Courage, by Dr. E. Faye Williams

3/2/2023, 6 p.m.
War is inhumane! War is madness! In a world of ra- tional thinkers, war should be unnecessary! Historically, war has ...

War is inhumane! War is madness! In a world of rational thinkers, war should be unnecessary! Historically, war has been the exercise of national power, authority and autonomy in the circumstance of irrec- oncilable difference — or the reaction to it. As with many other past conflicts, the world’s current war is the result of an irreconcilable difference conceived in the mind of an ego-stricken madman — “Fighting to be Heard” Vladimir Putin.

Had events progressed according to the machinations of his malignant mind, on this day, one year after an unnecessary invasion, Ukraine would be under the singular control of Dictator Putin. I applaud the courage and resilience of the Ukrainian people and their president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in their destruction of his dystopian plans. Some might suggest that a published opinion on such a “world matter” takes me “out of my lane,” but, in my spirit and evolution of mind, I am a kindred spirit with anyone or any group opposing oppression.

In every conflict, we are presented the opportunity to witness individual acts of courage. In what some would consider a surprise, President Zelenskyy, a former comedian and actor, has risen to the challenge of serving as an effective wartime president. Initially presumed to be weak and feckless, President Zelenskyy has demonstrated a measure of tenacity, moral and physical courage unequaled in many years.

Others like members of the press, Richard Engel and MSNBC’S Ali Velshi have to be named heroes for their bravery in bringing us the news from Ukraine. In our list of heroes, we must give praise to Chef Jose Andres and his organization that works in/near battle zones to nourish hungry Ukrainians.

We must also thank Poland and other regional nations for providing material support and a haven for displaced Ukrainians. Our thanks extend to NATO for standing in the breach against further illegal incursions.

In contrast, following the lead of Donald Trump, many Republicans are calling for a desertion of efforts to support Ukraine’s righteous effort for sovereignty. Whether this betrayal of morality is motivated by the opportunity for personal enrichment or a full-blown acceptance of autocracy, it suggests nothing good. I am reminded that when we rose to fight racism and corruption, we were labeled communists! Iit not now appropriate to, likewise, label the MAGA crowd as communists who support the enemy of a democratic Ukraine?

Despite Vladimir Putin’s monumental miscalculation, the estimated loss of 8,000 to 10,000 Russian soldiers per day, a disrupted economy, and the loss of stature on the world stage, Russia continues to ex- ercise “state terrorism.”

But babies continue to be born. The spirit of resistance and resilience still flourishes. President Zelenskyy still serves as a beacon of courage and perseverance. Unlike truly feckless leaders, President Zelenskyy has stayed with his people. Under the threat of personal harm, he did not flee his country, as other leaders have done when believing their lives to be in danger. He has given his people reason to believe their often-quoted optimism of a victorious and free Ukraine.

Lastly, I take great personal pride in the courage demonstrated by President Biden. In the face of controversy and criticism, he has been steadfast in his support of Ukraine and his efforts in holding together the international coalition of support for Ukraine. I am even more impressed with his courage and fortitude in making the dangerous 20-hour round-trip by train to Kyiv to demonstrate his resolve to the Ukrainian people and supporters of their war effort.

Let us pray for peace in the world. Let us pray for reason to prevail. In the face of mass devastation, let us pray for healing. And we must pray for the Russian people who must endure this maniac who calls himself their president.

The writer is president of The Dick Gregory Society.