I was speaking the other day to a pacifist I have known for decades. I was in the midst of making a point I have been trying to get across these last three weeks. Every day that the Ukrainians resist, I was saying, is a day that we have been given to consider our own values.... The pacifist interrupts: "it is also a day we have been given to get arms across the Polish border into Ukraine. Every single one of those Russian tanks has to be stopped."
Conversations like that one have persuaded me to devote a newsletter to the Ukrainian armed forces. The U.S. government will act in response to the appeal Volodymyr Zelens'kyi made in Congress. You can act faster.
In publishing these links to these organizations, I am thinking about war, but also about peace. In my mind's eye I see a wedding I attended in Ukraine with my family. I find photographs: my son, in front of a church, in his Ukrainian embroidered shirt. Like my son's, my embroidered shirt is in the traditional Ukrainian colors of red and black: "любов і смерть," as the lady who made it told me, stroking the colored threads with a forefinger, love and death. They brush together.
As I look at the wedding photos, I know where some of the young men are now: army, territorial defense, government... They have volunteered to defend their country.
My kids ask me what these Ukrainian friends are doing, and I tell them. In a better world, one without this idiotic, criminal invasion, these young Ukrainians would be researching, teaching, working in their businesses, spending time with their families.
I would rather imagine them at peace. But I don't have trouble imagining them at war. It's their country, it's been invaded. They know that Putin aims to destroy Ukraine as a state and nation, which means killing people, such as themselves, who care about it. They are supported by a creative and devoted civil society.
I understand this. And I want them to return healthy to the people who love them.
An new initiative, Unite with Ukraine, makes it very easy for people in North America to donate medical supplies, fuel, night-vision goggles, vests, and communications systems to the people serving in the army and territorial defense. This is via the Ukrainian World Congress. If you are in the armed forces in Ukraine and want to request such material, that link is here.
Army SOS, also in Ukraine, includes medical gear and other things soldiers need. You can donate via PayPal under firstname.lastname@example.org, or by bank transfer in dollars to: Charity fund ARMY SOS; IBAN Code UA203052990000026003016809842; SWIFT PBANUA2XXXX; Name of bank: JSC CB "PRIVATBANK.
You can also contribute to the Ukrainian armed forces using a credit card.