It’s heartbreaking to hear the news of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. My family and I left the country in 1995 to give a new life a try in the US but my heart has always been with my motherland, my homeland. I’ve written about the pull I have for my birth country a number of times on this blog, often relating it to my automotive experiences but this post has nothing to do with cars or racing.
It’s incredibly sad to see what’s happening in the news and not being able to do anything about it.
What can be done?
The only thing I can think of is to share news of what is happening for the world to see, and be aware of the situation. But does the world really give a fuck about what is happening there? Probably not. America is preoccupied with the Middle East. Asia is preoccupied with China. Europe is preoccupied with Europe. Nobody really cares. Even Russia couldn’t give a shit about what is happening on the ground in Ukraine because it has little effect on their daily life, sanctions and all aside.
But it’s clear that Russia is invading Ukraine, and putting aside all the comments of brotherly peoples, the Russians are murdering innocent Ukrainian civilians and that’s not OK in this day and age.
VICE NEWS has an excellent coverage of things on the ground in their appropriately named “Russian Roulette” series of short films: https://news.vice.com/show/russian-roulette Even Jalopnik buds in on the subject from time to time describing different incidents from the shooting down of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 plane, flight MH17 to the recent chemical plant bombing that resembled a nuke. And almost always those posts are met with criticism that they should stick to stories about cars.
But people must be made aware.
Growing up in the Soviet Union, Ukraine and more recently the US, I was always cynical in thinking that if Ukraine was to be attacked the most likely culprit would be Russia. It doesn’t make me feel any better about myself knowing that this scenario came true in recent years. But it was always coming. I remember going to the Black Sea with my parents as a child, to the Russian speaking part of the Soviet Union and later Ukraine. And us – Ukrainian speakers were never treated the same as the Russians, never equals. Brotherly people and all, the Russians (and not necessarily Russians from Russia, but Russian speakers) would look down on Ukrainian speakers as second class citizens. Whether it was across the board or not, I don’t know. I was little. But I do have this distinct memory growing up.
The situation wasn’t much different in the US when we moved to New Jersey. There were plenty of Russian-speakers in my high school. And it amazed me how many of them turned out to be from Ukraine. When I arrived I remember correcting everyone that would label me as Russian, that I was a Ukrainian. People didn’t seem to care about the difference often mistaking that both are the same, mistaking Russian for Slavic. I have no problem being called a Slav, part of my name has “slav” in it. But I did not like to be called Russian by people who should have known better but are too ignorant (our educators). Sure there are similarities between Ukrainian and Russian, just as there are between Ukrainian and Polish, in the same way that many Latinos see a similarity between Spanish and Italian. But we’re not the same. And while people often referred to history that Soviet Union = Russia, that doesn’t excuse it. There was a period of Russification of the Ukrainians, that’s true. But if you look further back in history, the people that would form Ukraine as a region gave birth to what became Russia.
I hope this conflict doesn’t drag out for the next decade or longer. I don’t know what the solution to the conflict could be especially with the clear proxy war that Putin is playing, but I hope he is stopped.
The ordinary people can do little but they can stand up to the aggression and see through the propaganda. Today Ukraine is under attack, tomorrow it could be the rest of Europe.
Please Pray for Ukraine!