Have no fear! The ‘Woke Warriors’ are here!

But hey! Like I said at the very beginning: the Woke Warriors are here at last! Surely, it’s only a matter of time before victory is ours…

It’s OK, folks! War is over. You can all come out from under your beds and behind your sofas now: there is no longer anything to fear.

Remember that brave prediction we all recently saw on a placard somewhere? “Can we all fast-forward to the part where Vladimir Putin ends up shooting himself in a bunker?” (Translation from the original Wokish: “Can we all fast-forward to the part where Europe wins its war against Russia… without actually having to do any fighting at all?”)

It’s already come true, you know. Yes, indeed: what was Putin even thinking, when he chose to invade Ukraine only with conventional weapons such as tanks, guns, planes, and armour-piercing, ballistic missiles? And did he really think our proud European nations would be even remotely fazed, by his childish threats of… nuclear war?

Honestly, how naïve of him. Who in his right mind would be worried about a nuclear apocalypse… when we have a much deadlier, and more terrifying ‘secret weapon’ of our own?

Wokedom! That’s right, folks: Vladimir Putin can throw as many soldiers and weapons as he likes at Ukraine. It will be no match for the collective power of millions upon millions of young, spoilt Western millennials: all glued to their precious mobile phones, and all getting together to respond to naked military aggression in the only way they possibly can. By getting… (drums rolling)…


Yikes! The Russian bear didn’t see that one coming, did it? It didn’t realise that those tanks, and bombs, and missiles, can all be very easily deflected by an endless series of Facebook rants about… ‘how much we all hate Vladimir Putin!’ How much we all fantasize about the ignominious fate that this demented Russian war-lord will no doubt suffer, in the end (even though we don’t lift so much as a single finger, to actually force him into that bunker to begin with…)

And above all: how very, very ‘OFFENDED’ we all are, by his military annexation of Donetsk and Luhansk; and by his ongoing pummelling of cities like Kiev and Mariupol (where dead bodies are now being dumped in mass-graves, in scenes reminiscent of Monty Python’s ‘Bring Out Yer Dead!’)

But even I – who saw this all coming from day one of the conflict – was slightly taken aback by the sheer ferocity of Western Wokedom’s brutal response. I mean, it’s already bad enough that we banned MacDonald’s and Coca-Cola from Russia – you know: just to make sure that Russia’s military force remains as fighting-fit as possible, while here in Europe we all grow ever fatter, and ever more prone to heart-disease, while scoffing down ‘Big Macs’ and ‘Happy Meals’ [Note: this is an example of headlines in countries which haven’t yet banned American junk food: ‘Third of Malta’s population estimated to be obese by 2030’. ‘Nuff said.]

But… banning Tchaikovsky? Removing the works of long-dead Russian composers, from the repertoire of Western theatres and concert-halls? Isn’t that taking our punitive action against Vladimir Putin just slightly too far?

Oh well: too late now, I suppose. Not only has the Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra bravely cancelled a performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture, originally scheduled for 18 March… but Russian pianists are now being banned from participating in international music competitions, too!

Because of course, we all know that – when it comes to conquering foreign territories, and committing mass-murder on a genocidal scale - the Russian war machine relies not on its foot-soldiers, or its ‘smart weapons’, or anything like that… but exclusively on the talents of its young, aspiring (and let’s face it: extraordinarily brilliant) classically-trained musicians.

Why, take away Russia’s pianists… cancel its artists, and ban its historical composers from European theatres (far, far away from the actual ‘theatre of war’ itself)… and… well, what would Russia even have left to fight its battles with, anyway? Bullets? Mines? Rocket-propelled grenade launchers?

Pah! Nothing our proud army of ‘Woke Warriors’ can’t handle, is it? No, indeed: Russia’s inevitable surrender – and Putin’s inevitable suicide, in that imaginary ‘bunker’ of his – must now be literally just a few hours away...

But of course, there are always sacrifices to be made in times of war. Ultimately, the Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra’s decision to ‘cancel Tchaikovsky’, also means that Western audiences will be denied the possibility of listening to what is widely considered a masterpiece of 19th century classical music.

Yes, yes, I know it’s a ‘necessary evil’ that we must all endure, for the greater good of ‘defeating the evil Vladimir Putin’, and all that. But while the ban on Tchaikovsky in Cardiff will contribute absolutely NOTHING – nothing whatsoever – to help the defence of those brave Ukrainian cities (that are still somehow resisting Russia’s invasion in more conventional, military ways)… it does mean that Europe will simply become culturally poorer as a result.

