What can I say today…

The world woke up, both literally and figuratively, to the reality of Russian “politics”. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Ukraine, who did everything they could to try and avoid this conflict. But how can you avoid someone like Putin who, like an abuser, is obsessed with your land and people. Make no mistake, this is not a good obsession. I saw videos and pictures of the violence on display in the communities of Ukraine and it is monstrous. Innocent people, families, children are being bombed because of Russia’s blood-thirsty conquest. He labels himself a liberator, but he is a monster.

Like an abusive partner to their ex-spouse, Russia cannot accept that Ukraine does not belong to them. Just over 30 years ago, the people of Ukraine voted in a referendum to become an independent nation from the USSR. Reports indicate that over 90% of citizens voted ‘yes’ on this referendum and the motion was passed. It is as clear now as it was back then that Ukraine is a free country with their own government and democracy. But here comes Putin claiming that he is “liberating” them. This is pure gaslighting; he is invading a foreign country with militaristic ambition.

So, what can we do? The important thing right now is to keep our Ukrainian friends at heart and support them however they need. Perhaps message your friends and check up on them. If you’re nearby where they work or live, maybe bring them some food. A warm meal goes a long way to ensuring they feel loved and supported during their anguish. Next, we must remain vigilant with our political leaders to ensure they continue to follow up with the political and economic pressure on Russia. This includes contacting your elected representatives to voice your concerns and make your voice heard. Also consider attending a vigil for Ukraine’s fallen and persecuted.

The way forward is together. Because in a world where so much evil can surprise us even when we see it coming, it is important to remind ourselves and others that we care. That we care for their lives, for their families’ wellbeing, and for their confidence that the world still can be a beautiful place. The pandemic has created an atmosphere that has taken so much of our resolve these past two years. We are all tired, and it can feel like nothing is getting better between illnesses, political division, climate change, and now war and death. But this world is beautiful because it is filled with people like you and me. We need to remember that each morning when we wake up, because that hope is the only way to fight back against the darkness. We must keep that candle lit.

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