While I sit in my warm, comfortable home awaiting tomorrow's Oscar presentation, I see images on the national news of people in the Ukraine awaiting freedom and independence. That's quite a contrast, huh? Rationally, I know I have nothing to do with that part of the world and know even less about it but news programs bring so much information into our American homes that it can make one think about how we might feel in those circumstances.
History tells us that though separated from the rest of the country, Crimea is the peninsula former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gave to his native land in 1954. But when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, Crimea ended up in independent Ukraine. Current news report that Crimea now wants to be with Russia.
From the news, the Ukraine is just trying to be free and independent. As an American, I'm supposed to know all about that and encourage it all over the world. Images on my television show "boots on the ground" in Crimea strategically "unidentifiable." Apparently, it is a pro-Russian population awaiting Putin to take over this peninsula. 60% of the 2 million there consider themselves Russian.
The Ukraine, by contrast, appears to want to rule themselves and get on with life after ousting their former leader.
My news programs say that Putin wants Crimea and the Ukraine.
A line from the classic song 'Me and Bobbie McGhee says, "Freedom's just another word for 'nothin' left to lose.'" Watching the situation in the Ukraine play out makes me think as an American, "freedom's just another word...we take for granted."
I have never had two countries battling for the ground on which I walk. While I have sent plenty of my relatives to various branches of the armed services to fight for the rights of people in other countries, there has never been any soldiers in my neighborhood--unless in a "Welcome Home" parade. So when I see the citizens of that part of the world marching, carrying banners and at times with bloody faces it makes me grateful for where I live and embarrassed that I take the freedom it provides me for granted.
My news says that Russia's Putin has claimed Crimea and is looking to invade the Ukraine. He had a reported 90 minute telephone conversation with my president in which Mr. Obama strongly advised Putin against an invasion. This made me think, 'what must it be like to be discussed as a possession'--for lack of a better word. It made me wonder about the millions of people who will belong to this or that country or government solely at the discretion of a single world leader. No matter how viciously our American Republicans, Democrats, Independents, etc., fight amongst themselves claiming we "need to take our country back," we'll never have anything as remotely intense as the situation in the Ukraine.
I wrote this post as a "shout out" to those who are listed as from Russia and the Ukraine in the 'audience' category on my blog. We see you.