The fight has been long and bloody and the cost in lives has been immeasurable but today they truly understand the meaning and the price of freedom.
To look at a map of blue and red patches representing territories won or lost is to understand nothing of the life and death struggles playing out in real time on the ground. The people in the streets are not just celebrating for themselves but for those in the mass graves and filtration camps, those forcibly deported and handed out for adoption as trophies or spoils of war and those whose unspeakable traumas will be borne for the remainder of their lives.
Yes Ukraine fights for all of Europe and Europe and the West would do well not to lose sight of it. The Ukrainian people are dying for world peace. Many now call for some vague unspecified negotiation that would magically end the war that we can see. But what about the war we have been blind to for so long? Do they really want peace, a lasting peace or a return to willful ignorance?
Russia did not come to negotiate, Russia came to dominate and exploit and to demonstrate to the world what happens when they are opposed, when someone stands up to them. When you say negotiate what you are saying is, cede Ukrainian lands to Russian invaders and abandon all the men, women and children who live on those lands, leaving their fate at the hands of those perpetrating war crimes against them and engineering their genocide.
To the point, a prayer is in order for the estimated quarter million children kidnapped from Ukrainian families and taken illegally to Russia. Before the return of each and every child can be negotiated the West must have the courage to even address it, which thus far Western officials have only rarely done.
Peace itself is worth fighting for. If that sounds like a contradiction so be it. The human experience is one of perpetual contradiction. To abandon Ukraine now only risks and likely ensures more conflict in the near future. Peace comes with the Russians back in Russia and a new less oppressive more democratic Russian government in place. At that moment a platform for lasting peace can take shape.
Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.
Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.