I hate bullies.
In my life, my lowest moments have been when a bully put me down, while my proudest have been when I stood up to them. Bullies love exerting their power over others, looking to break their victims until they get their way. With that in mind, it’s easy to see that Vladimir Putin is a pathetic excuse for a human being, and that any person with morals wishes to stand up against him. But how?
I’m inspired to write this after reading about Yaroslav Hrytsiuk, an 18-year-old Ukrainian-Canadian man who returned to Lviv to join his father in fighting off the Russian invasion. A kid leaves his high school classroom, feeling compelled to do his part in doing what’s supposedly right. He’s not the first to do such a thing, and he won’t be the last. The brave souls who defended London from Nazi bombers were really just teenage boys. Many of the fearless Peshmerga warriors who defeated ISIS barely hit puberty. Time and time again, history will remember the youth who stepped up to sacrifice it all in the face of evil.
Many young people feel the need to prove themselves to be courageous, strong, righteous, or whatever other admirable adjective. The desire to prove yourself drives ambition – on a micro level, this is why kids chase elite academic programs, recruit for prestigious jobs, and spend hours toiling away. There’s an innate desire to achieve glory and embrace a stoic mentality on the way there. After 9/11, tens of thousands of young Americans joined the armed forces to serve their reeling nation. They enlisted to defend a country that was seemingly unsecure, emboldened by the idea that they were protecting their communities and loved ones. The concept of enlisting to serve is based on several core tenets: duty and sacrifice. We’re dutifully indebted to our forefathers who’ve toiled and sacrificed, so we in turn must sacrifice SOMETHING to provide for the next generation. Power brokers use their propaganda to bring these core tenets into their recruiting efforts.
“Come kill farmers in Afghanistan to avenge the twin towers in my Political Game!” – Honest USA Moment.
What’s happening in Ukraine will go down in history as a situation no different than Afghanistan. If a Canadian soldier dies in Ukraine, they didn’t die protecting their families. They died serving warmongers who failed to contain a Political Psychopath. I hope those who enlist to fight recognize that they’ll be just a tiny piece in a response against political injustice, and nothing else. Understand what your role is, serving as a pawn for some heartless powerful figure.
At the same time, we must understand the desire to help those who are fighting with their backs against the wall. Those who are unable to join the 1 million+ refugees leaving the country are the ones holding it down against the horde of invaders. Every bit of passion in my soul wants to fight alongside the righteous defender, who has no options but to hold their ground. That’s true spirit and grit. However, the circumstances still anger me beyond imagination. It’s always the commoner’s kids who end up being war heroes. Sure, you end up on right side of history when it’s all said and done. But is it right that the most important moment of a human’s life is the moment they spend sacrificing their life to defend against a bully? Your fighting spirit may be honourable and admirable, but at the end of the day it’s a waste of life.
For now, I wish glory to the heroes. The fighting spirit will conquer the invader, despite how unfair and unjust the system is. I hope Putin rots in hell and that the poor Russian conscripts are able to make it home and recognize that they’ve been manipulated and used by that pathetic coward. I hope our generation learns something here – citizens’ lives should never be expendable. I hope we live to see a world where mothers don’t bury their children after fighting over the previous generation’s failures. We can, and will, do better. Слава Україні!
What greater ambition can a human being have in life than bringing about a real, lasting, permanent peace?