Aside from a toxic environment I grew up accustomed to and overall black sheep status I was blessed with (sarcasm) growing up in my family was no easy feat, despite all that there are a few things I am thankful for, one is, being encouraged to focus on one language, the one that was historically there, the one I was born with, two, staying away from cult like religions that coincidentally were imported from US and three, to learn the true history of my land regardless of bloody it was.
For context, being born in the former soviet space the heavy soviet influence never truly ended and while some nations that came face to face with far right politics that include nazism, fascism and communism have successfully reinvented themselves, the newly formed post soviet nations weren’t that fortunate, the soviet union ceased to exist on paper only, there were still enough voices left that felt outraged enough to keep it alive leading us to where we are today.
Thirty years later and many of these nations have found themselves frozen in time, none of them have been successful in defending their identity, their culture, their art, many have felt a collar tightening around their neck to the point of suffocation and it feels we are witnessing the all out assault, take no prisoners kind of environment that seems to loom over Ukraine for starters with many presumed to follow. When some are warning that this is only the beginning they are not exaggerating, the sovereignty of the entire baltic and eastern european space as a whole is under threat.
In brief conversations with my parents, it feels the responsibility to dispel conspiracy theories and outright lies to a nation whose eyes are being held open against their collective will lies with me. No, the Unites States did not start or encourage an armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine, two nations that once upon a time used to be incredibly close. It is blood boiling to accuse anyone else but the aggressor for the atrocities committed against a peaceful nation.
Since wars used to be fought differently many fall short in acknowledging this conflict as one, the common denominator in this conflict seems to think it is up against the entire world for daring to impose crippling sanctions in their efforts to deter and bring them to a full stop in their goal to overtake the entire eastern european space and position itself as de facto leader of the not so free world. For those naively thinking it is not possible lets look back at how close european nations came to to speaking german.
The larger point I’ve been trying to make, despite the long way of getting here, my peers and I, grew up with our language, traditions and culture butchered and massacred, what made us stand out and feel pride in what we do best was taken from us, it was stolen and destroyed, that grim and grey way of life was all we’ve ever known, things that most european nations take for granted are completely foreign to us, for most of us we were taught we did not belong, our personalities did not fit and our resilience clashed with their imperialistic goals of taking over land that does not belong to them, generally speaking there is very little appreciation for human life, in the former soviet space it is non existent, for an empath, there is nothing worse than seeing death that could have been/could be prevented.
Most of time it is hard to imagine that places where people are prospering, benefiting from what life has to offer, starting families, going on vacations, having a purpose and being appreciated for a job well done that not only sustains them but also gives them a sense of belonging and a sense of dignity and the places that make you feel you have a target on your back, wondering where your next meal is gonna come from, which language and with whom you’d feel safe to talk to, it’s hard to imagine these place exist on the same planet. The times when these worlds could live separately from each other are now gone.
From this point forward it can’t be business as usual, money talked this whole time, it’s time our voices are heard instead. The eastern european legacy of tearing countries apart and destroying millions of lives for decades to come can’t be legacy of newer generations, I can’t fathom the thought of young ones growing up seeing their parents frustrated to no end constantly struggling wanting to provide their loved ones with a better future. Hopefully this message will resonate not only with eastern europeans but anyone who has known the struggle. This is a turning point in time, this moment right here is what separate the before and after. We can’t go back to fix what we broke but we can better and save some lives, not all of them but some.