They wanted to change their world
Seeking the latest news on the Russian invasion of Ukraine this evening, I came across a CNN opinion piece entitled “What the West owes Ukraine.” Yes, I thought. What do we owe Ukraine at this moment? What can we do? I started reading.
Timothy Snyder, Housum professor of history at Yale University and author of “Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin,” explains the revolution in Ukraine, beginning with the protests in November and closing with these words:
The cause of the Ukrainian protesters was not to change the world, but only to change their world. What they wanted was normality, predictability, the ability to live their lives the way they chose.
They wanted, in other words, the things that most of us take for granted. But now that their revolution has come, the world faces certain important choices. If we don’t understand the revolution in Ukraine, then we miss something special and unusual: a chance to support democracy.
Moving words. Thought provoking. Rousing.
And then I realized the words were written four days ago, before the Russians invaded Crimea.
Now it’s too late.
The moment has passed. The opportunity is gone. Democracy has lost.
Ukraine has lost.