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I am Ukrainian too!


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Diario Montañés and Diario de Navarra

Gerardo Castillo

Lecturer at School of Education and Psychology

The West has for years encouraged Ukraine's estrangement from Putin's Russia, but when push came to shove it has left it in the lurch.

On 26 June 1963, in front of the façade of the Schoneberg Town Hall in West Berlin, John Kennedy delivered a historic speech speech : "I too am a Berliner". Here is an excerpt: "The wall is an offence against humanity. Freedom is indivisible, and when a man is enslaved, no one is free".

On 24 February 2022 Russia invaded Ukraine. From the time of the tsars until today, successive Russian rulers have annexed other nearby countries to their territory under a recurring pretext: the Russian population living there is demanding to be liberated by Russia. The current invasion of Ukraine is yet another episode of Russia's historical expansionism.

Some countries are sending financial aid to Ukraine in the form of defensive weapons, food and medicine, but I think what the Ukrainians crave most is the support and solidarity of the free world in order not to be enslaved, in order to preserve the gift of freedom. "Freedom, Sancho, is one of the most precious gifts that the heavens have given to men; the treasures that the earth contains and the sea covers cannot be equalled by it; for freedom, as well as for honour, one can and must risk one's life and, on the contrary, captivity is the greatest evil that can come to men". (Don Quixote de la Mancha, ch. 4).

At this moment we can and should all feel Ukrainian, because freedom is indivisible. For Mario Vargas Llosa, "freedom is one and it must operate simultaneously in all fields. Freedom means that a society must progressively promote individual freedom, so that it can realise its desires and ideals in all fields: economic, cultural, social, religious...".

Our society should feel more challenged by the invasion and the crimes against humanity that are being committed every day in Ukraine. But in its discharge it must be said that society has been shocked by a war that was considered unthinkable in the 21st century. The West has for years encouraged Ukraine's estrangement from Putin's Russia, but when push came to shove it has left it in the lurch. The Ukrayinska Pravda, a Kiev newspaper, published a publishing house graduate 'The free world should say: I am Ukrainian'. This article denies both that the goal of the invasion is the 'liberation' of the supposedly persecuted pro-Russians in Ukraine, and the goodness of mother Russia, with these words: "There are those who say that Putin's Russia is the ideal of the future. Let them come to Kiev. There are those who say that in Europe as elsewhere we can cooperate with Russia. Let them come to Kiev.

Several Spanish newspapers have recently published an opinion article with the same title, but with a different argumentation: 'Ukraine is all of us'.

As the war drags on much longer than Putin anticipated because of unexpectedly strong Ukrainian resistance, Russia is being discredited and ruined, while Ukraine is strengthening its independence. This evokes the struggle between David and Goliath. David was armed with a sling, a long-range weapon of which he was an expert, while the giant Goliath, because of his great size, specialised in melee with his sword. The Philistine therefore tells David to approach, but David refuses. David managed to win by imposing his skills on his adversary.

Russia never imagined the current war scenario. Perhaps he was unaware of the Latin poem "dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" (it is sweet and honourable to die for one's country), written by the poet Horace. The phrase has been in common use in different historical circumstances and is featured on the front entrance of Arlington National Cemetery.

The young Ukrainians who continue to volunteer to fight for their homeland are one of the secrets of their country's resistance. Horace's poem seems to have been written for them. On the other hand, many young Russian soldiers, enlisted by trickery or force, I doubt that dying for their homeland would seem so sweet and honourable to them.