BY JAMES WERNICKE
Fahali wanapopigana, ni nyasi zinazoteseka. In Swahili, it means, “When bulls fight, the grass suffers.” Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians, Russians, and their allies have died for their countries in the past year. Millions more find themselves displaced from their homeland, livelihoods, and families. For what?
Putin says, “We see them as our own close people. Russia is open to dialogue with Ukraine and ready to discuss the most complex issues. But it is important for us to understand that our partner is defending its national interests but not serving someone else’s, and is not a tool in someone else’s hands to fight against us.” The White House says, “Putin sought to subjugate Ukraine, but the free people of Ukraine stood strong—bravely defending their sovereignty and democracy. The United States, alongside our allies and partners, did not hesitate to stand with them” and that “justice and accountability are central pillars of the United States’ policy on Ukraine.” There is truth in both stories, but they leave out details like Zelensky’s suppression of Eastern Ukrainians and that most Ukrainians want peace with Russia.
Is it about sovereignty, democracy, justice, and accountability, or is it merely about hegemony, shareholders, and oligarchs? After COVID, this is a lot for the grass of the world to bear. I encourage you to tell your elected officials to stand with the grass in seeking a diplomatic resolution supported by humanitarian aid instead of antagonizing the bulls with more weapons.