Old maps of the world, and by that I mean really OLD maps of the world, if the cartographer didn’t have better information to go on, would contain the phrase “Here Be Monsters” for any area of the map later called uncharted. In the 15th and 16th centuries that was a lot of what maps were, litanies of the uncharted, of where the monsters be.
Nowadays we have GPS and satellite mapping systems and we know exactly where we are at any given moment. It’s even gotten to be a sort of punchline in movies and TV. A big plot point in a show I was watching the other night was that a 30 year old woman was lost because she was forced to read an actual fold out map instead of relying on Google Maps.
You’ll never see “Here Be Monsters” on Google Maps.
Then again we don’t need to be told where monsters might be. We know where they are.
Currently they are wrecking havoc on the innocent population of Ukraine.
Make no mistake, the Russian armies currently raining hell down on Ukraine are monsters. They have left any shred of humanity they may have had back home in St. Petersburg or Omsk or Siberia. They have been ceaselessly targeting and shelling civilian centers throughout Ukraine, I suspect because they have found going up against the actual Ukraine army hasn’t gone that well for them.
So besides being monsters they are also cowards, as are the ones giving them the orders which they will claim at their war crimes trials they were merely following.
This story in the NY Times tells of a family killed in one such attack. A mother and two children simply trying to get out of the way of the fighting killed by a mortar fired into an area where there were no fighting forces. The mom worked as an accountant for a software firm. The kids were 18 and 9. Surrounding the dead bodies are their backpacks and rolling bags. They look like they could be sleeping off a too long layover at O’Hare, but for the blood. And where was the father? He had to make the heartbreaking choice to stay with his family or try and care for his mother with Alzheimer’s in the countryside.
Thus he lives on, but his world is shattered.
There is only one man to blame for this, the chief monster. I’m tired of writing his name, of even making fun of his name. It’s not a joke anymore, it never was. He is the greatest mass murderer since his hero Stalin. People all over the Twittersphere and the Pundit Pool have been musing on how this can possibly end peacefully. “What will allow him to save face?”, they muse.
He doesn’t get to save face.
No “stepping down because of my health”. No exile in the UAE. No super yacht with his co-villian Murdoch’s ex-wife. Nothing. You wanted to be the Tsar? Well how about we end you the same way the last tsar ended, in the basement of an unknown cabin without even Anastasia screaming in vain. Film it to let the world see it, but bury you in an unmarked, unknown spot so your little monster followers can’t turn it into a shrine.
And speaking of followers, everyone this monster turned into billionaires with his favors and largesse, you don’t get off easy as well. All that firepower being used against the innocents comes from the rubles you turned the natural resources of Russia into your personal payola. So it all gets taken. In the words of an eminent candy maker, you get nothing. All that money goes to Ukraine to rebuild what you helped destroy. Go ask Volodymyr Zelenskyy for a job but don’t be surprised when he has you arrested instead. Enjoy your time in prison.
Do these two things and maybe the world forgives the citizens of Russia for having been pawns in this game of international despicable behavior. I doubt the Ukrainians will, especially that father and the thousands of others just like him who have lost loved ones because one alleged human decided their lives were of little importance in his mad grab for power. Maybe in a couple of generations they will visit Moscow and not have to wonder if the waiter bringing out the blinis once stomped the life out of a helpless grandmother just for being Ukrainian.
But I doubt it.
We shoot mad dogs because of the harm they can bring to any human. We should do the same with this mad dog so that he and his followers never befoul the peace of the world again. But remember, just as Atticus Finch says, that dog is as dangerous dead as alive.