Public figures in the US often note that Ukrainians are good...NEXT
I grew up believing, and not wrongly, that the Soviets stood...
Thomas LeeJul 10, 2022 (0)
me to generalize about Americans and other foreigners serving in Ukraine.
Fighting for your own country is to be expected, but it takes a special person
to take up arms when it involves paying one's way and devoting time to learn the
customs, the language and the scene on the ground.
that person has military experience in his or her own country. There may be a
connection to whatever country is “hosting” the war, in this case Ukraine.
Intellectual justifications are generally insufficient; people who came to
“help the Ukrainians” are often naifs, people who haven't the faintest idea of
what it really means. One thing that many Westerners discover is that the
Ukrainians are far more well-prepared than they themselves could ever be. Years
of interacting with the Russians have given Ukrainians perspective impossible
to achieve without the shared proximity and time. Russia and Ukraine are, after
all, related by language, culture and customs, and other intersections that
make the war appear deceptively internecine.
Like the 800-year
struggle of the Irish to free themselves from British imperialism, the reasons behind
the split are unfathomable to outsiders. A friend from Divis Flats, a
now-destroyed Republican stronghold in Belfast, once told me that up until the beginning
of “marching season” in Ulster, a typical morning interaction between
Protestant and Catholic neighbors in Ulster might go like this:
morning, Mrs. O'Rourke. How are you?”
morning, Mr. Ahearn. I hope I see you well.”
12 would arrive, and once studiously polite Mr. Ahearn, now clad in Orange
Lodge regalia and thumping his lembeg drum, would march past Mrs. O'Rourke's shop
and scream “F(&* You, Mrs. O'Rourke!”
And so it
would go until calm was restored at the end of the Marching Season and the storied
politeness of the British Isles reasserted itself.
Why the bout
of madness, and why was it bookended so neatly? Well, madness if left unchecked
threatens to ruin us all, while a little predictable contained lunacy is
precisely what those of us with a wild streak in our souls need.
the Marching Season, which is nearly upon us, act as an excellent analogue for
what is taking place in Ukraine. The Orcs are on the march, and they are hated
by Ukrainians who are Russian speaking…sometimes exclusively so, as is much of
the East, around Kharkiv, and even as far west as Kyiv. Why an army would
invade the country of a related people who speak their language can be
unfathomable to outsiders. And yet it goes on, and will continue to, until it
is over, a date that is equally unfathomable, even to the invaders. The
Russian conscripts are having a hard time, the generals are dying – an unusual
event, as generals are generally behind the firing line, not anywhere near it –
and second and third lines are being called up. Conscripts are not reporting,
and it seems as if the entire edifice is beginning to creak.
Let us just hope it creaks loudly enough to hear ‘round the world.
The writer is a former military man, now researching and writing about the Ukrainian Conflict. Questions can be sent directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to the discussion.