My Mazamet

Life at № 42 by E.M. Coutinho

The Ukrainian flag has gone up in Mazamet


Our mayor has put the Ukrainian flag on the town hall.

What a horrendous time. On the French side of my family, almost every generation lost people to war. My great grandfather Charles died of injuries sustained in the war (WWII). His father-in-law, Adolphe, my great-great grandfather also died of injuries sustained in war (WWI). The Spanish side of my family ended up leaving the country in the 30’s because of the destruction and atmosphere of war. Lives upended, families split apart, loss — death.

I hope these sanctions work, but I have a niggling feeling that Putin being a sociopath means the likelihood isn’t great.

149 comments on “The Ukrainian flag has gone up in Mazamet

  1. Steve Ruis
    February 28, 2022

    The U.S. is part of the cause of this debacle, insisting that Ukraine be allowed to join NATO, and every time a country does that, somehow US missiles get installed there. Remember the Cuban Missile Crisis? We didn’t like the USSR affecting our “sphere if influence” (aka the Monroe Doctrine) in the exact same manner but now we are all agasp at Russia’s response while we are busy “poking the bear.” Sheesh! Poor Ukraine. With “friends” like those, who needs enemies?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      February 28, 2022

      The problem is, with a neighbour like Putin, wouldn’t you want some sort of protection? He’s poisoned leaders of neighbouring countries and even journalists who cross him. The opposition is all in jail. What are the options?

      Liked by 4 people

    • Diana MacPherson
      February 28, 2022

      I think this is post hoc justification from Russia. There are lots of missiles that can reach Russian fast and NATO removed the ones they complained about decades ago. Putin wants to invade Ukraine because it is a democracy and the people don’t take to autocrats. He worries his people will get ideas and he knows he’s an illegitimate president. Ironically, I think his actions will cause civil unrest in his own country. There are intelligences that say his inner military circle are not happy with this invasion.

      Liked by 5 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        February 28, 2022

        Agree 100%

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bizzy
        March 1, 2022

        I’m listening to the LRB podcast, March 1. The guest is a guy who actually has studied Russia and Ukraine, spent plenty of time there, etc. So, unlike us, he is able to do an informed analysis of what is going on and how we got here. Well worth a listen.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        March 2, 2022

        I second that! My Ukraine experience is all through nephews and nieces — so I can only take them at what it makes them feel or endure.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. tildeb
    February 28, 2022

    Of course anti-Americanism reframes every problem in the world in such a way as to ‘reveal’ that the US is always at fault. That’s the sum total of this comment from Steve. Yup, the naked aggression of Putin’s military forces invading a sovereign nation is caused by the US poking the Bear! It’s just like the naval blockade in the 60s of a hostile country using a newly spawned and dependent proxy nation to establish a military threat. Yup, EXACTLY the same as sending 190,000 troops into a country to take it over. Well, it’s exactly the same if one is anti-American and reframes everything in such an anti-American way.

    Fuck.

    This self flagellation is so endemic in the West generally and the US specifically (not that being taught for 12 years in ‘education’ that one’s country is really the worst of the worst) that it’s taken on being the theatre of the absurd: the US has done too much, the US hasn’t done enough, where’s the US military when WE need it, intervene, don’t intervene, and so on).

    Going along with the anti-American narrative that NATO (of which all of its countries are merely bobbing along on the surface of the US pool, donchaknow) is the thorn to which Putin is responding is straight up disinformation – swallowed whole by an ever-so-willing and gullible segment of the Western population susceptible to it – disinformation lavishly smeared with that anti-American favourite Number One Hit: blaming the victim created by the US using the timeless gem of ‘provocation’.

    See? It’s all the US’ fault Putin has launched yet another war of aggression. That darn NATO defensive pack ‘provocation’ hard at work keeping Russian troops busy busy busy. It couldn’t POSSIBLY be the case that such repeated acts of naked military aggression against neighbours by Russia MIGHT justify some desire of its neighbours to join a defensive pact. No, no, no… that doesn’t fit the anti-American narrative and so whatever you do don’t listen to all those civilians who live in these threatened countries wanting to join; they’ve succumbed to American disinformation!

    Seriously. The theatre of the absurd.

    That anti-American narrative uses the same reasoning why women have to walk around in fucking body bags in some parts of the world because of the dreaded power they might unleash at any moment through ‘provocation’ of showing skin or hair that we are to believe renders men as well as Great Powers utterly helpless in their violent and uncontrolled violent response, donchaknow.

    Riiiigght.

    Oh, and no matter how much twisting and turning and reshaping of reality is needed to see the vile effect the US has in the world, we can rely on the indisputable ‘fact’ at the root of the world’s ills it’s always the fault of the evil US empire, too. Premise, meet conclusion: one and the same. But here’s the place in the narrative where the give-peace-a-chance mantra usually makes an appearance, if only the evil US did/didn’t, would/wouldn’t, should/shouldn’t, could/couldn’t… clearly….

    Hubris much?

    Liked by 3 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      February 28, 2022

      Being wholly unbiased is a very difficult exercise. I struggle with it very often, interrogating and re-interrogating myself to attempt to push back on my natural inclinations.
      In this case I think there’s no question the Western alliance is on the side of right, whilst Putin is not. I also agree that NATO is mostly a force for good. Also no doubt Russia and China are dangerous regimes, as are the Islamist nations.

      Liked by 2 people

      • tildeb
        February 28, 2022

        I am concerned that the same knee-jerk response of anti-Americanism will greet the Chinese invasion of Taiwan. This attitude I think sways aggressors into the false belief that the likelihood for benefit outweighs the costs of military aggression when ‘Western’ public opinion seems to be that the US is hobbled by the peace-at-all-costs and we’re-no-better-than-you sentiment. Um, yeah… we are.

