?
These, surely, are the kind of basic questions we ought to be asking about any war in which we get involved, whether directly – as in the two Gulf Wars – or (so far at least) indirectly, as in Ukraine.
But you’d be amazed by how many sovereign citizens do not think that it is their job. I notice this from the preponderance of people on social media with Ukraine symbols in their profiles; from the blue and yellow flags fluttering outside houses; from conversations like the one I had at a party the other day when two guests – one an ex-Army officer and senior county bigwig, the other a hereditary peer – actually laughed in my face when I suggested that Putin might have a reasonable casus belli.
What soon became clear was that neither of my scorners was informed by any special insight. They had simply taken on trust everything they had read and heard in the mainstream media. It had never occurred to them that there might be an alternative to the relentlessly-promoted official narrative that Putin is an insane, empire-building warmonger who has violated sovereign territory; that Zelensky is the greatest leader since Winston Churchill; that the evil Russians are behind all those terrible war crimes which should see Putin prosecuted at The Hague; that the Russian battle plan has failed dismally thanks to unexpectedly stiff resistance from the plucky Ukrainians; that with just a few more shipments of money and materiel, Zelensky’s heroic freedom fighters will prevail . . .
While I don’t pretend to be the world’s greatest expert on Russia and Ukraine (though I have visited both, and once ate Chicken Kiev in Kiev, or Kyiv as now everyone is insisting on calling it), I do rather suspect there’s more to this war than we’re being told in our mainstream media. Which is why I go to alternative sources like Gonzalo Lira.
Lira, whom I only discovered a couple of weeks ago, is a Chilean journalist currently trapped in Kharkov, in northeast Ukraine. I know very little about his background but his reporting has struck me as honest, considered, authentic and – insofar as it’s possible to judge in this hall of mirrors where everyone has an agenda – unbiased.