Did you not know that you are a Ukrainian? Yes, of course you are.
Did you not know that you are an Afghan too? Yes, of course you are.
Did you not look into the eyes of that little Ukrainian girl fleeing the bombs hitting her school? Of course you did. Did you not look into the eyes of that little Afghan girl fleeing the drones striking her older sister’s wedding party? Well, it was over two years ago. But of course you did.
Did you not see the old Ukrainian man taking up a NATO supplied anti-tank weapon to defend his city against the indifferent Russian invaders instructed to commit war crimes? Of course you did.
Did you not recognize that old Mujahedeen fighter take up arms against the NATO allied forces just as he had against the Russian forces when they invaded? Of course you did.
Did you not see the thousands of women fleeing with their children to Poland and beyond? Of course you did. Did you not recognize that Afghan woman and her baby fleeing the NATO aircraft attacking her village after the Taliban took it over? Of course you did.
Did you not see the Russian prima ballerina who left the Bolshoi and Russia, in protest of her country’s invasion of Ukraine? Of course you did. Did you not see the professionals clamoring to escape at Hamid Karzai International Airport as the Americans abandoned the ‘modernized’ institutions they had funded in Kabul? It wasn’t that long ago, really.
Did you not see the teenage boy not so sure how to aim that automatic weapon but committed to protect his Ukrainian nation no matter what? Of course you did. Did you not see those Afghan boys holding their AK-47s as if they were seasoned soldiers? Well, they were.
Did you not see the old farmers, joking about Javelin missiles and the Russian tanks they might destroy, just to ease the tension of a war they did not want? Of course you did. Did you not see the resistance of Afghan fighters repelling invaders throughout history, including the British colonialists, then Russians, and finally Americans? It was in that world history text you never read.
Did you not see the calm commitment in the eyes of the soldiers of blue and yellow who would rather be home with their families, but will fight to the death for their freedom? Of course you did. Did you not see the empty despair in the eyes of that famous Afghan girl on the cover of National Geographic in 1985? Of course you did. Too young? Google it; it will haunt you.
Did you not see the humanity in all of these people whom you have never met and probably never will? Of course you did.
That is why you are a Ukrainian and an Afghan too, for you know that they could be you.
So, put on your mask and take the vaccine until the virus is fully defeated; stop acting like a spoiled American, and respect your neighbors like so many honorable Ukrainians and Afghans do without all those consumer privileges. You now have millions of exemplars showing you how real humans live.
Compare them with the empty exhortations of those false patriots, the American version of ISIS or Taliban, who would turn you to war against your fellow citizens for not following their ideological ‘purity.’ Turn away from them, and you will embody the spirit of a true Ukrainian, who just wants to be left to his life among his neighbors.