It’s mind-boggling to watch the steady march to war. To see the powerful leverage their position and lie as the world looks on. To bear witness to the human toll as innocent lives cower, or flee or die.
To what end?
How many resources will be squandered? How much blood shed? How many lives destroyed? And for what?
For a grudge to be settled? An ego caressed? A greedy appetite appeased?
The world saw it coming. Watched it unfold. All the power in the world and seemingly helpless to stop it. Much like Crimea eight years ago.
I remember watching it on television with my father in his living room in 2014. The coverage alternating between the Olympics in Sochi and news coverage of the invasion. Russia hosting sport with one hand and waging a military campaign with the other.
“They just get to do that with impunity?” I asked out loud, already sensing the answer.
Fast forward to this. Maybe Crimea was just a practice run to see how the world would react.
The BBC airwaves are filled today with the latest information that we all eagerly devour, trying to understand the developing story and what it all means.
Journalists who are braver than me are on the ground so we can try to parse truth from spin.
Russian apologists deliver strategic and transparent lies, invoking the word peace as a thin smokescreen for their aggression. Ukrainian citizens on the line publicly weigh the relative risks of fleeing or staying in place. Families shelter in subway stations.
One mother calmly declared that she didn’t like weapons of any sort, but if it came to it, she would find a place to safely leave her children and go join the fight.
I think of my friend Josh, who is a mental health counselor. A veteran. He works with soldiers who are dealing with trauma. PTSD. He just returned from Ukraine where he helped train Ukrainian psychologists in how to deal with combat trauma.
He just got home two weeks ago and from his posts on social media, I know he is worried for his friends there.
I think of another friend Dave, who works for the State Department. He did a stint in Moldova, which borders Ukraine to the southwest. The refugee stream has already started there and will only grow. They will get tens of thousands within the week. Romania has committed to take in half a million. It’s likely to be a wave a humanity.
Where do you put them? What do you feed them? How do you heal them, when lives and dreams and minds are shattered?
And for what?
Our hearts go out to all those who did not choose this war, but who will most certainly pay the price.