Here at Seed of Peace we feel deep sadness to hear of Russian ‘special operations’ in Ukraine, which appear to amount to an invasion. We feel tormented to see Ukrainian civilians being shelled and long for their safety. We long for Ukrainians to get the practical and emotional support they need to protect their country and their way of life.
Our compassionate instinct encourages us to resonate with all life, and value life as life. Human beings are one family, with many cousins, cultures, languages, religions, foods and shades of skin. We acknowledge our common humanity with Ukrainians and Russians. We see how we are interdependent, how our actions affect each other and the beautiful blue-green planet that we call home. We send love and well-wishing to all people, in fact all sentient beings.
Consequently we deplore the intentional loss of life that occurs in war. As Harry Patch, the oldest surviving British Tommy from WW1 wrote, war is “nothing better than legalised mass murder.” We acknowledge that the current hostilities in Ukraine have a history in power relations between countries and blocs. We also acknowledge that this is only one of a number of areas where hostilities are ongoing: we can also bring to mind the people of Yemen, of Afghanistan and elsewhere.
We agree with the Dalai Lama when he says, “War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering.” However, we fully recognise that it is not enough to talk about nonviolence. We also need to show a different way, to embody nonviolence in our words, thoughts and deeds.
We acknowledge our feelings of helplessness in the face of hostilities. What can we do from this distance? At the same time, we acknowledge the feelings of helplessness of many Russians witnessing the actions of their government. We need to listen in order to really understand. We acknowledge the terrible suffering of the peoples of the former Soviet Union, including the deaths of 21 million people in WW2.
We also acknowledge the unmet needs of the current Russian government, chiefly for respect, safety and recognition, that have led to these actions. This attempt to understand those who are reponsible for the invasion of Ukraine doesn’t cost us anything: we can still disagree with their underlying worldview and their specific actions. And how can we engage with Russians with empathy and interest, in such a way that they develop a form of government that they could enjoy along with us foreigners?
In terms of our daily actions, we commit ourselves to addressing tensions and conflict restoratively, through understanding and dialogue. We undertake to do everything in our power to bring an end to this war and all war, through the power of empathy and joining with others who are campaigning for nonviolent solutions throughout the world. What do you feel drawn to do today?