In peace, sons bury their fathers. In war, fathers bury their sons.
If we don't end war, war will end us.
-H. G. Wells
Dedicated to all the journalists on the ground in Ukraine, and those who have been censored, imprisoned, murdered, or forced into hiding in Russia.
No landscapes of mountains today, dear reader. Spoiler alert: I'm writing about the war in Ukraine, yet again. Click off, delete if you must, or read on. Join me with courage and fortitude. The world is geopolitically in turmoil:
His clothes were shredded and reeked from natural and chemical odors from the missile that had hit his group home. He had followed the crowd on foot, walking more than fifteen hours, to the Hungarian border, and because he has Tourette's, he wanted to be alone. The doctor in the mobile clinic accommodated his wish. The man was confused, distraught; the doctor remained calm. The BBC reporter, who has lived in Hungary for a decade, knew the doctor; it was his family's doctor. The doctor said that he quelled his own anxiety by working in his mobile clinic. Without hesitation, he drove to the Ukrainian border, interrupting his cosmopolitan life in Budapest without regret. Unlike the refugees from a modernized, western-facing Ukraine, he will be able to return to that life quickly.
This is not a film script; it is an account of one escape among many escapes, one doctor among many doctors. Many refugees will not make it. They choose the wrong escape route; they get shot or die of starvation in the crush on the roadside. Many medical workers will also be at risk as the heavy fighting and bombardment continues. Humanitarian assistance writ large cannot be sent in until there is a ceasefire, thus frenetic diplomatic action to achieve a cease fire and lower the risk to the civilian population.
The stories about Russia's atrocities in Ukraine are reminiscent of Chechnya and Stalin's reign of terror. Shock and awe tactics, gulags. Putin and his cohorts have been infected by ancient imperial ambitions. It is as though the Nazi reign of terror crushed by the Allies in WW II, has become undead, the disease of hatred and genocide mutated and strengthened.
Are there enough words to describe what is happening? As writers, broadcasters, journalists, can we find the right words to describe what is happening?
What, besides donations, can we do to help?
I spoke to my doctor-cousin Roger in Michigan this morning. Within minutes we had agreed that watching endless loops of news was not enough for us; our Holocaust history activates. What can we do to help? There are Ukrainian communities in both of our towns. Let's find out what we can do to help them as they struggle to locate their families, for example. Let's do this, or something else, in the name of our relatives who fled war, or were captured and killed in the Nazi death camps, or shot and thrown into pits. Let us think of them, let us honor them, as we continue to work for the rule of law locally, nationally and internationally.
#standwithukraine #standwithallrefugees #humanitarianassistance