There’s nothing good about war. There’s no reason to welcome Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. Last night the Russian army bombarded Europe’s largest nuclear plant. What words are appropriate in the face of such reckless hate?

Millions are being displaced. More millions are living underground as thousands are killed. The fear of an escalation to a global scale, spares no one. It is of course nowhere worse than in our Europe, the treasure we call our own, with weapons trained on it that could turn it into a lurid lunar landscape.

I’m not then looking at the bright side, because there isn’t one, unless you consider the glare on the night vision footage of fire raining on a nuclear plant last night.

I’m merely making some considerations about things that were set in motion over the last 7 days that have been in stagnation for so long.

  • Malta stopped selling passports to Russians, cutting the monetary value of its passport-selling scheme by half. In the uncertain possibility of global conflagration, the scheme is likely to prove very soon altogether redundant. If billionaires want to escape the heat of Europe, they won’t want a Maltese passport. They’ll be looking to Chile or New Zealand. Good luck with that.
  • Malta has a general election campaign on, but you’d hardly notice. People don’t seem to care. For the first time in my experience people are more interested in what is happening outside their country than what is happening within it.
  • The West has woken up to the real cost of entertaining Russian princelings colonising our cities (including this country) and holding court in the most luxurious properties acting in the interests of the tyrant of Moscow. The West is finally clamping down.
  • Europe is finally aware of itself again. The frustrating divisions between factions of EU Member States have faded to the background. One stops squabbling about the means to prosperity when one is faced with a threat to security, even existence. We are within smelling distance of an unpredictable, aggressive, and perilous enemy. We know to stick together when that happens.
  • Until last week, countries within the EU grumbled about leaving it. Now countries outside scramble to get in. There was a line coined when the EU project started that integration was the key to avoid conflict and war. As conflict and war were avoided for 70 years, the idea became a cliché. Ukraine doesn’t think it’s cliché. Nobody does anymore.
  • For decades, Europe’s prosperity and stability attracted migrants from far and wide, escaping conflict and depravation and seeking shelter among us. Our hearts grew hard, our indifference to their plight a matter of policy. We complained about the hundreds that made it here and ignored the millions internally displaced in the countries they came from. We forgot we live on the Continent where the most barbaric acts of violence and cruelty were perpetrated, where millions were chased out to find shelter elsewhere in the world. For the first time in two lifetimes, the internally displaced are looking for shelter in Europe. And we feel the uncomfortable doubt of whether our home will be forever viable. We might become the migrants faced down by the hard hearts of others.

This may be over soon, and we would be allowed to go back to the life we enjoyed ignoring everyone else in the world. We can only hope it does, however sour that desire is. Or maybe we are living through days some future will remember as the last days of light before a long time of darkness.