I Challenge You…

I will bite my thumb at them; which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it.

~Shakespeare

This #Youcannotmakethisshitup moment is brought to you by this guy:

Who is this guy you might ask? He is Igor Plotnitsky, the “president” of the Ukrainian separatists “Luhansk People’s Republic.” And he recently did something pretty interesting.

He challenged Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko to a duel. Yep, you heard me right. A duel.

As an American when I think of a duel, I automatically think of the Old West. Two cowboys, who are fighting over a woman, or who spilled beer on the other one, line up, then turn their backs to one another and take an allotted number of paces and on the count of three they turn around, shoot and see who dies. There are even specialized pistols for the event, called dueling pistols.

But duels actually go back way further than that. Dueling came to Europe during the late medieval period and was prevalent mainly among the higher classes. It was a call to honor for many aristocratic men. It was also widely believed that God would make sure the winner was the man in the right. (Note: see my recent post on crazy shit that happens in the Christian religion and add this thought to the list). Dueling was widely practiced in England, France, Germany, Ireland, Russia and other European nations. Many of these countries even recorded the rules of conduct during a duel in books. Oftentimes, these rules included a provision wherein the challenged party could choose the venue and/or the choice of weapon.

So is the case here. Igor Plotnitsky has told his rival, Petro Poroshenko, that Petro may pick the venue and the weapon to be used (I’m personally hoping he goes for the bow and arrow). And he’s issued a rather interesting statement regarding the whole thing:

If you want to spill the blood of your and our soldiers, their wives, mothers, old people, and children, then prove that you are prepared to spill your blood too – and take my challenge.

Very interesting. While this is most likely simple propaganda (I would like to hope that the man leading the separatists is smart enough to know that the president of Ukraine was not going to fight in a duel to the death or at the very least I hope that Putin would have advised him of this), it isn’t something we haven’t all thought about before. How many times during the conflicts in the Middle East have we heard politicians and regular people bemoaning the loss of life? How many times have you heard people shout at politicians that they should send their sons and daughters to war, or better yet, go themselves, before they commit us to another battle? How many times have we thought that maybe this would be an equitable solution to our wars? One dies to save the masses.

Of course it’s not so easy as all that because, unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely that God makes the right man in a duel a victor. Probably because God doesn’t condone killing. You know, Thou Shalt Not Kill and all that. Or, if you’re an atheist, because God doesn’t exist, whichever floats your boat.

If we resolved things by dueling, then we would all probably be just one giant Russia by now, because – have you seen Putin naked? Of course you have, the whole world has. Scratch that, we might not all be taken over by Russia because the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott might give Putin a run for his money.

Seriously, if they did do a duel, do you think they would air it on live TV? Because Ukraine is really hurting for money from what I understand, and I think the Pay Per View subscriptions would skyrocket over this one. Maybe Poroshenko could choose an arena like in the Hunger Games even? But the best question is – why am I not an artist because I would so be cashing in on the comics for this right now.

Just imagine, you have Plotnitsky kicking Poroshenko into a pit and screaming, “THIS IS RUSSIA!” while Putin claps merrily on a throne behind him. Oh the possibilities.

 

 

Dear Russia, Get Out of Ukraine

My dream is for people around the world to look up and to see Canada like a little jewel sitting at the top of the continent

~ Tommy Douglas

November 17, 2014

When Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper “greeted” Russian President Vladimir Putin at the recent G20 he said the following words that made me want to give him a big ol’ bear hug:

I guess I’ll shake your hand but I’ll only have one thing to say to you – get out of Ukraine

Mr. Harper, I take my hat off to you.

Here in the U.S., I think we mostly think of Canada as our peaceful, northerly neighbors. They’re like our brother from another mother. We like to joke about them, and their love of hockey, eh? We think of the country mostly as an ice and snow-riddled northern wilderness full of jolly, happy-go-lucky pacifists who stay out of most everything. Up until 2009, U.S. citizens didn’t even need a passport to visit. In the Northeast U.S., where I live, most people don’t even consider Canada another country and if you ask someone if they’ve traveled to a foreign country and he/she says Canada the joke will be, “But that doesn’t count!”

We don’t think of Canada as a military power or a country that is all that involved in international politics or warmongering, which might be why we like them so much. We’re tired of war, and Canada doesn’t seem to have it. They’re like the Switzerland of North America. We think of their police as handsomely dressed forest rangers riding horses, and who are endearingly called the “Mounties” and we have a tendency to ask Canadians if they actually have real crime. Side note: They do, but much, much less than here in the U.S. Oddly though, they’re more afraid of crime (perhaps because they’re not as used to it).

Mounties-006

These dudes are what most Americans think of Canadian police. (c) Kit Houghton/PA Source: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2010/nov/08/mounties-murdoch-sun-tv-news

So when I read this morning about what Mr. Harper had to say to Mr. Putin, I nearly squealed in joy. Not because I like the thought of another nation becoming involved in war, but because it was so unexpected and also was exactly what most westerners would love to say to the Russian President ourselves.

Mr. Putin, you’re not fooling anyone, you’ve obviously done something terribly, terribly wrong. So like you tucked tail and fled the G20, so too tuck tail and get the hell out of Ukraine.

And if you want, take your separatists with you. If they feel that they’re more Russian than Ukrainian, take them back to your own soil and protect them there. We’ll see how Russian they are then. Ukraine is a sovereign nation, which you have invaded. Turn around and go home now, because you’ve done something I didn’t even think possible – you pissed off Canada.