        Liked by 3 people

      • tildeb
        February 28, 2022

        Well, certainly dangerous – and often deadly – to those who think nothing of criticizing government, as if nothing could be more normal and easy and free of cost!

        Liked by 2 people

    • dpmonahan
      February 28, 2022

      One can acknowledge the guilt of Putin in starting a war while also recognizing U.S. foreign policy is often stupid.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        February 28, 2022

        In Putin’s case the issue goes much further. 21 journalists have been murdered, rival politicians have been eliminated, and remember Yushchenko?

        Like

      • dpmonahan
        February 28, 2022

        Yes, Putin has always been this way. Not America’s business.

        Like

      • The Pink Agendist
        February 28, 2022

        Really? America’s interests end at the border?

        Liked by 1 person

      • dpmonahan
        February 28, 2022

        America’s interests shouldn’t include a war between Ukraine and Russia.

        Like

      • The Pink Agendist
        February 28, 2022

        But the question is much bigger. Can American/Western interests be at the mercy of a Russian state that wants to adopt Soviet annexation policies?

        Like

      • dpmonahan
        February 28, 2022

        1) Russia is much less of a threat than the establishment is making them out to be. They will never be able to reconstitute the old Soviet sphere of influence. If they want more influence in the Middle East / Caucuses and Bellarus / Ukraine, they can have it, I don’t see why America should want to be involved in those areas.
        2) I don’t think the American Empire as it now constituted is sustainable or worth maintaining.

        Like

      • Diana MacPherson
        February 28, 2022

        It isn’t just American. All western countries worry about Russia’s influence. Their meddling in elections, their hacking of Covid vaccine research hospitals, their ambition that threatens NATO countries. We have a vested interest when our infrastructure and allies are threatened. And now there are more nuclear threats. Russia is a nuclear power that has made it clear that they are our enemy. We have every right to feel threatened.

        Liked by 2 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        February 28, 2022

        Yes, yes. Yes, yes; also yes. Then yes, yes and yes. Also disinformation campaigns worldwide. Questionable investments in people like Maduro or Le Pen — or Zemmour or Aaron Banks. And yes.

        Liked by 2 people

      • dpmonahan
        February 28, 2022

        The U.S. and China meddle in other countries’ elections and governments on a much larger scale.

        Like

      • The Pink Agendist
        February 28, 2022

        And it’s all the same?

        Like

      • dpmonahan
        February 28, 2022

        Pretty much.

        Like

      • The Pink Agendist
        February 28, 2022

        I sincerely hope you’re being flippant, because I can’t take that answer seriously.

        Like

      • dpmonahan
        February 28, 2022

        The U.S. is more ideological than the other 2 countries. That is mostly a bad thing.

        Like

      • The Pink Agendist
        February 28, 2022

        More ideological than the country that just took over Hong Kong and the other one that invaded Ukraine?

        Like

      • dpmonahan
        March 1, 2022

        The U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003. I supported it (with reservations) and I’m ashamed of it today. The U.S. stupidly did regime change in Libya and pushed the whole Arab Spring, which was mostly a human rights disaster. Afghanistan was absurd once Bin Laden was dead.
        I like America, it is my home, but the foreign policy is horrific. You can’t force people into liberal democracy by killing them.

        Like

      • The Pink Agendist
        March 1, 2022

        That’s an oversimplification of American foreign policy. How about Truman, the Marshall plan? Kissinger? Mao? The Korean plan? Because there are parts you don’t like doesn’t mean there aren’t parts that worked beautifully. This all or nothing vision is deigned for Tucker Carlson television instead of real life — or realpolitik.

        Liked by 3 people

      • dpmonahan
        March 1, 2022

        I’m not shitting on the whole history of American foreign policy. We’ve been applying WW2 and Cold War analogies to new realities and it doesn’t work. The results are often human rights disasters.

        Like

      • tildeb
        March 1, 2022

        So you deserve to live in a liberal democracy because you were lucky enough to be born in one that others defend from authoritarian bullies (except the domestic ones) on your behalf but we should let everyone else languish under whatever authoritarian regime they happen to live under and, when asked for help to try to keep nescient democracies from being overrun by naked authoritarian military aggression, just stand back and stand by. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s the most bestest letter perfect high road we should take under a certain kind of Trumpian notion of go fuck yourself 19th century isolationism unless mitigated with a 21st century what’s-in-it-for-me liberty. What an example you set.

        Liked by 3 people

      • dpmonahan
        March 1, 2022

        The average person can live a decent life under different forms of government. I feel no moral impulse to bomb people into democracy.

        Like

      • The Pink Agendist
        March 1, 2022

        Live decent lives like people did in Soviet times? I’m sure you know enough about the famine, gulags, corruption et al to know it wasn’t great. When a country starts locking people in, something’s gone very wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

      • dpmonahan
        March 1, 2022

        Communist governments are for the most part inhuman, I wouldn’t want to live in such a place.

        Like

      • tildeb
        March 1, 2022

        You need to get out more and see the world as it is.

        It’s not democracy that needs defending; it’s liberal values that can only be applied within a democracy. By waving away autocracy and authoritarianism as equivalent forms governments to liberal democracies that magically allow “the average person to live a decent life” demonstrates just how ignorant you are of real life for ‘most’ people who are not as fortunate as you are… so fortunate, in fact, that you think nothing of the the luxury of such hand waving you exercise. Your arrogant dismissal of the very real desires of real people fighting and dying and asking for help as unworthy of your aid to attain what you take for granted and what you presume is an equivalent way of living is not a virtue; it’s a vice based on towering hubris. And your easy dismissal and false equivalencies that rationalize your unwillingness to defend those seeking the same liberal values in which you live and breath every day serves only as apologetics in action that in effect supports the worst kind of autocratic and authoritarian bullies and never-satiated bullying.

