Opinion: The war in Ukraine is still a top priority

Published: 6/22/2022 6:02:37 AM
Modified: 6/22/2022 6:00:14 AM

Russell Perkins of Concord maintains the Sunflower of Ukraine Facebook group and is active with the charity DOBRO.

I recently participated in the Londonderry Ukrainian Cultural Fair, which was organized by the NH-based charity DOBRO. Vendors sold clothing, jewelry, woodcrafts, food and other Ukrainian-themed items with 100% of the proceeds going to humanitarian aid in Ukraine.

I would say 80% of the people both visiting and presenting at the fair were Ukrainian speaking and many had close relatives still in Ukraine. I don’t know what percentage of New Hampshire residents are Ukrainian but it’s got to be way less than 80%. Where were all the non-Ukrainian New Hampshire residents???

I know a lot of things are demanding people’s attention right now. We’ve got inflation at 40-year highs, kids just out of high school buying AR-15s and killing other school kids by the dozens, details of a past president’s failed coup back on the front page, and, oh yeah, a plucky little European country fighting off an attempted takeover by the world’s most powerful, murderous, evil empire. Of all these things, the latter is the least recent breaking news and therefore is fading the fastest from the media’s and the population’s attention. One person even told me if something happened over 72 hours ago he didn’t care about it anymore.

While trying to be as polite as possible, and not alienate too many people, I still have to say, what the  - - - -  is wrong with people? Wake up! We are now in the midst of World War III!

According to a June 14 count from Wikipedia, 70 countries are involved in this war, having sent military or humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Many countries would be sending troops if they weren’t so afraid of Vladimir Putin and his nuclear arsenal. Well, Ukraine didn’t have a choice; it was to fight or become enslaved. This is not a military operation or a policing action, this is the real deal. In modern history, nothing can compare to this, with the exception of World War II.

Putin has likened himself to Peter the Great, the early 1700s warlord and empire builder. He has stolen 20% of Ukraine’s landmass. Daily, he is bombing schools, hospitals, churches, and apartment blocks. Tens of thousands of people have been killed on both sides. He has kidnapped at least 200,000 children and sent them to Russia to be indoctrinated. His documented war crimes in Bucha, Mariupol, and who knows where else make Adolph Hitler look like a boy scout.

And to our “72-hour” friend I would say, you can rest assured that both Ukrainian soldiers and civilians have been killed by Russian soldiers within the last hour.

You may have noticed that sending aid to Ukraine is the only thing Republicans and Democrats in Congress can agree on nowadays. They know that Vladimir Putin is a vicious thug who hates democracies and has spent his entire adult life trying to destroy them. Ukraine just happened to draw the short straw this time around.

Ukraine is fighting our war for us and they are just hanging on by a thread. All they ask from us is some artillery pieces and a few helicopters. Let’s not begrudge them that. A few months ago the average Ukrainian soldier, who stands a good chance of dying tomorrow, was sitting in the barracks watching TV. The average citizen, who now is starving in their bombed-out house or underground somewhere, had the same life you and I still have.

The media have demoted this war from front page headlines to a 60-second soundbite. It should still be the leading story and every American should be doing everything in their power to help stop Putin in his effort to wipe out an entire population and their culture.

When this war started, Americans rushed out to send money, clothes, food and medical help to Ukraine and places like Poland which were being inundated with refugees. A lot of people are still doing a lot of good but we need to take it up a notch. The longer this war persists, the greater the need.

Ukraine is supplying the wheat fields and sunflower fields as battlegrounds and they are supplying the brave and dying soldiers and volunteer fighters. We should be supplying everything we possibly can. While Washington sends weapons, there is much that ordinary citizens can do.

There are numerous places to donate money, labor or needed items. In addition to nationwide charities, in New Hampshire we have Ukrainian Orthodox churches and the registered charities DOBRO, NuDay, and the Loving Lifeline all helping Ukraine and all in need of our help. And there will be more cultural fairs.

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