Europæerne må i uniformen og kæmpe for demokrati og frihed.
Are we heading for a third world war?
Europeans must be in uniform and fight for democracy and freedom.
My cuticles are bleeding, and so is my heart. My anxiety is sky high and to deal with the stress I have excessively played “Tetris” on the phone until the early hours, while checking the latest news from Ukraine.
In graduate school, I spent a semester in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, where I worked at the Danish Cultural Institute. Never in my life have I experienced cold like that – both physically and mentally.
I did not understand the Estonians’ way of being, their lack of eye contact, their dismissive manner that made the Danish ways I was used to appear like American Southern hospitality. Therefore, in an effort to understand the Estonian history and people´s personal history, I decided to visit a new city every weekend and talk to people from different walks of life.
” I’m sad and scared – but I’m also furious. First, we had to deal with Trump and the fear of waking up every morning to check what insane tweets he might have put out during the night putting everyone in danger. Then, Covid hit. Now Putin is showing his iron fist in an attempt to accomplish the first stage of his horrific dream empire.
That decision to travel the country and talk to regular people changed my view of the Estonian people. That´s how it usually goes when you begin to understand where people are coming from and their backgrounds.
I learned about how much the Estonians have suffered. They have suffered to such an extend that their language bears the mark of it. At a reception, I was told that there was only one word for nuts in Estonian. It may sound unimportant, but when you cannot express the word for simple foods in the language, it says something about the level of poverty and oppression a country has been under.
During my conversations with Estonians I heard about families that the Soviet regime had split up who never saw each other again. I heard about families who secretly celebrated Christmas and instructed their children never to tell about the Christmas tree at school. I heard about the lists the Sovjet regime kept and added to when Estonians went to church. I visited cemeteries for Estonians who had given their lives in a geopolitical game they had never asked or wanted to be a part of. I saw a camp, build on a cruel mathematical formula, in which new supplies of forced laborers were brought in every three weeks, the time it took to starve and work a Baltic citizen to death.
I heard about Russians who had fled from military bases in Estonia when the Soviet Union fell – and about the children they left behind that no one would help.
In Estonia, a large part of the population is Russian. Such is the case in the former Soviet territories. Clever, right? When incorporating, occupying, annexing, or whatever word we choose to name it in order to describe a taking over another country, it is an ingenious strategic move to place a huge proportion of citizens from the country taking over the new territory.
I feel a lump in my throat as I watch footage from a basement shelter where a row of children are sitting side by side with their legs dangling over the edge of the top bunk bed. Blue eyes, blonde hair, western clothes. The eyes search their mothers. Some mothers look away, others are mechanically stroking their little one.
I’m sad and scared – but I’m also furious. First, we had to deal with Trump and the fear of waking up every morning to check what insane tweets he might have put out during the night, putting everyone in danger. Then, Covid hit. Now, Putin is showing his iron fist in an attempt to accomplish the first stage of his horrific dream empire.
What happens if China decides to counter Western sanctions and help Russia financially or with military equipment?
It may not be quite as crazy as it sounds. The two countries agree on several things, including that the West is evil, and that former territories must again be brought under their red flags.
The problem with democratic-minded nations is that we in the West believe that negotiations, talks, and discussions are the way forward. That attitude is in stark contrast to authoritarian dictators who dream of great power and in their attempt to accomplish those dreams have no problem storming, shooting, bombing, and occupying to get what they want.
Europe is used to the United States coming to the rescue and sending their young men into the fight for freedom. But the United States is tired of sending their young people – and of getting nothing but criticism for their efforts. The country has buried thousands of their own for the freedom of the West. I do not blame America for wanting Europe to pull their own weight and put on the uniform to fight for its territory and the values they so loudly claim to represent. But I still hope that the United States once again will interfere.
Sanctions, condemnation and other opposition to Russia’s invasion are important. But Ukraine can not wait for the results of these measures. They need boots on the ground, and Europe should move fast to provide that.
“The biggest difference in the refugee flows I have seen so far is that I only see women and children,” the journalist at the border with Poland told CNN News. Women and children are leaving Ukraine. The men stay behind and fight for their country and for their own and their children’s freedom. Hopefully, the next generation of Ukrainians will have a chance to live in the freedom their fathers are fighting for and that the rest of us in the West take for granted.