Watching the news this morning, I was reminded of how much fear and trepidation I felt during the first Gulf War. All the uncertainty. All the attempts to think along with the strategy points that were being made. I can sympathize with the feeling of terror and sadness that the Ukrainian people are feeling at this moment. War, in whatever form, is not the easiest moment to deal with. Your life is turned upside-down. Most people may feel a disbelief that another country would want to wage such unthinkable actions on another country – and typically all in the name of power and territory.
Most people just cannot fathom the driving forces behind a decision to wage war. In the case of Vladimir Putin, he made it quite clear in his “history lecture” of a speech the day before. He sees Ukraine as an illegitmate country, created by the failings of Boris Yeltsin, when Ukraine was allowed to secede from the Soviet Union in 1991 under his watch. The next day, after Russian forces started their attacks, Putin made an additional speech, noting that the attacks were meant to defend Russians from “genocide” and to “de-nazify” Ukraine. A somewhat strange statement considered the Ukrainian president is a Jew. But all of this is the justification that Putin is using for his aggression. I, for one, hear the echoes of similar perspectives echoing through history from 1936 Germany.
Whatever the justification, everything has been placed into motion. The Ukrainian people are confused by the fog of war. The rest of the world…well, it feels like it is confused from where I sit. However, currently the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is sitting back at the borders of their most eastern Europe member states. I can only wonder if we ever learned any one thing from the inactivity of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain as a response to Adolph Hitler’s military buildup prior to his blitzkrieg against Poland in 1939. Or are we doomed to repeat a similarly failed strategy while Puton and Russian forces rampage through the Ukrainian countryside.
What can we, as Pagans, do in the face of all of this. As trite as it sounds – we can offer prayers to our Gods. Not asking Them to intercede – not on our own selfish wants and desire – but in the interest of keeping our world as calm as possible. Beyond that, I don’t see much that I feel “right and correct” about directing a larger Pagan community to do. I don’t control anyone else’s actions but my own. It would be unwise and selfish of me to direct everyone else to do things the way I feel it should be done. I’ve never felt comfortable telling anyone how they should or not approach any situation.
What will I do? For the moment, there’s not much I can do – except what I normally do. Go about my regular day. There’s nothing I can add or commit that will change what is happening or the plight of the Ukrainian people. I will; however, keep my eyes and ears open for any opportunity that presents itself, which I can provide my energy and strength to. Here at home, prices for groceries, gas, and other fungible resources are likely to sky-rocket in cost. Once the front here in central Tejas clears, I will set about trying to grow some vegetables for my home consumption. As hypocritical as it sounds, I will also start paying tighter attention to the news than I have been. Staying informed will be important. And Gods, I certainly hope that Democrats and Republicans can set aside their differences and pay a lot more attention to the news of those military members in the field, currently in potential harm’s way. Those that raised their hands and swore to defend the Constitution and this country from aggressors foreign and domestic certainly deserve more than a pair of parties bickering with one another, trying to score useless political points.
I know, very well, that this conflict – as well as the resulting sanctions and whatever actions are decided to be visited upon Russia – will have massive ripples throughout our world economy. At no other point in our collective histories, have we ever been so tied to one another than we are in the global marketplace. The repercussions will not be for the Russian people alone. We will all feel the energy of this conflict in various ways. We are all in this together, like it not. My initial concern is for the Ukrainian people, who will need the world’s help immediately to survive this ploy of Russia’s strong-man. May the Gods protect us all…even the aggressors in all of this. For we are all human, despite our differences, and deserve to all be treated with equal respect. Even when none is given by one representative side in the beginning. After all, someone needs to break the cycle of hatred at some point.