The Russian army war against Ukraine has been running for 250 days. (31 October 2022). What is our response?
Dangers of a Passive Response to the war in Ukraine.
The adoption of a so-called spiritual approach to war, terror, great suffering or unresolved issues of our time often means a passive response. This includes the current war in Ukraine.
- “There is nothing you can do.”
- “We can only spread some loving kindness.” “
- There is no answer to these big issues.”
- “It is hard enough to be at peace with myself.”
- “It’s best not to get involved in politics.”
Those who posit such responses obviously regard their view as the truth of the matter. It is not. Such a view lacks empowerment, an active commitment to change. Identification with a passive view prevents taking fearless steps to engage in the task of transforming the most formidable situation.
Questions for Reflection for those who say WE SUPPORT UKRAINE
These are not rhetorical questions but require personal reflection, a public conversation, an inter-active discourse in all countries of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation). Bear with the questions. Your reflections might trigger a fresh response rather than the habit of the same view or no view.
I take the view to work for the resolution of suffering. That means working outside the desire of those in and outside of the war zone to kill, harm and terrify as many as possible of the enemy to claim victory and defeat for the other side.
Do you support the war in Ukraine until it reaches an end or not?
Do you support compassionate organisations in Ukraine to relieve suffering?
Do you support admission of refugees into your country?
What steps have you taken to bring the war in Ukraine into public conversation?
The Rhetoric of WE SUPPORT UKRAINE
Twelve questions for reflection
1. Has WE SUPPORT UKRAINE become unexamined rhetoric, persuasive but lacking meaningful content in NATO countries with endless reference to the dangers of Putin.
2. Is there any evidence that WE SUPPORT UKRAINE in NATO countries has made Putin change his mind or has he hardened his view and threats?
3. Is the NATO campaign against Putin only feeding his ego and lust for attention and power?
4. Is WE SUPPORT UKRAINE feeding into Russian patriotism and the painful history of Russia through European invasion, such as Napolean and Hitler.
5. Is WE SUPPORT UKRAINE indirectly enabling a slow descent into a European war, a nuclear war or Russia’s withdrawal of oil and gas supplies to create a long, cold, hard winter for NATO countries in Europe.
6. Is WE SUPPORT UKRAINE encouraging the expansionist policies of NATO?
7. Is WE SUPPORT UKRAINE encouraging the expansionist policies of the Russian government to protect themselves from NATO?
8. Is WE SUPPORT UKRAINE only providing a positive feeling for usings the logo, which masks urgent questions?
9. Is WE SUPPORT UKRAINE feeding into the ideological battle of NATO and Russia and its allies?
10. Do those who take side extend the war by failing to criticise both sides?
11. Has the Ukrainian government adopted a pro-NATO-anti-Russian standpoint for years?
12. Do we need a campaign which states WE SUPPORT RESOLUTION?
Those who use the logo may rightfully say they do not support NATO. Does Russia see it that way? Does it appear to Russians everybody in the West supports NATO policies? Far too many turn their back on the war hoping this European nightmare will go away or get resolved?
The Buddha stated four primary causes for violence/war
The Buddha stated four primary causes for violence/war – desire, blame, fear and ignorance. NATO and Russian government beliefs reveal all four conditions. We need a campaign in NATO countries to negotiate a resolution to the war in Ukraine inflicting suffering on the Ukrainian people and the Russian army.
There is no room for totem badge-wearing in the name of empathy and the feel-good factor. Instead, we need an active commitment to resolve suffering. NATO also has a lot to answer in involvement in conflict and wars. Ask the Arab world.
In the last three decades, the Arab world has suffered a million deaths, millions of maimed/ traumatised lives and millions more becoming refugees through widespread destruction of cities and towns from invasions. NATO allies and partner countries had military troops deployed in Afghanistan for nearly 20 years. A NATO coalition bombed Libya. NATO led operation engaged in training Iraqi troops and its army headquarters after the destruction of Iraq. Four members of NATO supplied combat forces directly participating in the invasion of Iraq – United States, United Kingdom, Denmark and Poland. There was no NATO coalition against Iraq as some member countries refused to get involved.
Let us trust in our capacity to be agents of change, so that we no longer submit to the views and the dictates of powerful international organisations and nation states.
The Buddha spoke of the “unintended consequences” of our actions. What are the unintended consequences of supporting and identifying with the views of the West’s approach to the war?
EXPANSION OF NATO COUNTRIES
At present, NATO has 30 nation states as Members. Ukraine officially applied to join NATO in September 2021.
In 1949, there were 12 founding members of the Alliance: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The other member countries are Greece and Türkiye (1952), Germany (1955), Spain (1982), Czechia, Hungary and Poland (1999), Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia (2004), Albania and Croatia (2009), Montenegro (2017) and North Macedonia (2020).
We need to think outside the box of a NATO conditioned mindset.
