Home / World News / Opinion | ‘I Thought I Knew What Bravery Was. And Then I Saw Ukraine.’

Opinion | ‘I Thought I Knew What Bravery Was. And Then I Saw Ukraine.’

To the Editor:

Re “Armed or Not, Villagers Rush to Join Fight” (front page, Feb. 28):

I cannot remember the last time I was so moved by the bravery of a people — the people of Ukraine. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and several nations broke free of the Soviet Union, it was a collective effort by heroic people all throughout the former Warsaw Pact nations to seize the moment and assert their independence.

This is different. This is one nation. Alone. Standing fast against overwhelming odds. Fighting with every breath. Men and women alike. Ordinary citizens banded together against a pitiless enemy and giving no quarter, never yielding, laying it all on the line for their families, their friends, their homes, their country.

I will never forget their bravery as long as I live. I thought I knew what bravery was. And then I saw Ukraine.

Perry Perez
Sunrise, Fla.

To the Editor:

Instead of fleeing for his safety as Russian troops advance, much like a captain of his ship, President Volodymyr Zelensky heroically and courageously has chosen to stand strong with his beloved people and country. His bravery in the face of what could be his own death, as well as his family’s, is to be admired. Godspeed to Mr. Zelensky and all of Ukraine.

JoAnn Lee Frank
Clearwater, Fla.

To the Editor:

Re “We Have Never Been Here Before,” by Thomas L. Friedman (column, Sunday Review, Feb. 27):

Mr. Friedman observes incisively that this moment in Ukraine is historically unprecedented. This is a call to action.

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has captured the global imagination in a different way from other crises, and it isn’t just because of its objective seriousness or our “wired world.” It’s because the pandemic has triggered our capacity to imagine global catastrophe as a real possibility.

When bad things happen far away, it’s common to distance ourselves from them. But the crisis in Ukraine, happening during a pandemic, seems to have everyone’s attention. It scares us viscerally. It makes us feel powerless, resorting to outrage and solidarity.

How can we translate our new power to imagine catastrophe into a willingness to act? How can we change our public policies and daily habits to prevent other global (and local) crises?

As we watch events in Ukraine unfold, the power to imagine the previously unimaginable should inspire us to act differently. We’re all global citizens.

Sonia Cardenas
Hartford, Conn.
The writer is a professor of political science, dean of faculty and vice president for academic affairs at Trinity College.

To the Editor:

Re “Kremlin Finds It Hard to Hide the Costs to People at Home” (front page, Feb. 27):

While your reporters see “little evidence of a broader groundswell of opposition” to Vladimir Putin’s shameful aggression against Ukraine, one of my academic colleagues in Russia offers a different perspective. She has not joined protesters in the streets and is “even afraid to like posts against the war, because it might cost me my job.”

But when the war began on Feb. 24, she wrote to me at length to express her revulsion at the “terrible, mind-boggling invasion of Ukraine.” She is not part of the intellectual or cultural elite. She even voted for Mr. Putin in 2000 and 2004 because she thought then that “he was capable of leading Russia along a democratic path.”

But now she is appalled that Russia has become a brutal aggressor. She says her feelings are “shared by thousands.”

David S. Foglesong
Princeton, N.J.
The writer is a professor of history at Rutgers.

To the Editor:

The courage of the people of Ukraine is unbelievable and unmistakable. They are willing to die for their democracy and independence.

I don’t know if they will win this battle, but I do know this kind of resistance is what will ultimately win the war against savage dictatorships.

I hope we in the United States could show such bravery when called upon. We’ve had a taste of a threat to our Constitution and democratic principles. I can only hope the courage of the Ukrainian people will inspire us to defend what is so precious — freedom, truth and the rule of law.

Susan Shelton
Falmouth, Mass.

To the Editor:

While the people in Ukraine are outmanned and outgunned by the Russians, they are fighting for their country tooth and nail. Russia invaded Afghanistan in 1979, and after 10 long years it left in defeat. Godspeed to those in Ukraine who love their country and are willing to die defending it!

Brant Thomas
Cold Spring, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Re “Biden Picks Jackson to Be First Black Woman on Supreme Court” (front page, Feb. 26):

We are seeing the predictable reaction from the political right to President Biden’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. The most galling is labeling her an “affirmative action” nominee.

Our polity has been run on affirmative action for more than 200 years on behalf of white men. It has gone unspoken but understood until recent decades. Women and people of color were excluded because of who they were.

It is the height of hypocrisy for privileged white men to insinuate that Judge Jackson is an unqualified affirmative action token, nominated only because she is a Black woman. We are finally ending affirmative action for white men. And Judge Jackson brings with her stellar qualifications.

President Biden seeks to bring representation to the Supreme Court that has been absent until now. Judge Jackson’s nomination is a long overdue correction to the affirmative action that barred her in the past.

Patty Quinn
Philadelphia

To the Editor:

In response to President Biden’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, Senator Mitch McConnell said that “the Senate must conduct a rigorous, exhaustive review of Judge Jackson’s nomination as befits a lifetime appointment to our highest court.”

This is the same Senator McConnell who blocked Merrick Garland from ever getting a hearing and rushed through the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett. The man has no shame!

Judith Tuller
New York

To the Editor:

Re “Streaming Their Way to the Oscars” (Arts, Feb. 9):

Wake up, Hollywood. Times have changed.

As an 87-year-old, I applaud the shift from movies in theaters to movies streamed to my TV or recorded on my DVR. In the last few years going to theaters has gone from being a magical experience to being a miserable experience.

It has come down to paying outrageous prices for seats with bad sight lines; sitting through endless ads and trailers with an earsplitting sound track; sitting next to people looking at their phones or talking to each other throughout the movie; and because of the high cost of going to a theater, reluctance to say to my wife: “This movie is awful. Let’s get out of here.”

On the other hand, streaming or recording means: reasonable prices for a much greater variety of movies from around the world; comfortable seating at home; the ability to take a break to answer the phone, go to the bathroom or get a snack; the ability to divide a long movie into parts to be watched at different times; the ability to watch part or all of a movie again to understand something that wasn’t clear the first time; and the ability of one of us to watch something that the other one hates or doesn’t want to watch.

I would like to see all movies released both in theaters and streamed on the same date. I’m sure an economic model can be developed that will satisfy all concerned.

Alan M. Stevens
New York

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