|Bernadett Szabo / Reuters|
Anna Semyuk hugs her children at the Beregsurany border crossing in Hungary on February 26, 2022. The children were handed off on the Ukrainian side of the border by the father—who was not allowed to cross—to Nataliya Ableyeva, a stranger to the family, who brought the children across the border and kept them safe.
It's been tough lately to watch what has been unfolding at the Ukrainian border. It's been tough from the standpoint that the images of people fleeing West, many hunkered down in bomb shelters with kids, and outright images of casual common apartment buildings with missile holes in the side of them, all have evoked the biggest reaction from me to this ongoing crisis.
Yes, on the surface, there is the anger and the want to wish bad things upon the Russian government. After all, we are here because of them, and of course, Vladimir Putin's need to offer a flex that no one else but he and his inner circle wants or finds even necessary.
But there is also the lesson that world history is at play here, and that nations, ideologies, beliefs, or perceived "manifest" indoctrinations, no matter how far removed - twenty-five, fifty, or in this case, one hundred years ago - will still find it's way back into the present. Because man is selfish. Man is stupid. And Man is wicked.
And that weaves me into our own country and our own society. It also leads me to think about the concept of how we struggle with those same demons that "ought to be", and how despite the idea of humanity and "modern compassion" serving as the fragile veil that keeps us from going back, all it takes is that one flex to break it. One arrogant, wicked, selfish, stupid flex - for it all to rage like it once did.
After all, what we are seeing is something that is so deeply rooted in evil, that it doesn't abide by any international law, any moral compass, or is even majority-supported by Russian natives themselves. There are no rules, and there is no compassion in this. Putin and company are NOT interested in such guidelines - or as he probably sees it - boundaries to his power.
|Yes, that's a missile...|
It's a sharp reminder that while we here at home try to turn everything into political positioning - yes, even this situation - this thing we call democracy, is so very fragile.
The stories and images of everyday Ukrainians taking up arms to defend their country is an act so incredibly humbling, sad, amazing, angering, and inspiring all at the same time.
Our own maddening and obsessive control on "patriotism" and what defines it here in the United States, as well as our thoughts on mask mandates - oh, how irrelevant it all sounds and feels now.
Yet, with all of that, the current situation is a reminder through the context of the history books we've learned from, that these escalated world affairs can abruptly occur. It doesn't have to be by the assassination of "one of ours", because of a historical land dispute, or even from economic sanctions. It literally can be because one country, and one man wanted to. And then did.
In one week, we've seen thousands of soldiers from the Ukraine and Russia die. Just as many innocent lives were taken through attacks and the invasion of towns en route to Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. Thousands of Russian Anti-War protesters were taken into jail - with likely severe consequences to follow. And yes, even nuclear threats. An absolute mess.
That's effing scary. Especially for a wicked world like the one we inhabit and indulge in.
My thoughts and so many prayers are with the people of Ukraine. Keep them in yours as well.