        You have conveniently forgotten the Niemöller poem so I’ll remind you:

        First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
        Because I was not a socialist.

        Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
        Because I was not a trade unionist.

        Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
        Because I was not a Jew.

        Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me

        Liked by 1 person

      • dpmonahan
        March 1, 2022

        I don’t see the world as it is? You are the one quoting tired slogans and forcing nostaglic WW2 and Cold War paradigms on the present situation.

        Like

      • tildeb
        March 1, 2022

        Because I’ve travelled the world and lived many places. The value of liberty isn’t a quaint period piece: it’s an ongoing real world struggle whose defeats and setbacks rest lightly on your shoulders. Fortunately, not all of us are so easily satisfied that this is okay, nor persuaded to become collaborators letting it evaporate with rationalizations always applied outwards.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Diana MacPherson
        February 28, 2022

        An unevidenced assertion and my country, Canada has been attacked through cyber security attacks on COVID research at hospitals. Russian actors have influenced right wing protests. My country hasn’t messed with Russia’s elections. Russia had made U.S. an enemy.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Diana MacPherson
        February 28, 2022

        And I can tell you I live next door to a super power and I don’t worry that super power will violate my country’s sovereignty. Can we say the same for countries next to Russia? There is a reason they clamour to join NATO. There is a reason Findland is considering joining now. It’s clear to me who is the aggressor. It isn’t poor Russia is picked on. Russia is the bully.

        Liked by 3 people

      • dpmonahan
        February 28, 2022

        The U.S. and China aren’t bullies?
        Canada can’t just do whatever it wants, especially internationally.

        Like

      • The Pink Agendist
        February 28, 2022

        This reminds me of when you said anti-gay and pro-gay movements were equivalent. In one case you have people wanting to live their lives and in the other you have people saying other people can’t live their lives. Not exactly the same.

        Like

      • Diana MacPherson
        February 28, 2022

        The US has never once violated Canada’s sovereignty even though Canada has had serious disputes with it that included removing US missiles from our north, trade disputes, and all sorts of leader dislikes throughout the years. Canada wouldn’t stand a chance if the US wanted to punish us but they never did. Your argument is pure whataboutery. US is no Russia. Not even close.

        Liked by 1 person

      • tildeb
        February 28, 2022

        So go back to being more concerned about pronouns?

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        February 28, 2022

        I think.the Trump era made people forget American foreign policy was in fact a highly complex, finely tuned exercise handed from one generation to the next.

        Like

      • tildeb
        February 28, 2022

        An astute observation from Bernie Belvedere: “the right’s collective decision to organize their identities around culture war belligerence has left them with a hilariously inadequate framework for interpreting global affairs that have absolutely nothing to do with that.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        February 28, 2022

        I’m afraid it crosses party lines. Today Spain’s Podemos was defending Putin

        Like

      • Diana MacPherson
        February 28, 2022

        Autocrats support autocrats. As Ann Applebaum says, autocracy is not a set of ideas, but a mindset.

        Liked by 2 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        February 28, 2022

        An old, simplistic mindset. Autocracy is based on associative thought rather than rational thought.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Diana MacPherson
        February 28, 2022

        No creativity, no love of diversity, no understanding of complexity (I’m stealing a bit from Applebaum but she’s dead on right about this). They are opposite of everything I love.

        Liked by 2 people

      • dpmonahan
        February 28, 2022

        I’d rather worry about inflation, jobs, violent crime, etc.

        Like

      • tildeb
        February 28, 2022

        It’s the linking of the two that is deeply dishonest.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. tildeb
    February 28, 2022

    Anyway, it offers me hope and pride in good people that we see the same spirit of “Ich bin ein Berliner” on display in your neck of the woods, Pink.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      February 28, 2022

      It’s happening all over France. I hope people take pause. In the past few days Putin called on the army of another country to remove its democratically elected government. That is no joke.

      Liked by 2 people

      • tildeb
        February 28, 2022

        No. The exercise of liberty is no joking matter. It’s everything.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Diana MacPherson
    February 28, 2022

    My great grandfather was wounded badly in Gallipoli fighting with the ANZACS in the 6th Hauraki Regiment. It totally changed my family because my great grandmother needed to look after the farm herself while raising 5 kids including my grandmother. The trauma and dysfunction has been passed down the generations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      February 28, 2022

      Absolutely! People can never be the same after confronting that sort of hardship!

      Like

    • The Pink Agendist
      February 28, 2022

      My grandmother, through her entire life kept a war cupboard and a war drawer in her closet. Both of full of things one might need. Mike’s mother had a cash stockpiling obsession, also in case of war. She hid money all around her house. No amount of time made her let go of that, in fact it got worse as she got older.

      Liked by 2 people

      • acflory
        February 28, 2022

        My mother too, Pinky. When she died and I had to close up the house, I found jewellery and cash hidden in at least 8 different places, including inside shoes. My dad saved rubber bands and all sorts of ‘found’ objects that might come in handy should the world end. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        February 28, 2022

        Well, your family escaped Hungary. That was as dramatic as it gets.

