The Crisis in Ukraine
Human Rights News
WORDS BY FAITH LEMASTERS
In what seems to have been an instant, Russia has begun an attack on Ukraine with a threat to move into surrounding countries. This attack has absolutely nothing to do with the citizens of either country. Citizens on both sides want health, peace, and safety for themselves and their loved ones. They want representatives who seek to protect their best interests rather than political leaders on a power trip who seek to further their own interests above the public good.
In what is nothing more or less than a political power move, the voices of the people are being silenced. It is a human rights crisis. Innocent lives are being lost on both sides. Ukrainian citizens are seeking shelter and sending their children to go stay with loved ones who live abroad. Russian citizens are protesting their government’s actions outside of capitol buildings and throughout major metropolitan cities.
When a crisis like this occurs, it is our responsibility to use our voices to speak out against what is happening. It is our responsibility to uplift the voices of those who are suffering. It is our responsibility to help out in any small way that we can. Trying to fathom the pain and fear that Ukrainian citizens are currently experiencing at the hands of a corrupt and power-hungry government opposition is nearly impossible as an outsider, but it has to be the driving force behind speaking up and participating in activism. We cannot let our own experiences and worldviews, especially in countries that are nowhere near the conflict, dictate the amount of compassion we share with humankind. Our compassion and desire to help others must be stronger.
While it may seem like this event is a localized human rights crisis that has no effect on the outside world, that couldn’t be further from the truth. When people are suffering, when there is senseless violence, when hatred and greed are the driving forces behind government decisions – it negatively impacts us all. From a human rights perspective, a dangerous precedent is set whenever anyone’s basic human rights are violated. From a cultural perspective, important landmarks, literature, and significant meeting places are destroyed. From an economic perspective, entire industries are shut down and people are left without income and have no means to provide for themselves or their families. This all creates a ripple effect that has global-scale ramifications.
Through everything, one sentiment holds true: we must use our voices and work together to protect the rights of our fellow humans and strive for peace in the future. How do we do this? I don’t think there’s one straightforward answer. I don’t think there’s an easy solution that will instantly bring peace and healing. What I do know is that, in our own small ways, we can each contribute to the safety and healing of those who are at risk from this devastating and unjust attack.
There are plenty of organizations you can donate to in order to assist financially, and there are a plethora of informational resources available to educate yourself about what’s currently happening. If you would like to further educate yourself and hear directly from Ukrainian voices, Kyiv Independent is a great place to start. This is a publication based Kyiv, Ukraine that publishes articles in English. Another great resource is the International Rescue Committee’s website. They offer humanitarian aid to countries in need and even have a fact sheet to explain how the crisis began, what it means, and how to get involved and be part of the solution. If you would like to donate the IRC’s efforts, there’s an easy-to-access donation form as well. As the world continues to watch events unfold over the next days, let’s also pause to remember the kindness that has been shown. Citizens in the country of Georgia have opened their homes to host refugees. Neighboring countries have found housing and provided public transport for Ukrainian citizens. This is proof that at humanity’s core, we care for one another above all else. Above politics. Above borders. Helping our neighbors both near and far during a crisis like this is perhaps the loudest protest of all; it is a reminder that despite the worst efforts of corrupt leaders, humanity, love, and kindness will never be silenced.
Before the age of 10, Bethanie was already developing as an artist with writing classes, illustration, dance, theatre and piano. Later, clients from fashion, real estate and corporate sectors rounded her creative, technical and social media writing skills. Naturally, her artistic interests transposed onto film and production. Today, Bethanie hosts and produces interviews with international lifestyle brands and contributes to SNEZNY travel magazine.