Friday, February 21, 2014

Beyond the barricade, is there a world you long to see?

Kiev is in flames. Protesters are fighting-- and dying-- for a better Ukraine. The images look like a scene from Les Miserables and I find myself feeling thankful that photographers there are immortalizing this so that we don't forget what's happening. From across the globe, I watch these news reports and body counts and weeping mothers.  But I'll admit, it's hard to watch.

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As a child of the '90s, I grew up painstakingly terrified of big, bad Russia (it wasn't quite the '70s, but the sentiment was still present thanks to cartoons with villains like Boris and Natasha.) I took European History in college and we read about the Hungarian Revolution, and I lived for a few months in former East Germany. Eventually I developed a real interest in Cold War Era history, but this! This is the continuous fallout of the Cold War playing out on the evening news while I silently chew my takeout shrimp fried rice (not paleo.)

In the future, students twenty years my junior will learn about Kiev, but to what degree? What are we learning from this?

These protesters that are dying, these daughters and sons, they're passionate and fighting and engaged and hungry for change within their borders. And it's not just them. It's the students in Venezuela, too. It's inspiring me from across the globe to be passionate about something. If not politically, socially. If not socially, philanthropically.

The world is watching in awe and in horror, the same way we rubberneck at car accidents on the highway. But for every minute I spend gawking at what's happening across the globe, I spend two looking inwardly and asking this hard question:

Do I believe in anything so strongly that I'd fight-- and possibly die-- to see it come to fruition?