        Liked by 1 person

      • acflory
        March 1, 2022

        Yeah. I’ve been thinking about Mum and Dad a lot since the invasion of Ukraine. I hope the West does better /this/ time.
        I think I’m ready for a matriarchy. I want all the heads of state to be female so it takes them 10 years of discussion and argument to even think about starting a war. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

    • tildeb
      February 28, 2022

      Same here, Dianne, passing on the results of war in so many ways, although the circumstances was my paternal grandfather being gassed and blinded at Ypres and having his wife need to take care of him (she survived both polio and German measles) and raise three sons on a small rural property carved out of the bush outside Burlington while on my maternal side my grandfather (an equine veterinarian) founded a light infantry brigade (the PPCLI – Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry, meaning he funded it creation and provided horses) and had to ‘retire’ from practice after receiving severe wounds in France (WWI). He couldn’t work and so invested his remaining wealth in the stock market only to have it crash and send the family from wealth to poverty almost overnight which, in terms of ‘class’ standing in Toronto was something no one in the family could avoid. My mom and her brother grew up in a large home and acre property with many servants three doors down from Young and Bloor in Toronto just to give you an idea of the times (this is now one of the most expensive land in all of megalopolis that is Toronto for those who may not know). Her brother had to go to work early to make some money for the family (1929 after the stock market crash) and died in 1930 working on the construction of the Welland Canal (the 4th version that allows large ship passage around Niagara Falls) leaving the family destitute. Every child – male and female – of these grandfathers served and survived throughout WWII. Every one of the grandchildren – male and female – have also served in uniform not because they want to fight but because they want to make sure no one else has to. And isn’t THAT the truest sense of ‘Never Again’ and ‘Lest We Forget’?

      Liked by 2 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        February 28, 2022

        All our stories overlap in a way. And mostly we read about soldiers and battles, but rarely the costs for the families left behind.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Diana MacPherson
    February 28, 2022

    And China is urging calm after Putin’s nuclear threat. He’s even freaking out China!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Anonymole
    February 28, 2022

    I think Putin was hoping for a “Shock & Awe” moment. Instead he got “Sucks & Yawn”.
    What’s the guy thinking is gonna happen… after? Occupation like Crimea? “Here’s new leader, you like him, he good guy like me. Do what he say or…”
    At least we have a new asshole to despise, I was getting tired of the Incoherent Bloviating Imbecile.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Diana MacPherson
      February 28, 2022

      Yes he has miscalculated badly and now he’s extra dangerous because he doesn’t have he ego to withdraw.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Anonymole
        February 28, 2022

        That’s a fair assessment.

        Liked by 1 person

      • tildeb
        February 28, 2022

        I agree, and I think this makes him doubly dangerous when it comes to considering the use of battlefield nukes as if maybe THEY are solution to ‘winning’ but also drives up the sentiment of regime change at home. He too needs to be very careful here and needs a way out. I don’t know if there is one.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Diana MacPherson
        February 28, 2022

        And the countries standing against him have to be careful to make the economic restrictions painful but not so bad they bankrupt Russia as that just leads to more “nothing to lose” sentiment.

        Liked by 1 person

      • tildeb
        February 28, 2022

        Exactly right.

        Like

    • The Pink Agendist
      March 1, 2022

      By every account, he lives in a bubble where no one can question him.

      Like

  7. Helen Devries
    February 28, 2022

    War always hits ordinary people…rarely those who govern and control them. My father lost all his elder brothers in the Great War….it changed his mother forever.

    Since 2014 Ukraine has been run in the interests of the U.S….

    .https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2018/06/04/how-and-why-the-u-s-government-perpetrated-the-2014-coup-in-ukraine/

    which is not a state of things to give any neighbouring country a feeling of security should it not be part of the U.S. satrapy.

    Had the U.S. any real concern for the Ukrainian people it would have urged succeeding governments to refrain from attacking the separatist areas and given them the limited autonomy agreed by Minsk.

    Biden, in particular, knows the Ukraine well…it was his dossier when Obama’s V.P. He of all people should have known how to reduce the flashpoints between Ukraine and Russia, but allowed the bellicose talk of Ukraine’s leaders to continue.

    I am for the people of the Ukraine, but not for their succeeding governments, nor for U.S. governments which did not use their influence to calm a situation which was always going to be tense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      February 28, 2022

      Our extended family is currently in a basement and holding weapons, which is a shocking concept.

      Like

      • Helen Devries
        February 28, 2022

        For us, yes, but in how many parts of the world is that no longer shocking but commonplace. There is a worldwide failure of governments to protect those whom they govern and the U.N. has become perfectly useless as far as the lives of ordinary people are concerned. Governments playing power games has cost the Ukrainian people dearly, for no fault of their own.

        Liked by 1 person

    • agrudzinsky
      March 10, 2022

      You are much mistaken if you think that Ukraine could have made any concessions to appease Russia. Russia is a bully. Putin only sees Ukraine as a satellite to Russia. He will not stop at anything less than dismantling the Ukrainian independence and installing a Belarus-like regime there. Joining NATO is not a question of “pissing off Putin”. It’s a matter of survival. Ukraine is “pissing off” Putin by its very existence.

      It’s also a mistake to think that 2014 was all fomented by the U.S. U.S. took part in it, but was far from being the main driving force behind those events. The main force is the drive of the Ukrainian people away from the centuries of national oppression (most recently by Russia). Away from the totalitarian communist past that Russia is so fond of.

      Today, Ukrainians don’t fight because NATO wants them to. They truly defend their own land. They would do it with or without NATO. Putin made a great mistake. This war will throw Russia back into 1990s economically and politically, perhaps, back into the Cold War era. That’s what Putin wanted anyway – the former “Soviet Glory”.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Helen Devries
        March 11, 2022

        I should perhaps start by telling you that I have had life long friends who fled Eastern Europe due to their opposition to Soviet oppression.,

        Thus I can more than understand the wish of Ukraine to maintain independence/

        Neither you nor I can know what Putin intends….but I suggest,that attacks on Russian culture did not help the situation.

        Given that Ukraine’s history has been so mixed, with such a varied racial collision over the centuries it is hard to discern who, exactly are the Ukrainian people/

        Had Ukrainian governments sought the welfare of their people they would declared real nutrality,

        Liked by 2 people

      • tildeb
        March 11, 2022

        The terms ‘attacks’ in reference to Ukraine criticisms of Russian interference and never-ending gobbling of land takes on a bit of a surreal comparison given the mass destruction that is the Russian tactic for conquest here. Especially considering the Russian treatment of ‘ethnic Russians’ by targeting of these very civilians.

