McKibben Jackinsky, journalist and author from Ninilchk, Alaska, is the sixth generation descended from Russians who came to Alaska. She kindly contributed her opinion to RUSUK as an American.
Why do you think it happened?
Reasons abound for why Putin has made this move in Ukraine. I’ve heard arguments condemning the United States and NATO for actions taken or not taken. I’ve heard arguments why Putin feels entitled to his actions. And I’ve heard arguments blaming Ukraine for mistakes made. We could discuss those forever, everyone backing into their own corners and hurling fault on everyone else. But the bottom line, without argument, is that Putin’s decision – for whatever reason! – are having horrific, torturous, fear-creating, murderous results for innumerable people, both in his country, in Ukraine, in the world. Distill political reasons, financial costs and benefits of war, a desire to protect resources, patriotism, and a bully mentality, it’s about greed. An I-want-what-you-have view that empowers one person to go so far as to steal, maim, kill others.
How do you feel about it?
Horrified. Broken-hearted. Reminded of the depths we, as humans, sink to in order to “better” ourselves. Aware of the inhumanity we are capable of. Sickened by the destruction we mindlessly cause, no matter that others’ futures are being irrevocably changed, their lives destroyed. I am thankful that, technology being what it is, I see what’s happening in other places in the world and I am informed of ways I might be able to help. Saddened that we are seeing once again war played out in front of our eyes, thanks to modern technology and reporters who risk their lives to inform us of what’s happening, and wondering when will we will fix our attention on the value of others, not for what they have and I can take, but just because they are. Period.
Do we have peace only when we’re bigger, stronger, meaner, more ruthless and fearsome than our neighbour? Shame on us if that’s the best we can do. I am encouraged by the welcome other countries have given to the millions of refugees who have left their homeland. May we continue to provide support and help them restart their lives. But it jarringly reminds me that my own selfishness, my lack of kindness, no matter the size, is no different. It all grows from the seed of greed. And it reminds me of the importance of standing up for others, of putting fear aside, of living with kindness.
How do you think this will end?
Will the costs of war eventually shake Putin and Ukraine into finding some kind of workable compromise? Will the costs become so high that the rest of the world does more than wave yellow and blue flags and wish Ukraine well? Or does Putin take Ukraine today and then move on to other countries tomorrow? And if he takes this aggressiveness further, how will the world then respond? I don’t know. It’s discouraging to think that voters of this country elected a president (Trump) that was a bully and had support of half this country. But I take heart in advice from the late Fred Rogers, better known as Mister Rogers, an American television host, author, producer and minister: “When I was a boy, and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, look for the helpers. You will always find people helping.” And I put my faith in this reminder from my faith tradition: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”