Putin, get out of my House!
Image by kalhh on Pixabay
That must be the thought of every Ukrainian. Russian President Vladimir Putin has invaded their lives. This was an unprovoked attack on a sovereign country. The video below this story is further evidence of war crimes. I forewarn you that there is graphic violence in it. I will not describe anything more in this video than I have in this editorial. I believe it is important to give dignity to the loved ones of those who have been murdered. I do not want to traumatize anyone more than they already are.
Quoting from the youtube site for The New York Times; “The Times’s Visual Investigations team analyzed dozens of battlefield radio transmissions between Russian forces during an initial invasion of the town of Makariv, outside Kyiv.” It appears a Russian commander ordered a soldier to “cover the residential area with artillery.” This is 5 minutes and 10 seconds into the video. 1 The scene of a woman laying dead after a Russian soldier shot her is such a waste of a life that had more to give others.
I couldn’t watch all this video without interrupting it. I watched some. Then, I would soothe myself with a hot cup of coffee. I took sometimes breaks of over an hour before I watched more. I wanted to communicate to you the impact of it upon me. My heart goes out to those courageous Ukrainians, many of them civilians, who have been trained how to defend themselves.
I pray for peace. There are no winners in war. Everyone loses. Thousands of people have died on both the Russian and Ukrainian sides. Putin has a lot of explaining to do to Russian mothers and grandmothers who will never see their children and grandchildren again. He has much to account for in how grieving Russian and Ukrainian fathers will no longer go camping, hiking, or fishing with their sons.
Here is a thought-provoking quote on the damage war causes:
There has always been war. War is raging throughout the world at the present moment. And there is little reason to believe that war will cease to exist in the future. As man has become increasingly civilized, his means of destroying his fellow man have become ever more efficient, cruel, and devastating.”2 – James Nachtwey, American war photographer, and photojournalist.
The Ukrainians did not ask for this war; it was thrust upon them. They could have surrendered and agreed to endure a puppet government led by a dictator who would keep them enslaved. They would no longer be free. That would be a slow death of their fighting spirit. They were left with no choice but to defend their right to be free.
If Putin is trying to beat Adolf Hitler’s record of atrocities he is well on the way. The question which has been on my mind is why when Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, for example, is 4497 air miles to Kyiv, Ukraine, am I feeling unsafe?
The reason is that it feels like an invasion of our home if you think of one’s mind as being like a house. Putin has got inside our heads. We hear and read about him on the news. I have to take breaks from this. If I don’t I just get furious. That’s where Putin wants all of us. Don’t give him that victory over you. The best thing we can do to fight Putin is to love one another like we never have before. Be there for the people of Ukraine. Donate to relief efforts. Volunteer some of your time to the Ukrainians in your community. In doing these things you get rid of the toxin that is Putin.
The litany of Putin’s acts of horror grows. We hear talk of a larger global war. The thought of it terrifies us. President Joe Biden has made it clear. If even by accident there is any weapon that lands in any NATO country, we will be in World War III. The idea of that scares the hell out of us!
Albert Einstein said,” I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” Think about that. He was warning the world to pause, to think where it was heading. He urged all of humanity to not go that route.
Putin has entered the home of our minds. No matter what side people fall on whether or not we should be involved in this war, we all feel the impact of what Putin is doing. Those who have had their home robbed say they don’t feel safe there any longer. Those who have had this happen multiple times often leave where they are living. The memories of having someone come into their home without permission, rifle through, and steal their belongings is too much to cope with.
One of the first things people do after they have been vandalized is to shower. They feel dirty. It helps them feel cleaner. They are comforted by the hot water easing tension in their bodies.
Millions continue to flee Ukraine. Many children have been taken in by schools in Poland to continue with their education. The hope is that it will restore some normalcy to their lives. I commend them for their compassion.
Those of us who deal with people in crisis know that the first priority is to ensure their safety. Shock can set in when the body’s adrenaline is pumping. It is commonly known as fight or flight. It’s the very way animals behave when their security is threatened. They are left with two choices – fight the predator or run to escape it.
Ukrainians are at risk of developing PTSD. Humanitarian aid workers and those involved in crisis response know this. They offer them the essentials of food, clothing, and shelter. The goal is to make them feel secure. They desire to comfort them. They want to avoid the physical and mental health of Ukrainians worsening.
There is another gift that can be offered. Musicians and actors could go to the countries Ukrainians are entering and do performances. Get their minds on the beautiful things of life again. They have lived with the ugliness of having their homes, apartments, coffee houses, businesses, schools, theatres, and shops reduced to a pile of rubble. This must be so depressing.
What can we do? Pray every day for the people of Ukraine. Pray that pressure will escalate on Putin to pull his forces out of Ukraine. Pray that there will be an expedited process to bring Putin, oligarchs supporting him, commanders, and government officials to justice, for multiple war crimes.
We are all in this together whether we want to be or not.
The robbers of the safety of all Ukrainians must pay a high price for their crimes against our shared humanity. This is who we are. This is what a civilized society stands for.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King said it best. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” –Letters from a Birmingham Jail.
We never want to learn how to fight with sticks and stones.