We need critiques of NATO policy as well as the policy of the Russian government
Academics/investigative journalists/essayists can engage in research to uncover the workings of the NATO apparatus.
We will benefit from thoughtful critiques of both sides and critiques of the involvement of the arms industry. Foreign policies, which can help resolve this war, include intense diplomacy, sanctions, aid, protests, the arts and appeals to the public.
What can you do to support the people in Ukraine and refugees, mostly in neighbouring countries.
We need to reflect on the war in Ukraine. It is easy to draw conclusions that the Western nations are the good guys and the Russians are the bad guys. This stereotype obstructs the underlying causes and conditions of current/historical tensions between the powerful. Sadly, the people of Ukraine find themselves wedged on both sides and suffer terrible consequences due to the invasion of the Russian army. Russian soldiers die in their thousands. This brings immense suffering for Ukrainian and Russian families alike.
Maximising efforts means to work to a resolution as an alternative to the war going on and on until one side or the other wins, gives up or surrenders. By that time, much of Ukraine will be reduced to rubble in many areas with all suffering that goes with it.
Despite the conflict of the superpowers, we must keep our hearts/minds open to supporting the citizens of Ukraine and the refugees, who have had to flee their homeland. Food, clothing, accommodation, medicine, healing from trauma, loss of loved ones, the missing, grief and more can only come about through endless acts of kindness and compassion, along with the courage of men and women working for such ends in an intense war zone. All depend upon our support.
Situation of Ukrainian Refugees who have fled to other countries
Before the invasion, 43 million people lived in Ukraine. The number has dropped to around 36 million due to a reported seven million who have fled their homeland and seek refugee status. There may be around five million displaced refugees within Ukraine. This is another humanitarian crisis. Below are reported figures from July 2022.
Russia says 1.3 million have entered Russia.
Poland has accepted 1.4 million refugees.
Germany has accepted one million refugees.
Czech Republic has accepted 400,000.
France: 100,000 refugees.
Australia: 4400. From 31 July 2022, people who fled Ukraine to come to Australia are no longer able to apply for the Temporary Humanitarian Concern visa.
USA allowed 1610 Ukrainian refugees.
Compassion for Ukrainian refugees does not appear to be a priority among certain rich nations. These government insists: WE SUPPORT UKRAINE. Does your government support Ukraine? Ask your elected representatives if your government walks the talk.
A List of Organisation supporting people in Ukraine and Ukrainian Refugees
Below is a list of organisations providing humanitarian, medical aid and more to Ukrainians. You can see the compassionate work of organisations on their websites. Send donations to help feed families in Ukraine, repair schools, hospitals, provide food, packages, emergency shelters, safe water and more.
Yu could volunteer to support these agencies, engage in fundraising, and contact your Member of Parliament to raise her or his voice on practical solutions to end this war as soon as possible.
All these agencies and organisations have huge outgoing costs to cover a wide range of expenses. Many rely heavily on individual donations and those who fund raise in a variety of ways.
Fifteen Organisations dedicated to the relief of suffering in Ukraine
In Alphabetical Order
2. Direct Relief
3. Doctors without Borders
4. GlobalGiving Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund
5. International Rescue Committe
6. Medical Teams Internatioanl
7. NOVA Ukraine
8. OS Children’s Villages
9. People in Need
10. Red Cross Ukraine Emergency Fund
11. Save the Children
12. Ukrainian Red Cross
13. UNHCR (UN refugee agency)
15. VOSTOK SOS
Let us stay true to the values of action committed to end of suffering and reconciliation.
Let us make sure our concerns, spoken and written, are heard.
I find the lack of any mention of Ukrainians in your questions to be a bit odd, if not an outright acceptance of the Kremlin narrative that Ukrainians have no right to their own sovereignty or agency. Not supporting Ukraine will likely cause tens of thousands more civilian deaths (look at the mass graves always found in areas freed from Russian occupation) and millions of refugees.
Taking a firm stance that Europe won’t stand for wars of aggression, revanchist demands and genocide along its borders provides security and safety for millions of people and made the chance of war within Europe close to zero for the first time ever. Thus it’s not such an easy question. Ceding to Russian demands and de fact consigning millions of Ukrainians to be killed, raped and enslaved is only likely to incite more violence and wars around the world. Of course, from a Buddhist perspective suppling weapons to Ukraine isn’t an easy choice either.
There are other ways to support Ukraine and Ukrainians. There are tons of charities dealing the humanitarian catastrophe brought on by this war, and the refugee crisis in Europe is only likely to grow.
My bias is in this is that I’ve lived much of my life in Ukraine, my wife is Ukrainian and my grandparents left their homes as refugees fleeing Russian occupation and certain death.
Thank you for your thoughtful response. I have added a section with direct reference to Ukraine.
I never heard Zelensky ask for food or medicines. Just bombs, guns, weapons, missiles, money, mines and so on