[EDITOR’S NOTEThe following is a Letter to the Editor, written and submitted by verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of South King Media, nor its staff.]

How Long Should People Resist Invasion, Repression, Violence and Injustice?

The answer I would give here is: A. As long as they can, B. As long as it fits their plan to escape evil, and C. As long as the alternative is much worse.

Recently, the Pope made a well-meaning but wrong-headed statement that since Ukraine “faces defeat,” it should give in and negotiate with Putin.

On one hand, I understand why he said this – he knows war is a Pandora’s Box. Once it starts, no one knows the depth of hatred, revenge, death and ruin it will lead to – and he has made a calculation that Ukraine’s resistance of Russia’s invasion is going to lead to so much death on both sides and so much misery and destruction in Ukraine that it would be better to stop now.

On the other hand, I am very surprised that a person who the world looks to for a deep understanding of good and evil has not understood that a democratic country should resist totalitarianism – or brutal authoritarianism – as long as it can. 

I’m not sure he’s understood that Ukrainians are desperately fighting to keep their families from being subjected to cruel, even sadistic oppression. I’m not sure he understands how deeply Ukrainians love and thrive on European values of freedom of choice and expression, freedom for children to get the best education and opportunities they can, freedom for adults to work in any and all professions, with the sky as their limit.

It sounds dramatic to talk about good versus evil, but it’s not an exaggeration to say there’s a depth of evil Putin has brought and hopes to bring down on the heads of millions of Ukrainians. He’s also succeeding at an alarming rate to raise anti-democratic sentiment and power in Europe, Africa and any other parts of the world he can infect with bigoted chaos. 

The Pope is right about the Pandora’s Box of War – it’s horrific – we see it in the Middle East, we see it in Sudan, Myanmar, Yemen, and I see it in Ukraine – I’m writing today because it is the one-year anniversary of yet another very wonderful young man I got to know who gave his life to preserve the values of human dignity, democracy and freedom in his beloved community.

The gamble of prolonging a war is huge, but let’s ask ourselves – how long should a people resist?

Here are a few examples:

  1. Resist as Long as you can. Because you cherish democratic values. Many people in Burien had met Annie Phillips, an activist 85-years strong, who fought for the environment, for women’s and immigrant’s rights, for so much. Annie handed out signs a few years ago with the word, “Resist.” At the time, I thought that was a negative command, to resist. But I see now how wise Annie was – she knew that as long as you value equality of peoples – no matter their color, race, religion, sexual orientation, social class, then you should keep resisting anything which is trying to destroy equal rights. Annie knew her democratic values were worth a lifetime of effort and resistance, she knew they were even worth dying for, and she was a lucky person to live in a country at peace where she could keep defending precious values to a ripe old age.
  2. Resist as long as it fits your plan to escape evil.  Nadia Murad, in her memoir, The Last Girl, about the genocide inflicted on her people and sexual slavery suffered by so many Yazidi women including herself, admits that her choice was not to physically resist the man who bought her and continuously raped her. Instead, she had a plan to escape, and after a few failed attempts that cost her dearly, she miraculously succeeded and now is one of the greatest freedom fighters we have in the world, fighting for the rights of people who experience war, genocide, religious discrimination, gender-based violence and slavery. She made a strategic choice not to resist for a period – to keep her sanity so she could succeed by other means.
  3. Resist as long as the alternative is much worse. Ukraine is choosing “C.” – As well as “A” and “B.” Ukraine, you can be sure, will get extra special treatment by Putin if it stops resisting – it will be treated to exponential levels of injustice, violence, repression and soul-killing slavery. So, resisting the invasion, despite the risk to one’s life, is still what Ukrainians prefer. 

Ukrainians also understand the strategic approach – Choice “B.” They all know that France resisted Hitler and succeeded, Britain resisted Hitler and succeeded, Jews resisted Hitler and succeeded, the US resisted Fascism and Hitler – and succeeded. Ukrainians know that the longer they can maintain their resistance, the more chance they have that luck, reason, right and the good may prevail. Those who believe in themselves often succeed against the odds. Those who don’t believe in themselves are already defeated.

Lastly, for choice “A” regarding great values, I’d like to say to the Pope that Ukraine is standing for the same Christian values he cherishes, which he has dedicated his life to. 

Ukrainians are fighting for their deep-seated understanding that every human being is created equal by God – whether some dictator or despot sees them as “lesser than” or not, as Putin sees Ukrainians – that they yearn with all their heart to be free, and have the sacred right to fulfill their God-given potential through education, culture, family support, and economic opportunity.

These values for Ukrainians are eternal. They are a stubborn lot. 

We should all ask ourselves whether and for how long it is worth resisting evil.

– Irene Danysh
Burien resident now living in Ukraine

EDITOR’S NOTEDo you have an opinion you’d like to share with our highly engaged local Readers? If so, please email your Letter to the Editor to scott@southkingmedia.com and, pending review and verification that you’re a real human being, we may publish it. Letter writers must provide an address and phone number (NOT for publication but for verification purposes). Read our updated Letter to the Editor policy here.

Since 2007, The B-Town Blog is Burien’s multiple award-winning hyperlocal news/events website dedicated to independent journalism.

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