I saw this photo on Twitter this morning. It comes from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has occurred for no reason other than Vladimir Putin’s craven plan to restore the former Soviet Union. But I’m not writing this post to discuss him or his clearly worsening mental instability.
I’d like to talk about humanity. Specifically, the humanity of the Ukrainian people, despite the fact that they’re being attacked and their country is being destroyed. More specifically, I’d like to talk about the humanity of the Ukrainian people in this very photo.
As you can see from the tweet that accompanies the photo, a young Russian soldier has surrendered. Rather than being taken captive immediately or suffering a worse fate, local residents have offered him food and drink. They’ve also allowed him to place a video call his mother. I have read elsewhere (from Ukrainian reporters) that Russian soldiers who have surrendered or are captured will be returned to their mothers at the Russia-Ukraine border near Kyiv, and I hope that is true. In such a sad, frightening, and unnecessary time of war, humanity should always prevail — even in small ways — and I think it will in this conflict. I have to believe it will.
This is the kind of humanity that the entire world needs. The kind of humanity that I can certainly get behind. I very much wish the people of my own country possessed this level of care and concern for other human beings, but they are the complete opposite. Here, we wage an internal kind of war in which people spread hate and fear. Lies and conspiracy theories. They hold a deep disdain for those who look different from themselves and a deep fear of those whose ideologies do not match with their own.
Every day it seems that my country loses a little more humanity.
Maybe we’ve lost it entirely.