Category Archives: uncivil war

Family in Ukraine’s Story

A story from a personal friend’s daughter-in-law whose family lives in Ukraine.

My grandma in Tryskavets got her 2nd Covid shot on Monday, she feels fine. They had multiple air raids in that area, but nothing serious. Grandma, aunt, and cousin in Chernigiv have limited water, food, but electricity is working now. All fine. However, when the Russians were leaving the city they put mines everywhere so it’s very dangerous to go anywhere. They even put those on dead bodies so that people couldn’t bury them. It’s dangerous to go into the city.

I met today with A’s parents who flew to US last week. They were so thankful for all the prayers and messages. They told me their story. It’s terrifying and I’m just so glad they are safe now.

My aunt’s mom Dina came into the US a couple of days ago. She is in shock but my aunt told me her story today as we met to somewhat celebrate my mama’s birthday. 

“The Russians came to their house (my aunt and uncles house) 3 times. The first time they put a gun to her face and told her not to be afraid and that they will just check around. She was sheltering a young pregnant girl 24 years old and she was hiding as they were looking for whom to rape. They went around the house, she was silent in the attic, so they didn’t find her. Then they came back again and told her to open the door or else they would break every door and window. She asked to put the dogs away, they let her. She opened the door and stood outside. They stole everything that was in the house that they could take in 6 large black bags that looked heavy. She said they stole even a small printer and the dogs’ house. They stole all the food including cans, literally everything, clothes, etc. Apparently there is a deficit there in the russian world. After this she decided she needed to get out. That’s the time they bombed the bridge. So the only way out was to climb down from the bridge and walk over the ice cold slippery water for like a mile to cross. She said she felt like she was walking on ice that’s how slippery it was and she is elderly. She made it to the other side then volunteers took her to Kiev then to Lviv and from there she went to Poland where my aunt met her to take to her to the US 2 weeks after she had her vaccination.  

When she was in Poland, the Russians went back to my aunt and uncle’s house and destroyed it after they finished stealing what they didn’t get the first time. They almost shot their neighbor for not being willing to open the door. 

I didn’t see her today, but she is in shock and sleeping most of the time per my aunt. 

We are praying that an answer about a visa will be given soon for my grandma, so we can bring her here. She has had her two vaccinations. She is there all by herself. I pray that the operation to get all the mines in Chernigiv will conclude soon and they will be able to evacuate.

Contempt is the Hallmark of Hubris

Contempt is looking at people like they are side dishes we didn’t order. Our current division as Americans is going to undermine not only whomever wins the next election, but probably anyone winning many future elections. Trump just brought to light the depth of the fundamental differences in people. If we don’t find a way to actually communicate sanely across those, we are going to self-destruct as a nation. The basic differences are still the same as in our un-Civil War. I have found that many reasonable, kind, college educated family and friends who voted for Trump simply don’t believe what they hear and read opposing him. Even those that do, still are basically Republican. To me our conflicts are rooted in inborn personality differences. When I really tried to communicate with people I love across our differences, I began to understand why they think the way they do, I don’t necessarily agree, but I understand. Both liberals and conservatives, who don’t accept that we have to compromise to find a way to any shared acceptable vision of justice, are trapped in an illusion that their ideals are obtainable in a democracy of diverse people in close to equal numbers. Trump should be our wake-up call. And more than anything contempt simply shuts people’s minds and blocks any hope for compromise. I think all of us on both sides are filled with the hubris of contempt these days. Our conviction that we know the truth, all the truth, and nothing but the truth is actually claiming to be God. It is sheer hubris. This is an imperfect world with imperfect people, who only by facing that reality can together inch toward creating a better, though still imperfect, world.

“I Can’t Breathe.” by Parker J. Palmer

Parker J. Palmer
“I CAN’T BREATHE.” Those words give voice to the terror that has haunted black Americans since the founding of this country. They can also serve as a tragic tag for a political-cultural era in which life has been choked out of so many and so much.
“I can’t breathe” were the dying words of a black man named George Floyd, as a police officer kept a knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes, while Floyd lay handcuffed on the ground. They are words that thousands of lynching victims in this country might have said as they died, words that freedom-seekers now living in limbo south of our border could say as they watch their dreams and sometimes their children die. All of this is rooted in the racism that American “leaders” have long exploited as a path to power, to which too many whites have given silent assent. “I can’t breathe” might have been the dying words of the 100,000 + American victims of COVID-19 just before they were intubated, deaths that have hit communities of color the hardest. Fewer would have died if our “leaders” valued science above ideology, human life above money and power, and the public interest above their own. Their knees were pressed down on those throats.
“I can’t breath” represents a challenge to the moral credentials of white people—if we fail to speak and act against the racist forces that help fuel #45’s war on democracy. Some of us have been “gasping for breath” since the advance man for birtherism ran for president, polluting the air we breathe with his racism and his taste for fascism. (I do not use the “F-word” lightly, but with the gravity of a student of history. For evidence, see, a piece I wrote for On Being eight months before the 2016 election.)
In the wake of a horrifying week in America, what can we do? If you or I walked down the street and heard a stranger say, “I can’t breathe,” we’d dial 911. We’d stay with the stranger until help arrived and do anything we could, the Heimlich maneuver, or CPR, or a hand to hold. We would NOT walk on by as if nothing were happening. Please, let’s not walk by now. And let’s not indulge the self-serving delusion that there’s nothing we can do. For example…
Alone or with your friends, study articles like “75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice” at, and act on one or more of the suggestions there.
Use Facebook and other social media to let folks in your network know where you stand. What’s worse, being “un-friended” or failing to take a clear stand on the morally imperative issues of our time?
Speak to family and friends who support racist words and actions, however indirectly. Tell them that you find it hard to breathe in that space. Then take a deep breath, and tell them what you value. Speak the truth with love, but speak the truth.
If you belong to a faith community whose leaders have ignored or even supported the inhumanity so evident in our politics right now, speak up. Tell them that you need to hear muscular love, truth, and justice preached and practiced, not soothing piosity or faithless complicity.
When November arrives, vote for candidates who offer something better than the tragedy we’re living right now, no matter your marginal reservations. Encourage others to do the same. “When you govern with lies, the ballots will fly. Lead without soul, and we’ll defeat you at the polls.”
There’s much we can do. It starts with listening to all who are crying, “I can’t breathe.” Souls—theirs, ours, and and our country’s—depend on us hearing and responding in every way we can.

Of Cabbages and Kings

OK, who has actual numbers, countries, conditions that precipitated such a sudden increase in immigrants? What is the current number,condition, and plan for immigrants in custody.
Who has an itemized list of symptoms of climate change beyond normal vacillations in weather over a couple of centuries? Anyone know of charts imaging the extent of changes?                            Who reads the Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post , The Atlantic, and watches PBS and Fox News?

The time has come the Walrus said, to speak of many things! But unless we have some facts that we can trust, we will be ruled by dictators or kings. And even if you like the first, there’s no guarantee you will like those who follow, and we will no longer have a choice.

Anger, antagonism, name calling, ridicule, do not convince anyone.  I’m open to facts with sources and numbers with names.  I’d like to hear from people who actually read and analyze sources on opposite sides.

I admit that I became an ostrich once politics turned into mud throwing.  I don’t know where to begin now, so am open to help.