FIGHTING FOR UKRAINE
Well, well, well, if it isn’t me. Happy Friday, everyone! And most importantly, Happy Small Lights Friday! It’s been a while; I’ve dusted off my cobwebs and I am coming out the gate swinging today.
As some of you may have already noticed, the world is a little bit upside down right now. It’s painful to watch what is happening in Ukraine, almost a world away, unable to help. And it’s difficult to be a Small Light when you might feel like you aren’t making a real difference in the darkness.
However, we don’t have to be helpless. There are steps we can take, even from across the ocean. Let’s talk about the unmatched bravery of Ukrainians and how we can support them in their fight.
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?
I’m not going to sit here and attempt to explain the geopolitics of all of this. For one thing, I’m nowhere close to an expert, but beyond even that, any attempt to thoroughly go through the history of Russian aggression against Ukraine would keep us here all night.
Ukraine has been under the threat of Russia for years now, with the annexation of Crimea happening way back in 2014. Putin’s main goal is to recover all of the countries that were once part of the Soviet Union, willingly or not. Ukraine is a developed nation with a budding democracy, and Putin is trying to squash it. How foolish of him to assume Ukraine is anything like a bug.
THE STRENGTH OF UKRAINE
Ukrainians have been reportedly making their own molotov cocktails, with guidance from their government, no less. Vitaly Skakun Volodymyrovych, a Ukrainian soldier, blew up a bridge and sacrificed his own life in order to halt the advancement of Russian troops. It appears as though every single able-bodied Ukranian is prepared to fight until the very end. In a completely unexpected feat, they have managed to maintain control of their capital city, Kyiv, for three weeks now. There’s no question the people of Ukraine are of a different caliber. A higher caliber. No one embodies this better than their president.
We do our best to be Small Lights, but there is one specific person on this planet right now that is demonstrating leadership and bravery that proves him a full beacon. President Zelenskyy, comedian-turned-President, first piqued my interest during Trump’s* first impeachment trial in 2019. I’m embarrassed to admit, when I first learned about Zelenskyy, I actually felt bad for him. I thought to myself, this poor guy is in too deep with our bully of a president! I have never been so happy to have misjudged someone’s character.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been and continues to be an absolute pillar, not just for his country, but for the entire world. He has shown the world what it truly means to be a real leader and, in doing so, has somehow managed to bridge the toxic gap that’s been widening within our own country’s borders. I’m hesitant to recognize any silver lining in such a devastating, traumatic turn of events, but I do think it’s better for our mental health if we give it our best shot.
SO, HOW CAN WE HELP?
There are certainly organizations you can donate to that are aiding Ukraine in this conflict. Of course, we need to be careful here. There are some less scrupulous people out there who may want to take advantage of our bleeding hearts. Thankfully, the Ukraine subreddit has some legitimate organizations you can trust. The site does a good job advising what each charity’s specific goal is. I tried to take it one step further and pull up their scores on Charitynavigator.org so we could check out their overhead, but because they’re not based out of the US, the database did not bring anything up.
Considering I cannot translate pages upon pages of financial information, I decided to donate directly to the Ukrainian army. I know exactly where my money is going – right to the armed forces! If you’re not comfortable donating to an organization with no rating or available financials, UNICEF and Amnesty International both have campaigns in support of Ukraine. You can even check out my past article about donating smart.
KEEP THE FAITH
What I’ve come to learn these past few weeks as we watch this madness unfold is that morale is everything in war. What we are seeing in Ukraine right now is nothing short of miraculous, a true David and Goliath. We must stay positive. We cannot have a defeatist attitude about this. Putin will not win. For everything he’s done these few short weeks, from claiming Ukrainians are Nazis to bombing maternity wards, the Ukrainian people have stood tall and strong. If they can be strong, we need to be strong with them.