Сердца разорваны, но почему-то полны надежд

A long time ago I had some Russian. I have a little still, but not enough for this piece…so as my friend in Donetsk taught me, using Google Translate — any mistakes to their algorithm. The following below, same as my post yesterday in English.

Поскольку война бушует в Украине уже четвертый день после того, как Россия вторглась в ее южную соседку, у меня в животе зияет мука, которая не исчезнет.

Мои отношения с Россией и Украиной восходят к десятилетиям, еще до распада Советского Союза. Моя особая связь с Украиной основана в Донецке. Я до сих пор считаю русских/украинцев, которых я встречал, знал, с которыми жил, друзьями, даже если я не разговаривал с ними много лет. Недавно я разговаривал с одним таким другом, сразу после начала русского вторжения. Она родом из Донецка, но уже много лет проживает в штатах.

Было так приятно связаться с ней, услышать новости о ее семье, как в России, так и в Украине, услышать ее взгляд на это ужасное обстоятельство. Но, конечно, разговор был душераздирающим. Мое сердце болит за нее, за ее семью, за других друзей, которые все еще живут в обеих странах, за трагедию этих ошибочных времен.

Вскоре после нашего разговора она написала мне открыто и красиво о своем взрослении в тогдашнем Советском Союзе. Как ее семья представляет собой смесь русских и украинцев. Как она выросла с обоими языками, обеими культурами, полностью переплетенными. Она объяснила, как три основных языка, на которых она говорит, испорчены другими. Она объяснила: «В моем английском есть славянский привкус. Мой родной язык, русский, имеет отчетливо мягкое «г» и приправлен украинскими словами и фразами. Мой украинский перемешан с русскими разговорными выражениями. Смешанный, как и большинство других людей, говорящих на этих языках».

И как кажется, что ее голова вот-вот взорвется, а сердце разорвется надвое…

Ее история должна быть историей десятков тысяч, может быть, миллионов смешанных русских и украинцев.

И все же теперь из-за бравады, ошибочных геополитических расчетов или стремления к давно ушедшему политическому порядку Россия вторглась в Украину. Русские убивают украинцев. Украинцы убивают русских. Эти два народа так переплелись за тысячелетнюю историю…

И ясно, что основная человечность была потеряна. Или имеет?

Может быть, этот момент требует той самой ткани, которая объединяет эти два народа, что она сейчас рвется надвое, сердца рвутся надвое…

Еще не поздно остановить это безумие. Мы должны. Всех благонамеренных людей, а особенно русских и украинцев.

Иначе что остается?

В противном случае остаются украинцы (у многих из которых, без сомнения, есть русские по происхождению), сражающиеся, чтобы защитить свою страну от русских (у многих из которых, несомненно, есть украинский по происхождению), русские, обманутые своим правительством, что Украина представляет собой какую-то угрозу,

И я могу только надеяться, что мир ответит решимостью положить конец насилию; что украинцы могут устоять, оставаться непоколебимыми, решительными;

что обычные русские могут видеть сквозь ложь и каким-то образом остановить свое правительство, каким-то образом найти решение, которое они нашли тридцать один год назад,

Что, может быть, даже русское правительство увидит безрассудство этого опрометчивого проступка, сделает шаг назад от дальнейшей катастрофы, смерти и разрушения, хотя почему-то я не думаю, что это возможно, но,

Остаюсь как-то надеяться, хоть сердце и болит за друга, за украинцев и русских,

Я по-прежнему надеюсь, что более мудрые, более здравомыслящие, благонамеренные умы снова обретут свою человечность, найдут общий язык и понимание, пусть понимание восторжествует, пока не стало слишком поздно,

Пусть не будет слишком поздно,

Пусть не будет слишком поздно.

