By Dr. E. Faye Williams | Trice Edney Wire
OPINION (TriceEdneyWire.com) – Before going to bed on 2/22/22, we knew that Ukraine and its citizens had been brutally attacked. In our hearts, we also knew that this was only the beginning of their terror. Although most of us initially wanted to deny the possibility of Vladimir Putin’s threats against an innocent nation, reality dictates that we acknowledge the hard, cold facts of the brutality of a pragmatic, authoritarian kleptocrat.
It is clear that inhumanity is a constant in the human condition. The actors may be different and their methods unique, but the plot of inhumanity remains uncomfortably common. Although violent loss of life is always disturbing, it is no worse than the psychological destruction and murder of self-esteem consistent with never-ending discrimination.
Russians viciously attack hospitals, schools, businesses, homes, and every other vestige of Ukrainian infrastructure — all that is near and dear to them. I tremble at the news that innocent children and their mothers live fearfully in the relative safety of underground subway stations. They ‘exist’ with the uncertainty of their futures and lacking the knowledge of what is happening with family members and friends who fight outside to protect them.
As horrible as these circumstances are, they are no more destructive than living with the fear of being shot for merely driving, walking or jogging, like Ahmaud Arbery. They are no more disheartening than being denied the opportunity to self-identify as gay, queer, or straight as one’s inner consciousness dictates. They are no more threatening than burning books to erase personal and/or group histories and ideas from records of human endeavor. And they are most certainly no more damaging than listening to Tucker Carlson swoon over or having a former president brag about the savvy of Vladimir Putin.
The world’s current upheaval poses many challenges for us all, especially those prone to prejudice and thoughtless evaluation of others. What are we willing to do to help those who survive this horror? If a Ukrainian family manages to survive, what are you willing to do to help them? Would you send money? Would you be willing to help them move to another country–including ours? Would you be willing to provide a place for them to live while they recover? Would you offer any form of encouragement? Yes, we must pray for the people of Ukraine, but those who survive will need more than prayer. Sadly, if present behavior foreshadows future conduct, our treatment of Afghan refugees gives reason for serious introspection and reflection.
Years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” If you are serious about combating the animosity and hatred engendered by Putin’s war, you must be equally committed to fighting the racial and cultural animus that lives in the DNA of our nation. If you love peace and justice and find this cruel Russian invasion antithetical to everything you believe, you must commit to fighting the injustice of Putin’s war AND the injustice that lives on the highways and byways of this nation.
Putin’s ruthlessness remains a threat to the peace and security of the world. If it happens in Ukraine, it can happen anywhere else that such ruthlessness is allowed to thrive. Trump, Pompeo, Bannon, and others of that ilk praise Putin’s thuggery while criticizing the honest efforts of President Joe Biden to salvage Democracy from those who would cast it aside for personal gain and profit. Their threat to peace and security is as great as Putin’s.
Given these facts, if we require guidance to plot a proper course of action, we are as lost as Putin.
(H.E. Ambassador Rev. Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq. is Co-National President of the National Congress of Black Women; United Nations Peace Ambassador, President of the Dick Gregory Society and Host of “Wake Up Stay Woke” on WPFW-FM 89.3 radio.)