        But, yeah, the term is almost a rough equivalent…

        As for the failure of Ukraine ‘negotiating’ for the ‘welfare of the people’, this is straight Russian disinformation.

        Good grief.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Devries
        March 11, 2022

        Good grief indeed.
        Had Ukraine opted for a real neutralitry we would not be facing a risk of outbreak of war.

        Liked by 1 person

      • tildeb
        March 11, 2022

        Follow your own reasoning here. Neutrality from what? They already gave over their nuclear arsenal. They gave the major port and all the ships to Russia. They already gave pipeline rights to Russia. And how does Russian behave? Neutrality in Russian terms means a Russian puppet. Nothing else suits. Certainly not independence. Just ask Georgia. Or Chechnya. Or Crimea. Or Donetsk. Or Luhansk. There’s your ‘neutrality’ in action.

        The ONLY protection from Russia is powerful allies. Your position is no different than claiming if only her skirt was longer or her ankles covered, she wouldn’t have been raped. And that’s what we’re seeing now: disinformation from Russia that ‘NATO’ was somehow an intolerable threat… yet by occupying Ukraine, Russia INCREASES the number of bordering NATO states.

        Your reasoning doesn’t hold up to reality unless you believe in spite of overwhelming compelling evidence to the contrary that Russia under Putin is a reasonable and friendly neighbour with whom one can work and share mutual respect and tolerance. The only respect Putin has for his neighbours is hard power or get used to becoming a puppet state. There is no middle ground. A rapist is a rapist is a rapist no matter what a woman wears.

        Liked by 3 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        March 11, 2022

        To be fair, in the West we like to fool ourselves. I think it was an Egyptian writer who called it Desert Rose Syndrome where we manage to see (conjure?) goodness in a dry and deadly landscape. We did this with Gaddafi, and that included the US, the UK, France… We did it with MBS before he had that journalist sawn into little pieces. We did it with China and what has now become the Hong Kong fiasco. Then there was Malaysia — I could spend the day at this.

        Liked by 1 person

      • tildeb
        March 11, 2022

        I’m unclear here, Pink, what you mean. Is it the widespread respect and admiration for Zelenskyy you’re referring to? I certainly think most Western politicians were surprised at the leadership example he demonstrates and so cover up their own willingness to wither under criticism and only lead from behind when safe to do so is exchanged for fawning praise for the Ukrainian character Zelenskyy represents. I suspect this is what you’re referring to. But I know it’s not just Zelenskyy.

        I think it goes without saying that fledgling democracies have a great deal of trouble with the ‘liberal’ foundation needed to differentiate it from mob rule led by a strongman and this trouble shows up in a variety of ways justifiably worthy of criticism. Ukraine is no stranger to this considering the level of corruption and underhanded ways ‘solutions’ to various immediate problems and ‘ways of life’ are practiced.

        But I think many in the West are mostly oblivious to the very real efforts made by Ukraine as a government to move away from Russia’s example towards the liberal democracies of NATO where prosperity explodes. Particularly, the efforts made with the West in Afghanistan by Ukraine to show commitment to that desired membership is praiseworthy. They didn’t have to be there. I know secondhand from some veteran military friends the very high level of respect this contingent earned with the Canadians incountry and the ongoing training Canada has provided due to this battlefield connection. So there’s literally no question from this perspective that these troops were Ukrainian and highly nationalistic well beyond many other ethnicities not because of some inherited tribal gene but a shared distrust and deep hostility for the Putin regime.

        Throw in the large wave of immigration pre-WWI and the settlement of the the Canadian West by what were called Ruthenian or Rusyn people and there is a natural affinity between the wider Canadian ethnic populations today. There was a time not so long ago that more people spoke ‘Ukrainian’ in Canada than in Ukraine. And the band of this settlement can easily be seen along the northern rail line stretching across half the country where every town and village has the mandatory domed churches and yearly Ukrainian festivals. Very often one will find a Ukrainian restaurant next door to the Chinese. If it weren’t so common, it might be laughable. (There is another strong settlement pattern of Ukrainians making up Mennonite communities particularly in southern Ontario and southern Manitoba.)

        I say this in response to the idea that ‘Ukraine’ is not really a national identity because of it being some geopolitical property divided repeatedly throughout history into into this camp or that and so no ‘singular’ identity can justify the state today. Well, let me tell you: from a Canadian perspective, Ukrainians of all internal ethnicities there present a very unified common ancestry here with all the strong hallmarks of being a very distinct and very proud ethnicity – especially in language and cuisine and dress – compared with many others. Every town and city has a Ukrainian Club and so the idea that internal differences within today’s Ukraine somehow delete its nationalistic claims to us here in Canada is absolutely bizarre. The Ukraine identity is no less ‘distinct’ than Quebecois. There is world of difference HERE between Ukrainian, Polish, Byelorussian, Hungarian, Bulgaria, Romanian, and especially Russian ethnicities. To negate one without negating all because of exactly the same ebb and flow of internal differences in each originating region – differences that are real but subordinate – demonstrates a very clear bias I think. Again, this is Russian disinformation taken as if legitimate but aimed only at Ukraine.

