I offered it as a comparison, not as an excuse.
Did you expect me to lie about the challenges that face the narodnya of Pochven? Did you expect me to minimize or deny the suffering of those caught in the warzone? I do not. I never have. Civilians in the middle of a war zone always suffer the most. So it has always been, since our ancient ancestors first picked up stones and smashed them against the heads of their enemies. There is no avoiding such a fate.
War is a natural disaster executed by unnatural means. It scourges worse than wildfire, reduces cities to rubble greater than any earthquake, washes away the living with more violence and finality than a tsunami wave. And like every natural disaster, it creates the opportunity for something new to be rebuilt in its place. In other words, war-- like all inevitable forms of devastation-- creates not merely sorrow but also opportunity.
I find that most people fall into two camps when it comes to such things. There are those (like you, perhaps?) who fixate on grief and grievance; who howl and curse fate, and stamp their feet in rage unending at the unfairness of it all; they blind themselves with rage and grow addicted to the intoxicating venom of victimhood.
Then there are the others-- the survivors-- the ones who understand that there is no such thing as a life free of difficulty, and nothing but random happenstance controls the severity of it; they who feel grief but refuse to be consumed by it; the ones whose eyes remain unblinded to see the new opportunities before them. These are the people who build the universe of the future-- the things that could not have been achieved but for the circumstances that made those achievements necessary.
I do not minimize the hardships that these civilians face. That would be unworthy of the sacrifices they made.
And so we arrive at the heart of the matter: whether or not their sacrifices were, in fact, for the greater good. There are more than seven thousand charted stars in New Eden and Anoikis. The Triglavians conquered an infinitesimal number of them. I have seen your friends and allies deride this fact simultaneously on the basis that it is such a small number-- and therefore ridiculed as emblematic of the Collective’s presumed inferiority-- and on the basis that it is a huge number-- and therefore decried as a grievous sin that can neither be forgiven nor forgotten. (The choice of which of these conflicting arguments to make depends entirely on whatever the narrative du jour happens to be.)
But none of it is ever informed by asking the Triglavians themselves.
I have lived in Pochven now for more than a year, working closely with members of the Collective. The language and cultural barriers are still steep, but I have enough experience to draw some general conclusions. The Triglavian people have a marked bent toward pragmatism and a utilitarian approach toward problem-solving. Much of this may be driven by the fact that they are building up Pochven from scratch. But as I observe further, the thought keeps rising that the Collective only took as much from the Empires as was minimally necessary for survival. (Indeed, Subcommander Foucault practically said as much a few months ago when he warned that the Collective deliberately stopped its incursions into empire space, and could just as easily resume them if provoked.)
And here, at last, is the answer to the question. Because-- contrary to the hysterical ravings of some capsuleers on this forum-- the Triglavians were motivated to come to these “Ancient Domains” not out of senseless bloodthirst, but out of abject necessity. The common threat to us all is, and has been throughout the entirety of the Triglavian invasions and afterward, the as-yet unchecked machinations of the Drifters. To save their civilization, the Triglavians had to come here.
If you had to choose between the deaths of millions or the deaths of trillions, would you not choose the lesser harm? Of course you would, because to do otherwise would be simply inhuman.
So to answer your question, Ms. Rhiannon: no, it is not a “good excuse.” I do not believe in excuses; only in reasons. There was a reason why the Collective conquered what it did–and a compelling one, at that. I do not deny the sacrifice that the civilians of twenty-seven star systems paid. I merely tell you that the sacrifice was worth the price.