And if you ask me: it also illustrates just how woefully unprepared Europe has all along been, for what was – at the end of the day – an entirely predictable invasion. So tell you what: let’s look at this idiotic decision in slightly more detail, shall we?

Among other things, we were told that: “Martin May, the director of the orchestra, explained [that]: ‘A member of the orchestra has family directly involved in the Ukraine situation and we are trying to respect that situation during the immediate term.

‘There were also two military themed pieces as part of the programme that we felt were particularly inappropriate at this time.’

Got that, folks? It is apparently ‘inappropriate’ to play ‘military-themed’ 19th century classical music pieces – which were actually written about Russia’s resistance against Napoleon in 1812 – because an orchestra-member has relatives who are involved in… um… a totally different war, fought over 200 years later.

Yeah, makes a heck f a lot sense doesn’t it? But it gets a lot better. Another reason given is that Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture also features  – wait for it - ‘cannons’!

Yep, you heard right. Never mind that Europe right now (and all of NATO, for that matter) is doing absolutely jack-shit to counter the very real artillery-fire that is pounding Ukrainian civilians as we speak. After all, we can always defeat Vladimir Putin by ignoring his real cannons, and waging war on entirely imaginary Russian artillery instead.

You know: ‘cannons’ which are actually just blasts from the Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra horns-section. ‘Cannons’ which are, in reality, nothing more than ‘bassoons’…

Seriously, though. What a load of utter ‘sothach’! (That’s Welsh for ‘military genius’, by the way.) For let’s be honest: if it’s ‘inappropriate’ to play Tchaikovsky, for all the above nonsensical reasons…

… how is it ‘appropriate’ to – and I’m just picking an example at random here -  import oil from countries like Saudi Arabia: which is currently invading Yemen, and massacring Yemeni people, with weapons sold to it by Western countries (including NATO allies)?

And besides: if we are going to cancel 19th century composers, for no other reason than ‘because they’re Russian’… why stop at Tchaikovsky, anyway? Mr Martin May has already informed us that “we have no plans to change our summer and autumn programmes which contain pieces by Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and Rimsky-Korsakof.”

But… erm… why not, exactly? They’re all Russians too, aren’t they?

And if Russian pianists can no longer take part in piano-playing competitions…. and if Russian orchestra conductors are forced to resign from their posts (again, for no other reason than ‘being Russian’); then… why not cancel all Russia’s prodigious contribution to Western (and European, in particular) culture? Why not remove the works of ALL Russian authors, from the curricula of European universities?

Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Leo Tolstoy. Nikolai Gogol. Alexander Pushkin. Mikhail Bulgakov. Yevgeni Zamyatin. Or how about Alexander Solzhenitsyn: whose ‘One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovich’ remains arguably the single greatest anti-oppression work of all time?

All of them – and many more beside - were Russian. So are we going to be prevented from reading all their works, too?

If so, it would be just as shockingly short-sighted – and obtuse – and ‘cancelling Tchaikovsky’. Because as that composer’s biographer John Suchet gently reminded Martin May: ‘‘Tchaikovsky adored Ukraine.’ And as has been pointed out by others: he ‘incorporated a lot of Ukrainian folk music and stories into his work’.

But still… I suppose that – once we’ve already ruled out any direct military intervention, from the get-go; once we’ve already rejected Ukraine’s pleas for a ‘no-fly zone’, or for pretty much any other form of military assistance (which might actually force Vladimir Putin into that bunker, so that he can just ‘shoot himself’, and get it over with…)

If, in a nutshell, we have all pre-emptively decided that we are just too fat, too lazy, and far too addicted to our ‘Big Macs’ and ‘Happy Meals’, to actually take up arms and FIGHT… (like our forefathers did 80 years ago: with the result that, well, what do you know? Adolf Hitler ended up committing suicide in a Berlin bunker, just like that slogan said…)

… well, what’s left for us to actually fight Vladimir Putin with, anyway… if not grand, empty, token (and quite frankly idiotic) gestures of ‘cancelling Russian culture’… which won’t have any form of impact on Russia’s war machine at all?

But hey! Like I said at the very beginning: the Woke Warriors are here at last! Surely, it’s only a matter of time before victory is ours…