Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy pleaded for more help from the U.S. Will we answer the call?

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.” ~Martin Niemöller

I listened to President Volodomyr Zelenskyy’s address to Congress this morning. The film he presented showed the carnage of the war with Russia. I was immediately taken back to images of 9/11, how frightening it was to have my beautiful city and my neighbors attacked.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
March 16, 2022 presentation to the U.S. Congress

President Zelenskyy explained that his people have endured a 9/11 every day for three weeks. Think about that. Imagine the constant bombing and bombardment. Think about all the trauma we still experience from 9/11. Imagine how Ukraine could be enduring all of this, still getting up, still fighting, never once thinking about surrender. Would you have that courage? Would I?

Ukrainians is not just fighting for their country. They are fighting for the future of all people everywhere. If Russia rolls through Ukraine, they will not stop there. Putin will be empowered to expand his influence and his reign. Then what will we do? What move will Russia have to make for us to say enough is enough? That is a question we have to answer. The stakes are astronomical. Russia is a nuclear power. We are a nuclear power. Humanity hangs in the balance. Putin will not flinch. He has shown us that. Will we?

If this tips into a full-blown war with multiple countries engaged in combat, ordinary citizens will have to participate in a myriad of ways as we did in WWI and WWII. There will be rationing and massive commerce adjustments. There will be travel restrictions. Our daily lives will be upended. We have no idea what that world order will look like if we actively engage in this war. But what will it look like if we don’t? We are being asked to prepare for something that we don’t know how to prepare for because we have never been through it. Do we believe in freedom as much as we say we do?

I think of my ancestors, my grandparents and great grandparents, who stood up for justice, who could not and would not turn away from suffering, who cared for people halfway across the world who they would never meet as much as they cared about themselves and their loved ones. We are being asked to answer that same call now, for the sake of our collective future.

I am here today because of the strength and bravery of my ancestors. To honor them and the sacrifices they made, I am prepared to sacrifice now, for Ukraine and for freedom. And I don’t know exactly what that means yet, but I do know that freedom is my most coveted principle. If I was being attacked, I would want help, and so I must help others calling on me.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Christa Avampato

Award-winning author & writer—Product Dev — Biomimicry scientist — Podcaster. Runs on curiosity & joy. twitter.com/christanyc / instagram.com/christarosenyc