There is an “I” in Ukraine

The unthinkable is happening in Europe. The corrupt and despotic Russian regime is waging an all-out war on its peaceful neighbor that has dared to cross Putin’s red line – i.e. decided to walk the path of democracy and self-determination. Our democratic world is “deeply concerned” and “stands strong in symbolic support”. Social networks and public proclamations are full of hearts & minds & prayers for Ukraine, full of denouncing the aggressor. Nice but shamefully not enough. Frankly, the action that we have taken so far is close to a farce. Time for words is over, time for action of every single I is now.

1. To my friends and colleagues in civilized democratic world

We need to stop asking “What can be done to help?”, “What will EU, NATO, Biden, Germany…do?”. Instead we need to introspect and ask “What am I going to do?”. I am providing our family estate to accommodate refugee families whose fathers and brothers are fighting on the front-line (contact me if you know fleeing families in need). I am pushing my government to support the most most aggressive and painful angle towards Kremlin. I am sending relief money to support the Ukraine cause via Člověk v tísni. I am writing this article in hope the I-attitude would go exponential. What are you going to do?

2. To brave Ukrainian people defending their families, homes and lives

You have my admiration and my gratitude. You are standing proud, you are fighting my battle and I will do everything I can to help you my end.

3. To invading Russian soldiers

You are lied to and abused. You know all too well you are not attacking Nazis and you are not freeing enslaved people from oppressors. I understand you are under oath and command. Still, you are free human beings accountable for your actions. Although in the wrong, please be heroes by staying human. Please bear that in mind next time you are loading a mortar shell, next time you are about to fire a rocket next to a kindergarten, next time you are about to shoot a man, probably a father who stands his ground to protect his family’s freedom and lives.

4. Lastly but most importantly, to all free-thinking Russians

I know this is not your war. I have received word from a lot of my Russian friends and I am happy to say you all stand united on a single position - you are ashamed and furious. The corrupt and aggressive regime that has been suffocating your nation for many years is holding you hostage in this senseless bloodshed. But as everywhere else in the world, change that is to stay needs to come from within, not without. Now is your big chance to make impact that lasts for generations. As we did more than 30 years ago in Czechoslovakia, now is your chance to stand up and ask: "Who, if not us?! When, if not now?!"

This article has been originally posted on author’s LinkedIn.

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