Ukrainian Rebel Gun Locker: A 72-Year-Old Returns To War.
Note this piece from Hill 277.9, in Saur-Mogila, in which Noah Sneider, a preternaturally prepared young correspondent working in eastern Ukraine, documents a PTRD-41 anti-tank rifle, b. 1942, in service again.
We’ll have more about this weapon, and another from the same time, soon on the At War blog. In the interim, Noah sums up one of the tragedies of Ukraine, and of many wars, with a pitch-perfect understanding. It is painful to read, because it rings so true. This:
The encounter is emblematic of the war in Ukraine: fought from afar against inhuman opponents. Neither side wants to look the other in the eye, because to do so would be to acknowledge that, for the most part, they aren’t fighting Nazis and terrorists, but neighbors and countrymen.
When Hitler and Stalin had it out here, George Orwell wrote of a force that he called “nationalism.” He did not mean allegiance to a nation-state though, but the conviction around which one can construct a reality. “Having picked his side, [the nationalist] persuades himself that it is the strongest, and is able to stick to his belief even when the facts are overwhelmingly against him,” Orwell writes. “Nationalism is power-hunger tempered by self-deception. Every nationalist is capable of the most flagrant dishonesty, but he is also—since he is conscious of serving something bigger than himself—unshakeably certain of being in the right.”
ABOUT THE IMAGE
By Noah Sneider, a short while ago, of a 14.5mm weapon made to stop the Third Reich’s tanks, now, more than 70 decades on, in use in an internal war.