The Russian invasion of Ukraine is the largest of its kind in Europe since World War II. It is an unprovoked war of choice, like the invasion of Iraq by the US nearly twenty years ago. This war will cause untold death and calamity to people and environments in the region. While the world is absorbed responding to Putin's aggression, the urgent crises of climate change, famine and economic injustice will not get the attention they desperately need. The movement toward toward authoritarianism is strengthened. Misinformation and propaganda run rampant. What is the mindful response?
We cannot avoid considering the suffering of those being harmed by this war. To refuse to see because it disturbs our peace is inhumane. To listen is to suffer with the understanding of how little we can do to counter the evil of war.
We cannot blame what is happening entirely on any one individual, party or country. The events that led up to this invasion have complex roots. But they also arise out of Putin's lust for power and his greed. History isn't kind to those who perpetrate wars of aggression to acquire and dominate sovereign territory. History remembers those who rode Panzers into Poland on September 1, 1939 and those landed on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944 differently. And history will not be kind to the Russian soldiers who are driving their tanks into Ukraine right now at the bidding of their murderous dictator.
Nonviolence is not the same as passivity. When we speak out, stand our ground, call out the aggressor and blocking his way we are "hungering and thirsting after justice." According to the words of Jesus, we "shall be satisfied." When one person's actions threaten the human rights and well-being of another person it is necessary to act to protect those being harmed. Acting under such circumstances can lead to unexpected consequences. We must be brave, vocal and informed. This is how we sustain a world fit for human survival.