SENSELESS STRIKE This aerial photo shows firefighters working to remove debris from a devastated shopping mall following a Russian missile attack in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. AP PHOTO
SENSELESS STRIKE This aerial photo shows firefighters working to remove debris from a devastated shopping mall following a Russian missile attack in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. AP PHOTO

IT is the tourist season everywhere. In Europe, it officially started on June 24 in Barcelona. Thousands if not millions of tourists have descended on the city. They are so numerous they clog sidewalks, their huge buses filling parking areas. Bars and restaurants with crowds of tourists put the staff (already less than more) into overdrive. Locals are sometimes, or more often than not, irritated, unless they have a business that relies on tourists. Some call the police to disperse tourists from obstructing their comings and goings.

But all in all, travel for both tourists and locals is about new experiences, accepting differences, tolerating discomfort for the expansion of the mind, the ability to reflect and some wisdom.

But the war in Ukraine overhangs this summer in Europe. Its brutality is on daily media — senseless, destruction, injury, death. As war does, the best and the worst in people rampage in images that bring forth emotions, good and bad, causing a terrible unease.

The consequences are already obvious. Millions of displaced persons to be given refuge, to restart broken lives, or to have irreversible tragic endings. Neighboring countries bearing the brunt of displaced persons and the fear of war's proximity.

Get the latest news
delivered to your inbox
Sign up for The Manila Times’ daily newsletters
By signing up with an email address, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

From the distance of other countries and places farther out, there too are consequences of what is going on in Ukraine. High fuel prices because of the disruption of oil supplies and hunger from the inability to move regular food chains to their terminal points. African countries are the most affected. Already in the throes of famine because of climate change droughts and their own local conflicts, they suffer from food scarcity. The wheat that they need to make up for shortages is locked up in Ukraine, or being taken somewhere else.

The United Nations, the G7 nations and NATO ( North Atlantic Treaty Organization) have to address what is going on worldwide while each individual government has to make its own decisions, including our own.

From initial moves, the governments that comprise the G7 and NATO are reinforcing their unity in addressing the war in Ukraine. NATO, somewhat somnolent these past years, has awakened. Tough decisions are being made that will affect fuel prices, heating in winter in Europe and elsewhere. Taxpayers' money will be used to add military might to counter aggression against Ukraine. All these have been promised and on its way.

The Ukraine war is a needless and retrogressive step. But it has happened and is continuing. Leadership in many ways has failed. Goodwill, tolerance, open minds for negotiation could have prevented it. And that is the tragedy, while for the most part ordinary citizens understand these factors, leaders submerge them to ambition, resentment, revenge that justify violence.

We are on a journey back to the past that was painful and unacceptable.