That was the first thing that came to mind immediately after waking up this morning!
I did not, right away, understand why – but, I soon realized the unmistaken striking similarities between the name Vlad, and the Russian president Vladimir Putin – whom, just before retiring to bed, I had been shocked to learn had instructed his country to be on high nuclear alert.
I found myself commenting, “this Putin guy has clearly become unhinged, and has decided to place the entire world under hostage, as he seeks to threaten us all with nuclear annihilation, if his conditions are not met”.
I have always tried to be a very open-minded person in how I perceive issues – even, understanding the greater context of Putin’s apprehension at continued NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) eastward expansion, despite a vow not to do so, supposedly made after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the Soviet Union some 30 years ago.
I honestly made an effort in empathizing with the Russian leadership over how they felt when an avowed enemy, NATO, kept creeping closer to their borders – as former Warsaw Pact member countries (Soviet satellite states) joined the military alliance, with Ukraine (which shares a 2,000 kilometer border) having made similar overtures.
The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1960 easily came to mind – whereby, the US was angered over the deployment of Soviet medium and intermediate range ballistic missiles in fellow Communist Cuba, a mere 103 miles away, in retaliation for its own stationing of nuclear missiles in Italy and Turkey – leading to a tense environment, that threatened a possible war, or even nuclear holocaust.
Nonetheless, the US never made the foolish and catastrophic decision to invade Cuba (although, they “quarantined” the island by a naval blockade), nor did the Soviets attack – but, was resolved after intense, and most times, rocky talks been John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and Nikita Khrushchev – leading to Soviet missiles being moved out of Cuba, and US nuclear missiles out of Italy and Turkey.
Yet, today, Putin has proven not to be Khrushchev (who exhibited commendable and highly impressive diplomatic skills), but has arrogantly decided that the easiest way to address his NATO expansionist fears was by invading a neighboring sovereign and independent nation (wantonly violating its territorial integrity, brutally destroying its infrastructure and people), as well as holding the whole world at ransom through the raising of Russian’s nuclear alert levels.
Let us never be fooled – should nuclear weapons be deployed, Ukraine would definitely not be the only country affected, but the entirety of the globe… including, those blindly supporting this man (Putin), who has indisputably become unhinged.
Even his recent rantings and ramblings sounded eerily disturbing.
Surely, what manner of a human being is prepared to murder innocent civilians, in order to make a point – no matter how justified the grievance may be?
Which is why the name Vlad the Impaler came to mind as I woke up this morning.
This was not simply on account of the glaring likeness of the names Vlad and Vladimir – but, the much deeper darkness and wickedness between the two.
Vlad Tepes (Vlad III) was the real life dracula – since he was also known as Vlad Dracula (meaning “Son of the Dragon”), whose unimaginable cruelty inspired later fairy tales – who was three-times Voivode of Wallachia, in Romania, between 1448, and his death in 1476/77.
His kingdom had been surrounded by his enemies – the Hungarians, Ottomans, his younger brother, and Wallachian nobility – leading him to employ extremely vile measures to inspire fear in those who opposed him, such as impaling his enemies to their gruesome deaths on stakes, resulting in over 80,000 facing this cruel end.
He would display the bodies of his victims, still impaled on tall stakes, around his castle – which could be easily seen from miles away.
How is this any different from the reign of terror and destruction Vlad the Russian is not only already unleashing on Ukraine, but also threatening upon the rest of the globe?
This can never be allowed to continue – and, the international community needs to speak loudly, with one voice, against this madness and evil, at the scheduled UN General Assembly meeting today (February 28, 2022).
The world has to reject Russia’s intimidatory tactics, by showing that we are not afraid of those who want to use savagery, fear and destruction as negotiation chips.
We have already witnessed the traumatic devastating effects of such brazen thuggery – through US-NATO invasions of countries as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.
We need to send an unambiguous message to Putin that, in today’s world, sober-heads, negotiation and talking are the language of normal Homo Sapiens – and not ruthless aggression.
It does not matter whether these issues between NATO and Russia have been ongoing for years – however, confrontation has never resolved any problems.
In spite of endless wars the world has witnessed over the course of history, what have they truly achieved – except causing the needless deaths of countless innocent civilians?
The days of Vlad the Impaler are long gone – and, should be confined to where they presently are…in Count Dracula and vampire fairy tales and movies.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: [email protected]Post published in: Featured