So how do we react? What do we as individuals do?
I’m sorry to say, many have responded in the same old ways we have resorted to all too often in the past.
We attribute the sins of Vladimir Putin and his ilk to anyone who is Russian.
Or seems to be like a Russian.
Or has the most tenuous connection to the word Russian.
There have been reports in this country of threats to those with Russian backgrounds. Even if they are American citizens.
Restaurants serving Russian dishes have been trashed.
A ballet school using the Russian method of teaching the art and with Russia in its name and run by non-Russians has come under fire.
Even Ukrainians, confused by many as being Russian, have suffered at the hands of the ill-informed.
This shouldn’t be surprising. Consider our history.
During World War II we rounded up and placed in detention camps those with Japanese heritage, Including those repulsed by what Japan was doing.
After 9/11, Muslims became pariahs to many.
During Covid and due to disgusting comments by our past president, Asians came under attack because blame was being placed on China for the virus.
In a situation I am surprised about and disappointed with, the Metropolitan Opera withdrew a role from a Russian soprano because she would not renounce the invasion. I don’t know her reason. Perhaps she actually was in favor of the attack, and, in that case, I don’t feel sorry for her. However, I suspect there is a more reasonable explanation. Because of her art she has had the opportunity to view the world as it really is, not as Putin says it is. So her perspective might be different from the official Russian line. What I suspect is she had family in Russia and knew that any comments against the invasion could bring harm to them. She is not the only artist who has had to face this situation.
I am disgusted by the invasion. I believe all responsible should be held accountable. I think our country should do all it possibly can to assist the Ukrainians, including advanced weaponry. Much more than it now is doing.
We as individuals should support such efforts. It disgusts me that so many in our country on the far right are in favor of the Russian position.
But we as individuals also should be careful how we treat our neighbors and friends just because they share superficial characteristics with those acting abominably.