The Malta Independent 15 July 2024, Monday
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TMID Editorial: Remembering D-Day

Saturday, 8 June 2024, 11:23 Last update: about 2 months ago

This week was the 80th anniversary since the day that thousands of young soldiers took part in what was the biggest amphibious landing event in history. 

D-Day, when allied forces stormed five beaches in Normandy in France, is the day that the tide of the Second World War started turning.  It is the day that the war against tyranny and fascism took a turn in favour of democracy.

Had it not been for the brave men who stepped out of the landing crafts onto the beaches into a hail of chaos and lead bullets, and the brave men who parachuted behind enemy lines the night prior, then today’s world could – and probably would – be altogether different.

The scenes in Normandy today as the landings were commemorated remind us of the cost of freedom: the thousands whose lives were cut short as they fought for a better future for not just themselves, but for the world.

It also reminds us that the veterans from this conflict are getting less and less as more time passes.  Their stories and their struggles are dying with them, and so is our collective memory of the war they fought and the price they paid.

The commemorations come at a time when war has returned to Europe and the Middle East.

In Europe, the war prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine persists, with no end in sight.  As time has passed, the appetite to support Ukraine against Russian tyranny has waned. Some feel like Ukraine should compromise in order to reach peace: give some territory to Russia so that the war may end.

Those people would do well to look back at World War Two and see how British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had proclaimed “I believe it is peace for our time” in September 1938 as he waved the Munich Agreement upon touching down in the UK.

That agreement allowed the German’s to annex part of Czechoslovakia – the Sudetenland – in exchange for peace.  Within less than 12 months, Hitler had spread his tentacles to the rest of Czechoslovakia and Poland, and Europe had no choice but to go to war.

One can never appease a rabid dictator, and that principle spreads to Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Give an inch, take a mile.  After Ukraine, maybe it will be Moldova next.  Or Poland. Or elsewhere.  Ukraine must continue to resist and Europe and the greater world must be there to support it.

Meanwhile the world sits and watches as war crimes are committed in the Middle East.  Hamas’ terrorist invasion of Israel on October 7 started the latest iteration of the bloody conflicts between Israel and Palestine, and Israel have persisted in their invasions since.

Now, they bomb Rafah incessantly, killing hundreds upon hundreds of civilians who have nowhere to go. The international community – or at least the bulk of it – meanwhile watches on, lost in buzzwords and in the meanderings of the diplomatic world.

The West seems to care more about its own appearance in this conflict rather than actually stopping it and stopping civilians from being indiscriminately killed. 

Meanwhile, both Israel and Hamas seem to have no appetite for peace, and with no appetite for peace then the conflict cannot come to an end.

So we must learn from history, or else we will be doomed to repeat it.

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