Ukraine is Not That Far Away - New York News

From Jeff Michael

Ukraine is Not That Far Away

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I want to share something with you. I have thought about writing about the conflict in Ukraine; about the political struggle and the Putin link. But then I got a note from a friend— a Ukrainian-American (there's a hyphenate you don't see every day). It reminded me that struggles for civil rights, self-determination, a voice… are universally human.

We often tune out international news because we don't speak the language or we don't recognize the scenery or… worst of all… because we are citizens of the United States; a country that still, somehow, hasn't felt the Capernican Shock. I hope after reading this text message sent to me, you will look at what's happening in Ukraine and realize not only how lucky we are but how similar we are to millions of others around the world:

What amazes me about my people is their unconditional altruism, perhaps pointless at a glance; Throwing yourself out there, amongst the bullets.

I read that it's one of the traits developed through evolution - sacrificing yourself for your tribe gives you the same dopamine rush as sex and food. So they all are high out there, on adrenaline and dopamine and emotions.

They have been trying so hard to get Europe's attention and the US's attention and finally they said, fine, we'll do it ourselves with sticks and stones. Reading their posts and talking to them makes me high. It's contagious, this illogical romanticism of creating a change, a revolution. They write poetry. They write articles, all emotion filled, no plans, no structure, just pure hopes; So much to say.

There is no looting.

Small businesses and restaurants feed them for free. People bring all they have; clothes, money. It's such an irrational anti-materialistic atmosphere-- a utopian society almost. I have never seen my nation this way. Matter of fact, I moved here because I thought people were bad, cruel. But I guess the cruel and greedy ones had been setting the tone back then. Now the good ones do.

I am so proud of my friends. And for the first time ever, I am proud of my country after being ashamed for so many years. It gives me chills. I cry almost every day. Never thought I had it in me-- the attachment to the land that I gladly abandoned. I feel it more than ever.

 

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