Как сказал мне мой друг,

«В моем сердце это Россия Украина. В моем сердце они неразлучны. Никакой политик, никакая война не разрушит это ни у меня, ни у многих других. В моем сердце они ЕДИНЫ. На генетическом уровне. На человеческом уровне. Моя семья, мои друзья… в обеих странах – ОДНО в моем сердце и душе».”

Hearts Torn, But Somehow Hopeful

As war now rages in Ukraine on the fourth day since Russia invaded its neighbor to the south, there is a pit in my stomach that won’t go away.

My relationship with Russia and Ukraine goes back decades, before the collapse of the Soviet Union. My particular connection to Ukraine is founded in Donetsk. I still consider the Russians/Ukrainians I met, knew, lived with to be friends, even if I haven’t talked to them in many years. I did talk to one such friend recently, just after the Russian invasion began. She is originally from Donetsk, but has resided now for many years in the states.

It was so good to connect with her, to hear news of her family, both in Russia and Ukraine, to hear her perspective on this horrible circumstance. But of course the conversation was also heart-wrenching. My heart aches for her, for her family, for other friends we both have still living in both countries, for the tragedy of these misguided times.

She wrote to me soon after our conversation, openly and beautifully about her growing up in the then Soviet Union. How her family is a mix of Russians and Ukrainians. How she grew up with both languages, both cultures, completely intertwined. She explained how the three primary languages she speaks are tainted by the others. She explained, “My English has some Slavic tang to it. My native tongue, Russian, has distinctly soft “g” and peppered with Ukrainian words and phrases. My Ukrainian is mixed with Russian colloquialisms.  Mixed, just like most of the other people speaking these languages.”

And how her head feels like it will explode, her heart torn in two…

Her story must be the story of tens of thousands, maybe millions of mixed Russians and Ukrainians.

And yet now because of bravado or misguided geopolitical calculation or a longing of a political order long gone, Russia has invaded Ukraine. Russians are killing Ukrainians. Ukrainians are killing Russians. These two peoples so intertwined over a thousand years of history…

And clearly the underlying humanity has been lost. Or has it?

Maybe this moment demands the very fabric that brings these two peoples together, that it is now being torn in two, hearts torn in two…

It’s not too late to stop this madness. We must. All well-meaning people, and especially Russians and Ukrainians.

Otherwise what is left?

What is left otherwise are Ukrainians (many of whom no doubt have Russian in their lineage) fighting to defend their country against Russians (many of whom no doubt have Ukrainian in their lineage), Russians fooled by their government that Ukraine is somehow a threat,

And I can only hope that the world responds with resolve to end the violence; that the Ukrainians can hold their ground, remain steadfast, determined;

that everyday Russians can see through the lies and somehow make their government stop, somehow find the resolve they found thirty one years ago,

That perhaps even the Russian government can see the folly of this ill-advised transgression, step back from further catastrophe, death, and destruction, though somehow I don’t think this is much possible but,

I remain hopeful somehow, even as my heart aches for my friend, for Ukrainians and Russians,

I remain hopeful for wiser, more clear-headed, well-meaning minds to find their humanity again, and find common ground and understanding, let understanding prevail before it’s too late,

Let it not be too late,

Let it not be too late.

As my friend told me,

“in my heart it is Russia Ukraine. In my heart they are inseparable. No politician, no war will ever pull that apart for me and many others. In my heart they are ONE. On genetic level. On human level. My family, my friends… in both countries – ONE in my heart and soul.”

,

A Land War in Europe: Russia Invades Ukraine

It’s been nearly 77 years since the end of the Second World War (WWII).

Let this date be marked in history, 24 February 2022, as the day that peace was broken.

Russian troops began an invasion of Ukraine, another sovereign country, on this date.

And so I feel compelled to suspend the usual themes of perseverance and positivity this blog
normally aheres to, return to my earlier academic roots as a political scientist, and share some thoughts on the Russian invasion.

My first training, Comparative Politics. My particular focus: the Soviet Union.

