Charles M. Blow‘s opinion piece in yesterday’s New York Times returns me to thoughts I have struggled with since Putin’s Russia invaded Ukraine. He asks, “What is our moral obligation in Ukraine?” The final paragraph offers this probing answer:
Human suffering is human suffering. It has been a constant in the story of mankind. Sometimes it overlaps with our national interests, and sometimes it does not. But our sense of morality must remain constant, and in it we must find a place for equity.
Images of children’s bodies pulled from blasted buildings haunt me. The Mariupol Theater, above, shelter to hundreds, many of them children, reduced to rubble yesterday, haunts me. An interview I heard today of a young man in a detention camp in Iraq, a young man who had been a child soldier for ISIS and who repudiates his past, wants to start a life as a mechanic, and yet is hopelessly detained–that young man enters into the gallery of children’s pictures in my mind as I struggle to say what is a moral obligation. It is all that I can do. Charles Blow reminds me that we failed to act in Rwanda. If I don’t struggle with this question of equity, I am blind and I am complicit.