The war in Ukraine is lasting already more than 3 weeks. Russia invaded Ukraine because of reasons that seem far from realistic, they violate human rights on a daily basis and the number of reported war crimes climbs rapidly. Every day I turn on the news, the Ukraine tragedy dominates. So what happens on our side?
Life goes on ... or not?
The thing that I was afraid for is sometimes already appearing to become real: The news on Ukraine becoming old news. The war being reported upon so thoroughly becomes something that overloads the senses of people that are not affected directly, so that it becomes normal. Life goes on, people return to business as usual. And if you are no longer confronted with the horrible war stories anymore, it no longer determines your daily life and you start to forget about this.
The longer the war continues, the more this becomes a real scenario. And I guess that this is what kind of happened to a lot of Russians: The news is twisted, facts are hidden, stories are made up - and if this is done on a daily basis, you slowly start to believe it. It was actually Hitler who said that the bigger the lie, the more people will believe at least part of it. (No actual quote here, see Big Lie on wikipedia).
But should it be this way? Should the war slowly fade away from our attention?
My personal opinion is that this war is different. For many reasons. First of all, the Ukraine is pretty close to Western Europe. Second, I've been to Kiev myself and loved it. Third, I know many Ukrainians and count many of them as my personal friend. Fourth, the war is tending to be dirty - war crimes, unmatched propoganda, distorted truths - it simply reminds me a lot of WWII. Additionally, Putin has already threated Finland and Sweden for getting too close to NATO. And this might show that the trouble will not stop if Ukraine is defeated.
And we can have many responses to this. Supporting Ukrainians, donations, sending goods, helping refugees and much more. There are already many writings out there that point people into helping out where they can. No need for me to repeat them. My main point here is that we should not forget about this crisis. We should not be shushed to sleep. Stay outraged, stay upset, don't forget.
Make sure it hurts for us too
One personal strategy that I think would help the best to make sure we don't forget, is simply to make sure we are affected too. For instance, if you believe Putin is a dictator, why fund him? Cut all economical ties to his regime. Cut the gass. Accept the increased price and the downsides for our own economy. If it hurts, let it hurt. It is better to suffer a little bit of pain, then agreeing to genocide on the Ukrainian people.
Perhaps you think that business and personal affairs should not be mixed. My personal take is that they are always mixed anyway. If you are going through personal tragedy, your work will be affected. If you are happy, business can be prosperous too. We are our business, we are our work (to some extent).
What I can do
Because of this, I choose not to do business with Russians as long as Putin his dictatorship continues. I need to say though that I didn't have that much business with Russians anyway. The agencies with Russian ties that I worked with, were Ukrainian anyway.
So on the personal side, I try to cut off gas as soon as possible (induction cooking, solar panels, heat pump). I need to say though that I didn't have that much dependency on gas anyway. My house is pretty green and switching off gas was something I wanted to do anyway.
So I've donated money. And my left-over t-shirts from conferences will be handed over to refugee organizations. I need to say though that I would have donated to charity anyway. And I wanted to get rid of the shirts anyway.
So I blog. And I hope that's something that keeps the tears of Ukrainians in focus. It doesn't matter what we do. Even if you don't do anything, you can be outraged and angry at this situation. As long as we don't forget.