Russia-Ukraine: what will become of Vladimir Putin? | Opinion
I was haunted recently by the words of Veronika Melkozerova, a journalist based in Kyiv, Ukraine, who writes in The Atlantic: “Before the invasion, I had never hated anyone, but now my anger eats away at me. inside.
She goes on to describe the horror that the rest of us witnessed only from afar, as “Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded our land, killed our compatriots and seized our territory.”
The invasion of Ukraine is cause for anger enough, especially for someone who witnessed it up close. But Melkozerova then points out where her anger is skyrocketing: “I’m angry that Russia can get away with what they did to Ukraine,” she says.
Some have estimated that there have been between 600 and 1,000 Ukrainian casualties per day in recent months; there are probably many more than that. Considering the dead, the mourners, and those who bear physical and emotional wounds from the ongoing assault, Melkozerova admits to sometimes wanting to “shout out the window, ‘They’re killing us! They are plundering our land! They are torturing our people!’ »
Lily: No one will stop them?!
Even though much of the world is sending arms and other material aid, we know something about how they feel. We watch a bigger bully beat up a more vulnerable victim, seemingly helpless to do anything while the bully demands that everyone stay out.
The reasons for caution are obvious and understandable; how could we risk a wider world war and nuclear attacks? This does not facilitate the monitoring of what is happening in Ukraine. And an existential question hangs heavy in the air as Russia gains ground: Are they really going to get away with this?
Absolutely not. Not at the end.
The same week I read Melkozerova’s tale of her anger, my boys and I finished the captivating finale to the “Harry Potter” books. The “Boy Who Lived” spent many years of his life terrorized by a villain and his followers who acted with apparent impunity.
Until the end, few could imagine Lord Voldemort being held accountable for his actions, let alone completely defeated. But just like in real life, that time has finally come.
Readers get a glimpse of his afterlife, reduced to a “mutilated little creature” who moans and shivers in agony under a chair, repulsive to all onlookers. Such was the end of Lord Voldemort, an apt metaphor for the future of all who cause so much devastation and pain to others.
But it’s not just a fictional lesson from a fantasy novel. Most of the world’s major religions not only agree on a meaningful afterlife experience, but also on an ultimate judgment in which human beings are held accountable for their actions in this life.
While we still yearn for earthly justice, there is a tangible comfort that comes from believing that someday (if not now) the wrongs will be righted.
This is a well-known and beloved concept in colonial America when Jonathan Edward and his contemporaries exaggerated the notion by preaching “sinners in the hands of an angry God.”
But today, talking about future liability is as rare as talking about hell; it’s much nicer to talk about God’s mercy, grace and redemption.
However, it is possible to focus too much on the latter and miss the profound relief that belief in divine justice can bring, especially in the face of unrelenting injustice on Earth.
None of this, of course, calls for us to resign ourselves to bitter fates or to back down in our support for these horrific enduring realities. And we must continue to do all we can to support our brothers and sisters in Ukraine who are fighting for their lives and their freedom.
Even though there is still a long time in the future, and the pain lingers much longer than we would like, it is comforting to glimpse a future in which “God will wipe away all the tears from their eyes; and there will be no more death, nor mourning, nor outcry, and there will be no more pain, for the first things are past.
Some may still see this as a pie-in-the-sky abstraction with minimal here-and-now relevance. But that’s where they go wrong. This kind of conviction comes in handy for people like Melkozerova, who “can’t live” with intense anger and are looking for comfort.
So, no, Putin and his accomplices will not get away with what they are doing in Ukraine.
Every victim. Every injury. Every rape. And every death. Will be taken into account.
Jacob Hess is editor of Public Square Magazine and served on the board of the National Coalition of Dialogue and Deliberation. He has worked to promote liberal-conservative understanding since publishing “You’re Not As Mad As I Thought (But You’re Still Wrong)” with Phil Neisser. Along with Carrie Skarda, Kyle Anderson, and Ty Mansfield, Hess also wrote “The Power of Stillness: Mindful Living for Latter-day Saints.”