Heavy doses of the post-WWII rivalry, the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the United States,

Arms Race, Arms Control, rival economic models,

The geopolitical realities,

What the politicians want,

What the people want,

I lived amongst the Russians and Ukrainians. Ordinary people.

People want the same thing.

Opportunity, progress for their families, and peace.

Extremes don’t play well, in general. Big changes take time,

They can’t be forced; the changes or the people.

We’ve seen it in the United States for sure. Changes take time. Concensus. Compromise.

That’s what sticks.

Putin is forcing his hand. Putin somehow strangely thinks he can bring back the control and influence of Russia in the Soviet Times.

I actually believe full well that Russia DOES have a place as a major influencer in the work.

But not in this manner.

This manner is folly.

This manner can only end badly.

This manner has changed European, indeed global security forever.

It’s the dawn of a new age, suddenly.

How will well-meaning, like-minded people now respond?

Time will tell the resolve we have, the commitment we have to a better way.

Putin’s way? Not better.

He must not prevail.

FULL STOP.

Black History Month 2022: Elevating Black Voices, Paused, Due to Land War in Europe

Delighted to have posted so many voices of African Americans, et. al. to elevate their voices, their perspectives, the fundamental cause I believe is needed in these United States to move toward racial equality, across all sectors, spheres.

And now Full Stop.

Russia invaded Ukraine on 02/24/2022.

That story needs to be elevated now.

Black History Month 2022: Desmond Tutu

South African, Anglican Priest, Civil Rights Activist. He was active throughout the Aparteid Era in his country. He showed the way to non-violent, yet very vocal resistance to the injustice that dominated the society he lived in.

He was a partner to Nelson Mandela (another person from who much can still be learned).

He was a kindred spirit to The Dalai Lama. Conversations between them were filled with insight and wisdom…and also humor…!

GOOD.

Black History Month 2022: Frederick Douglass “Fritz” Pollard 

Here’s another name that I didn’t know…Frederick Douglass “Fritz” Pollard. How about you?

He was the first African-American football player at Brown University.

He was also the first African-American coach in the National Football League. And this accomplishment was decades before the civil rights movement of the 1960’s.

I didn’t know. Now I do. And glad that is so!

This passage from an article on Pollard sums it up nicely:

“”My earliest memory of him was when he gave me this football,” Fritz Pollard III, Pollard’s grandson, says with a laugh, “and would take me around in the backyard and show me how to run pass patterns. The first time he knocked me down, I was sort of shocked that he hit me that hard. But then I realized that I wasn’t hurt, so you just get up. And you just keep getting up.” 

More? Here.

Black History Month 2022: Constance Baker Motley

Who is Constance Baker Motley, you might ask? I know I did…

She happens to be the first Black female attorney to argue in front of the Supreme Court (she argued 10 cases in front of the high court, winning 9 of those cases).

She was also the first Black woman elevated to the federal bench.

She was a champion of the civil rights movement, and paved the way for so many…

Have a look, expand your mind, you’ll be glad you did…right here.

Black History Month 2022: Pendarvis Harshaw

Great stories and insights from just up the road in Oakland, CA. A podcast called “Rightnowish”, a public radio gem that just keeps giving. The dude behind the program? Pendarvis Harshaw, journalist and wonderous podcaster.

Like what kinda podcasts? Like the piece I heard recently about Christina “Krea” Gomez Jones, featured in the podcast, “Big Love: A New Kind of Tough Love” — amazing story about an amazing woman helping young people, including her own children, find their way in the world.

Listening and learning from those making a difference every day. No higher calling.

More on Pendarvis? Here.

And that particular podcast episode? Here.

Black History Month 2022: Code Switch – Can Therapy Solve Racism?

This show gives a lot of important insights on racism; I found this particular episode especially insightful.

Take a listen; worth your time while you do the dishes or fold the laundry.

one.npr.org/i/1080901973:1080980891

This podcast? Always worth it.