Penning these editorials is frequently a struggle.
Coming up with new topics or pressing matters to address can often be a real challenge. Sometimes I simply do not have anything new to add to what I have already said before, and on a few occasions, I suffer plainly from writer’s block.
But this time, I have struggled for a different reason.
This publication is about diving and the aquatic environment, right? It is supposed to be about the joys and adventures with which diving enriches our lives. We also cover aquatic sciences, marine life behaviour, and environmental protection and politics, for enlightenment’s sake—because we cannot protect what we love, if we do not understand it nor see what is going on beneath the waves.
However, today, it is the thunder of war in Ukraine that is so troubling and disturbing. I need not go into any details as it is all over major news channels 24/7. Against this backdrop of conflict, diving, and the various ongoing challenges we face in the international dive industry and community, just seem to pale in comparison. And I am not very good at pretending that the geo-political situation does not weigh heavily on my mind.
Diving is a luxury, not a necessity. However, freedom and democracy are, in fact, necessities.
As much as diving and the aquatic world have been my life, I cannot and will not stick my head in the sand and not take a stance when it really matters, and very important issues are at stake. This platform may not be the best-suited place for it, and its range may be limited to the community of divers and ocean lovers, but it is the only soapbox we've got, upon which we may stand.
Let me be perfectly clear: Like the rest of the free world, we stand firmly with the Ukrainians and their fight for freedom and independence, and we are against brutal aggression and totalitarianism. It is also our values and freedoms that they are fighting to defend.
We want peace for all, and hope a peaceful resolution and an end to the violence can be found.
“Democracy dies in darkness” is the catchphrase used by the Washington Post. And it does. It is therefore now up to the rest of us to cast enough light across the new iron curtain and illuminate a new, brighter, and above all, peaceful future.