        I cannot imagine the response I might get from my Polish-Canadian friends or Byelorussian neighbours if I told them Poland and Byelorussian were equivalent national fictions as Ukraine supposedly is. I think it might not be received well. At all. And my supply of fresh sausage and borsht – made the right way, of course – would suddenly stop.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        March 11, 2022

        GOODNESS NO! I meant the west’s previous friendliness to Putin.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Diana MacPherson
        March 11, 2022

        I read a really good book by Angus Roxburgh called Strongman: Vladimir Putin and the Struggle for Russia. Roxburgh is a Scottish diplomat to Russia or was at one time. Here is an apt point about Ukranian identity that I think people miss with Ukraine that stood out for me when I read the book:

        “…both the Russians and the Americans underplayed the most important thing – that Ukraine is a finely balanced entity, divided and pulled in many directions. There is a linguistic split between Russian and Ukrainian speakers, a religious divide between Orthodox and Catholic Christians; there are those who pine for the old days (more security, less tension, less corruption, little ethnic strife) and those who want to move on (openness, democracy, free enterprise); there are Ukrainian nationalists and ethnic Russians – distributed across an imprecise geographical ‘east–west’ divide. Opinion polls did not show an overwhelming desire across the country for NATO membership, although joining the EU was more popular. The family ties of which Putin spoke were real. But at the same time this was not the same Ukraine that was once part of the Soviet ‘family’; it had developed for 13 years already as a separate entity, and a new identity was growing. The use of the Ukrainian language was far more widespread than it was in Soviet days when I once embarrassed the head of the Ukrainian Communist Party, Vladimir Shcherbitsky, by asking him what language was used at Ukrainian central committee meetings. There was a new pride in the nation, and an awareness that economically, at least, they would be far better to tie their future to the West than to the semi-reformed and corrupt economy of Russia.”

        Like

      • tildeb
        March 11, 2022

        Sounds a bit like Canada, n’est pas?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Diana MacPherson
        March 11, 2022

        I think in the way that the US may perceive Canada. As a Canadian, I was so used to the US not really knowing anything about us and believing the weirdest things like we all speak French or it was cold like the tundra in southern Ontario (this from a colleague in Boston who was well educated and north of where I live) that I am always surprised that internationally people do know who we are, have been to Canada, and actually like us.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Diana MacPherson
        March 11, 2022

        But I should add that it’s like Canada vis a vis the US in a way. We have relatives there and friends, we cross the border to work or shop. Pre 911 we regularly could go over with just a driver’s licence. We have a linguistic divide in Canada though I think far less of us are bilingual than in Ukraine. I think this made all Canadians feel a certain kinship with the Ukraine and what it is going through.

        Liked by 2 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        March 11, 2022

        Indeed, all our Ukrainian relatives are bilingual. In fact, the ones over a certain age all grew up with Russian being the first/official language.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Merilee
        March 11, 2022

        Not n’eh??🤓

        Liked by 2 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        March 11, 2022

        Unless I see a tabernacle flying through the air, it’s not Canada.

        Like

      • Merilee
        March 11, 2022

        🙀😹

        Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Devries
        March 11, 2022

        The west had a chance to bring Russia into the fold when the Soviet ‘unnio nbroke up…instead it sent in the caroetbaggers, so no great surprise that the Russian Federation distrusts its neighbours. Given that situation and its geographical position it would have been wise for the Ukraine to proclaim and maintain a state of neutrality.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Diana MacPherson
        March 11, 2022

        That isn’t true. The West thought Russia would join and there was a lot of talk about disarming NATO and having Russia join it to fight common enemies. That fell a part when Russia made it clear it was not interested and wanted to maintain the old soviet ways.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Devries
        March 11, 2022

        I’m not talking about NATO, but about general economic conditions.
        But in the context of Russia and NATO I suggest you look at Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security, 1997 before telling me I am wrong.

        Like

      • Diana MacPherson
        March 11, 2022

        You are wrong to suggest that it’s the west’s fault Putin is as he is because we just weren’t friendly enough. Putin was hosting big parties with US celebrities and singing and playing the piano.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Devries
        March 11, 2022

        There was such a good opportunity to influence Russian society by introducing good business practices, for example, and linking the economies, but it did not happen…I feel that the state of Russia at the time attracted vultures, not builders.

        Like

      • Diana MacPherson
        March 11, 2022

        I think Russia did do a lot of business with the west as evidenced but all the western companies now pulling out: Apple, Starbucks, Spotify to name only a few. Not to mention the new social media presence in Twitter and Facebook. But it was Putin that decided to become a mafia boss. There was corruption in Russia that he could have crushed but instead he decided to systematize it. He nationalized radio and TV and drove out any oligarch who wouldn’t play ball, poisoning and killing some, imprisoning others. He changed the Russian constitution to allow him to stay in the Kremlin past the terms of service. He also rigged elections and drove out competitors for President….he even pulled a fast one and had Medvedev hold a position until he could take it to get around the constitution until he could change it.

        None of this was the fault of the west but the designs of a man who feared that if he didn’t hold on to power, he’d be dragged out by the mob.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Helen Devries
        March 11, 2022

        Quite agree that Putin is unscrupulous….but the opportunity that the west missed was to bring Russia into a co operative economic system. Unfortunately it was not taken and the carpetbagging that took its p lace did not give a very pleasant picture of the west to people who had lost the security – jobs, homes – that they had had under the soviet system.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        March 11, 2022

        True, but some responsibility does have to be laid at the feet of countries and societies themselves.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Devries
        March 11, 2022

        Yes, of course….and demonising one man is unhelpful in trying to see how Russian society is now and how it has become so.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        March 11, 2022

        Isn’t it all connected? It’s not like we can pretend Hitler wasn’t, at first, elected.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Devries
        March 11, 2022

        Which is why we should be looking beyond Putin, to the society which produced him and the circumstances of how he came to power.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        March 11, 2022

        Certainly! In my opinion sanctions of this strength should have begun with the first invasion of Crimea — or actually, when the murdering of journalists began.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Diana MacPherson
        March 11, 2022

        We only saw what we wanted to see then. Remember George W looking into his eyes. This is Putin’s KGB training.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Merilee
        March 11, 2022

        Yes, I don’t think of Dubya as being the most astute of observers. (Heck of a job, Brownie…)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Diana MacPherson
        March 11, 2022

        Hilary saw through him and they never got along because of it. I wonder if it’s because she has experience with relationships gone bad. I often wonder how Merkel managed him. She was a versteher being from Dresden but Putin is something else to contend with.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        March 11, 2022

        I think Merkel had a special way with difficult men. A sort of, I’m going to spank you vibe 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Diana MacPherson
        March 11, 2022

        Haha. Yes perhaps that is it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        March 11, 2022

        I do remember. I wonder if his god was speaking to him at the time, and if that coincided with when someone was peeing on Trump. The perfect pee storm.

