This week in the news I’ve seen, we all have seen, sad farewells stations repeated over and over in Ukrainian train. This time the fathers are sending the wives and children to safety. As the trains depart they are grimly turning away to hide their tears. Here we go again.
“Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” Winston Churchill said.
Those WWII black and white movies of refugees walking along the roads to get away from falling bombs were once difficult to imagine but this week those images became real. We saw it in color with puffy pink coats, blue superhero backpacks, babies with Mickey Mouse ear puffs, bright strollers, sobbing mothers in stylish coats, and dogs being smuggled under jackets.
On old newsreels we saw what London looked like during the Blitz. We saw it again in Kyiv this week but the people who crawled out after the explosions were taking photos with their cell phones and texting family.
The faces of those seeking shelter in the subways last week were familiar. They are the same brave, hopeful, patient, frightened, exhausted faces that we saw in black and white on the History Channel.
We thought all this was in the past. We thought in this modern world that all out war was impossible. Logic told us that no civilized person wanted to do WWIII. We thought NATO and the UN would keep it from happening.
However, now the world is faced with a madman who knows how to play the rules of NATO and the UN like a piano. Putin torments us all with atrocities and war crimes that we desperately want to stop, but our hands are tied.
We know it is a trap. If we respond with the fury we feel, the madman will open Pandora’s Box and the world will cease to exist. It appears that there is nothing that we can do.
Never the less a new hero has stepped up, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. He fights beside his people like Henry V. (Remember this? “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he today that sheds his blood with me, shall be my brother.”)
Zelensky leads his fighters like Washington and inspires his people and the world like Churchill. In addition to his army he fights beside ordinary men and women, retirees, returned expatriates and volunteers from other countries.
“Every day of resistance,” he says, “creates better conditions for Ukraine in the negotiations to guarantee our future in peace.”
Zelensky’s warriors are outnumbered and battling a remorseless army that is attacking the innocent and vulnerable first.
He begs us for help.
“Somebody please do something to stop this,” We shout at the television, but our help is limited by the very rules we set in our treaties and alliances.
Somehow the free world must find a way.
I hope, I pray, that somewhere a statesman, a diplomat, a cleric can get Putin to stop.
I’ve become a prayer warrior this week, we’ve sent donations to help with the refugees, and we’ve communicated with our Congress and President. My cousin in France has Ukrainian refugees sleeping in her guest room. We may be asked to do the same before all this is over.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – JFK
Pam Cottrel writes a weekly column for the Springfield News-Sun.