There is so much going on right now.
Central African Republic, South Sudan, and Mali have ongoing complex situations, including genocide and mutilation of cultural monuments. Syria and CAR have been having sporadic, not very successful peace talks (just a note: peace talks are never, ever, ever successful at creating the kind of peace you want to see; they work piecemeal, and hope to move things forward a little at a time).
And Russia invaded Ukraine.
Well, Russia was going to invade Ukraine. Nationalist rhetoric has been building in Russia for a very long time, but it’s accelerated in the past two years. The Olympic Games were a good chance to simultaneously crack down even harder on dissent, look good to the world, and fuel the average Russian’s nationalism. While the games were going on, Vladimir Putin was treating Ukraine as a puppet state, leading to the deaths of nearly a hundred Ukrainians (mainly protestors, but police as well). Now he has very skillfully let it be known that the government in Kyiv was put in place by fascist sympathizers who are committing atrocities against Russian speakers. He reminds people that the Maidan cry, “Slava Ukraini!” (Glory to Ukraine!) has been used by fascists in the past. This is true, and it lends a lot of credibility to what he is saying in the eyes of the Western press.
Luckily, there is someone in Ukraine with the standing to contradict these statements outright. A group of Jewish leaders and thinkers in Ukraine has written an open letter to Vladimir Putin. Read it. It’s seldom I get to talk about good news here. This is very good news. It seems that, after all, we can say ,”Slava Ukraini!”