        Like

      • Diana MacPherson
        March 11, 2022

        Hahah I hope so! But we will never know for sure. Let’s just say it did.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Devries
        March 12, 2022

        And are we sactionising Saudi?
        Of course two wrongs do not make a right but I look forward to the the day when we do not depend on these barbarians

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        March 12, 2022

        We should have cut them out of absolutely everything at that moment. Or even, after 9/11, instead of starting the war in Afghanistan.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Devries
        March 12, 2022

        Saudi was behind the wars in the old Jugoslavia after the death of Tito…my father’s friend from when Tito was sending the international brigade volunteers to Spain via Paris

        Liked by 1 person

      • Diana MacPherson
        March 11, 2022

        I don’t really know how much more the West could have done to include Russia in the world economy. They were a member of the then G8 from 1997 until they decided to invade Crimea in 2014. Germany and other European countries relying on them for energy is another signal that Russia was welcome because you don’t rely on anyone for such an important resource when there are other choices.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Helen Devries
        March 12, 2022

        You do when they are cheap. Tha’;s the problem with our societies…we look first to finance rather than national control of the utilities.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        March 11, 2022

        I’d like to believe that, but Russia has in a sense taken over Syria and Belarus — certainly in an economic and behind the scenes capacity.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Devries
        March 11, 2022

        Belarus, yes, but Syria was i n response to American interference…and who, might I ask, is still occupying Syria’s oil plants> Not Russia.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        March 11, 2022

        That’s where things get tricky. Al Assad wasn’t exactly a type that could or should have been left to his own devices. Speaking just for myself, I condemn America for supporting Pinochet and the military dictatorship in Brazil — which means I support US policy to overthrow tyrannical regimes.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Devries
        March 11, 2022

        The problem is that they leave such a mess behind them…in human terms.

        Liked by 1 person

      • agrudzinsky
        March 11, 2022

        Some phobia is inevitable during a war. I’d like to note that there is absolutely no hate towards Russian-speaking Ukrainians in Ukraine. It’s not about race at all. It’s about statehood. Speak any language. If you are wearing a Ukrainian flag and stand up to the Ukrainian anthem – you are a Ukrainian. As it should be. There are dozens of videos where Russian-speaking people in Kherson and Melitopol in Ukraine south stand up to the occupants under Ukrainian flags. Are there Nazis in Ukraine? Probably, like in any other country. Just all the Russian tales about “genocide of Russians in Donbass” are BS. Why isn’t there NO genocide of Russians in Western Ukraine, the bedrock of Ukrainian nationalism?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Devries
        March 11, 2022

        Yes you are right, there is always a phobia in a war. My parents remembered those of WWII.
        My undsterdasting is that the russian language was downgraded which affected the ethnic russian regions of the country…….much as the English ascendancy banned the irish language

        Liked by 2 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        March 11, 2022

        I did read those reports. I’m sure those squabbles didn’t help, but I think when Putin doesn’t have an excuse, he just makes one up. He did make the jump from the language law to an imaginary genocide with incredible ease.

        Liked by 2 people

      • agrudzinsky
        April 20, 2022

        There is a 300-year history of Russia outright banning Ukrainian language in Ukraine and “russifying” Ukrainian population. In 1930s, Stalin starved 3 million Ukrainians in Donbas region and populated it with ethnic Russians. This is why Donbas is “Russian-speaking”. For decades of the Soviet rule, learning Russian was mandatory in Ukrainian schools, not even as a foreign language. Russians widely consider Ukrainian a dialect of Russian corrupted by Polish and German and call large parts of Ukraine “Malorossia” (Little Russia). In fact, Moscow was spawned from Kyivan Rus, and Kyiv is some 300 years older than Moscow. The daughters of kings from Kyiv married into the European royal families before Moscow even existed. Now, when Ukrainians make learning Ukrainian in schools and using it for government official business mandatory, Russia accuses them of “Nazism” and “genocide of Russians”. Ukrainians count dozens of edicts of Russian Emperors and even Soviet leaders that ban teaching Ukrainian language in schools, publishing books in Ukrainian, repressing and killing of Ukrainian intellectuals. This continued to the modern day. Meanwhile, Russia does not have a single school where they teach Ukrainian language despite of millions of ethnic Ukrainians living there. I find it very arrogant to live in a country and, instead of learning the language of that country, demand that YOUR language is made official. Imagine Ukrainians doing it in Russia. All the accusations of “genocide of Russians” in Ukraine is complete propaganda BS. Russia has killed more ethnic Russians in Mariupol just in the last month than Ukraine has ever.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Helen Devries
        April 21, 2022

        I am aware of the history. I am also aware that thanks, not only to the breakup of the Soviet empire but also to the post WWII settlement and the earlier breakup of the Austro-Hungarian empire ethnic groups found themselves divorced from their ‘motherland’.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        April 21, 2022

        Interesting. Did you look into the author’s history? It seems he has some unusual links to the Kremlin. He’s also a defender of RT and Sputnik which I think are beyond doubt questionable outlets.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Devries
        April 21, 2022

