Make Love, Not War: Ukraine & Russia

I stayed up last night to watch the coverage out of Kyiv, listening to reporters talk about the latest developments with over the sound of explosions. It’s a sound I’d never heard before, except in movies…and it’s a sound I’ll never forget.

Since I was a teenager, I’ve always owned shirts that say “Make love, not war.” I researched the origins of that saying during the Vietnam Conflict—to be clear, the United States Congress is the only entity that can declare war, and that hasn’t happened since World War II. “Make love, not war” originated in 1965 when Students for a Democratic Society held the first anti-war protest in Washington, D.C. These individuals refused to remain helpless as their peers were drafted and sent to fight in a conflict that America diplomatically had no business involving themselves in; these individuals mourned as their loved ones came home in caskets.

Growing up in post-9/11 America, I failed to understand why—only a generation later—so many were keen to wage war in the Middle East. I wondered how revenge killing was so widely endorsed and cheered on. Weren’t we mourning the lives lost in Pennsylvania, D.C., and NYC? Why would anyone inflict that upon another community—families not unlike our own?

And after watching the events in Ukraine unfold, I keep coming back to a similar point. Why does it matter who claims what land? The maps of the world have changed over time; why? Aren’t we all merely borrowing the earth from future generations? When we mine the planet for resources and profit, who really profits if innocent lives are lost in the process? If making more money is “better,” who does that benefit? If not the most innocent among us—if the innocent are not safe—what’s the point?

I stand with Ukraine defending themselves against invasion. If someone came into my home and trying to take what was mine or harm my family, I’d certainly retaliate. And even after reading multiple articles about what Russia’s objectives seem to be, I keep coming back to the same point:

Why does their leader believe war is the answer?

When you consider the stress of war—the pressure, the lost lives, the fear of retaliation—why would anyone choose to incite war instead of spreading love?

How cruel does a person have to believe the money matters more than human life?

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