        Yes I did. Seemed about as unbiased as the MSM, so helpful to read propaganda from another source….
        Though mention of the human rights bodies’ reports seem to be borne out.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Bizzy
    February 28, 2022

    Well. Even if you think a KGB-trained sociopath warlord is somehow America’s fault, you might want to throw some money at the Ukrainien people. A different site directed people to https://www.charitynavigator.org. You can choose from one of several charities, all of which have been vetted and are currently engaged in relief efforts. Whatever you think about how we got here, those people need help.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. inspiredbythedivine1
    February 28, 2022

    Very scary times. I feel like I’m dreaming and will soon wake up, does that make me woke, and realize none of this is actually happening. Sadly, this isn’t the case–except the “woke” part cause otherwise I’d have to be asleep while writing this, and, as far as I can tell, I’m not. 🙂 Night-night!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Merilee
    February 28, 2022

    🐾🐾

    Liked by 1 person

  11. OG
    March 2, 2022

    The president is in charge. He takes credit for the good things that happen, and gets the blame for the bad things. In this case, the blame is deserved. Biden had totally mishandled Russia and our relationship with Russia. The buck stops with the president, in this case, Joe Biden. He is listening to the wrong people and pursuing the wrong policy.

    Like

    • The Pink Agendist
      March 2, 2022

      What do you suggest is the right policy?

      Like

      • OG
        March 2, 2022

        That water is already under the bridge and over the dam and the horse is out of the barn.

        Like

      • The Pink Agendist
        March 2, 2022

        Well, no. If you suggest the policy is wrong, one presumes you can point to what would be right_

        Like

  12. agrudzinsky
    March 10, 2022

    Thank you for your support. I was attending my dad’s funeral in Kyiv on 2/22, and on 2/24, the war started. I was lucky to get on a bus to Poland the same day. Now I’m recovering from COVID that I got on that bus. I was passing through the very towns that are now in the news – Irpin, Hostomel, Bucha.

    It is sad for me to see how many people in the west consume Russian propaganda bullshit and keep regurgitating the tales about “Neo-Nazis” that dominate Ukraine (the president is Jewish, by the way), keep saying that bombing of the hospital in Mariupol was “staged” or that it was bombed because some “Nazi” fighters were stationed there (no pictures or any other evidence is presented, but pictures of pregnant women covered with blood are doubted as “doctored”). Now the outlandish stories about some biolabs in Ukraine, bats infected with spall pox and what not. All sources invariably point to Russia Today or some other associated outlet.

    I understand being tired of the media lies in the last two years. But sometimes people fall for outright nonsense in an effort to escape the “mainstream media lies”.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Diana MacPherson
      March 10, 2022

      I hope the only companies that do not boycott Russia are VPNs so that the people of Russia can access Western media and see what is going on in Ukraine. Of course, they may not believe it but I think many will. All the stupid conspiracy theories really get to me too! Good grief.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      March 10, 2022

      I think people are used to listening to single media sources and that can easily create false impressions. Our Ukrainian family members were went back to Ukraine thinking the invasion wouldn’t really happen and are now stuck there. Surreal.

      Liked by 1 person

      • agrudzinsky
        March 11, 2022

        I didn’t believe Putin would invade either. I woke up at 6am on 2/24 to read a couple of concerned SMS from my US colleagues. I replied to them that it’s all “fake news”, but minutes later, I heard an explosion somewhere in Brovary outside Kyiv. Putin has lost his mind. I thought of him to be more realistic. His plan to occupy a 40mln country with 200,000 troops makes no military sense. It looks like he truly believed his lies that Ukrainians will meet Russian soldiers with flowers, Ukrainian army would kill their “Nazi comissars”, and they would merrily march together to overthrow the Kyiv junta of “Nazis and drug addicts”. Instead, he has not captured a single major city in 2 weeks, and Russia has more than 12,000 troops killed, more than Russia lost in 2 Chechen wars in 10 years. This is the end of Russia as we know it – no doubt. The pics of Russian army are ridiculous. They use equipment back from the Soviet era. I’ve seen a picture of a Russian soldier with the Mosin rifle designed in 1891. Their food packs have 2015 expiration date.

        What city are your relatives in? I hope not Mariupol, Kharkiv, or Chernihiv. My family is in Kyiv. They are relatively safe for now unless Putin decides to carpet bomb the city like he does in Mariupol or Kharkiv.

        Like

      • The Pink Agendist
        March 11, 2022

        The Kyiv branch is safe, but the Chernihiv branch was at home. Our niece told us they refused to leave.

        Like

      • agrudzinsky
        March 30, 2022

        How are your Chernihiv relatives doing? I’ve heard, the situation there is not much better than in Mariupol. Heavy fighting, most of the city is destroyed, they blew up the bridge connecting the city with Kyiv, etc. Did your relatives manage to leave?

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        March 30, 2022

        I don’t know. We haven’t been calling anyone or asking questions because we thought they probably have so much to deal with we should try to stay out of the way. I’m sure the kids know that if they need us for anything or want to send anyone to stay with us, our arms are open.

        Liked by 1 person

      • agrudzinsky
        April 20, 2022

        I haven’t read my WP messages for a while. I’m glad the russians have been kicked out of the north. It’s a lot calmer in Kyiv and Chernihiv regions now, and people are restoring their lives there. The news from Kyiv region have been very disturbing recently with all the atrocities discovered. I’m glad your relatives are (relatively) safe now. My relatives in Kyiv are OK as well. People are returning to Kyiv. There is a risk of missile strikes still. Russia was retaliating for the sinking of their flagship in the Black Sea. I also expect missile strikes on railroad hubs – they are trying to disrupt the weapons supply from the west.

        Like

      • The Pink Agendist
        April 20, 2022

        Update: everyone is alive and well and in Kyiv now

        Like

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