For the last week I have not written a great deal. I do answer questions online for those coming to the site and seeing my chat interface there when I can, however I’ve not been very productive with new posts in the last week. You can see when I am online and available to chat, as there’s a little icon in the bottom of your screen saying so.
Of course, my program material is still being sent out to all my members and I am giving the support I always do. However, there’s good reason for the apparent silence. I should explain.
Those of you who are regular readers may know my wife is always travelling. I don’t share a great deal of information in this regard, as you might know. However, I should explain that my wife is from Ukraine. Her daughter lives in Kiev with her two young sons.
I try not to be too political in these pages. When it comes to LGBTQ politics I feel this is a platform that I try to use appropriately to put some ideas out there, and like many writers I do like take the occasional swipe at authority and the self important stuffed shirts – most of whom need it from time to time. Generally, I try to focus on entertaining my members, and on providing a selection of informative and sometimes educational content. However, events in Europe in the last week are impossible to ignore.
I know over 70% of my members live in the USA, and that Kiev might seem a long way from these shores. However, it really isn’t far away at all. Here in Canada Ukrainians are the fifth largest ethnic group in the country.
Events in the USA have considerable impact for many of us who do travel and have family in Europe. For example, when a politician undermines the integrity of an organisation, such as NATO, there are consequences. The damage done by four years of mismanagement on the part of the former administration very nearly derailed the organisation that has guaranteed the peace of Europe for the last seventy years. To the ignorant and the insular this may mean little – and I would be the first to agree that most such organisations are imperfect. However, we may be in the process of learning how very much we depend on the commitment of some of these structures. There really is a reason we have norms and standards in government. There is a reason we hold ourselves to a standard dictated by something other than pure profit and self interest. My many European members are likely as uneasy about the future as I am.
Tonight Kiev is under attack. For those of us with loved ones there we cannot divert our attention to the folly of a selfish greedy misogynist whose cowardice played a large role in bringing us to this place. Our thoughts are with those we love who are in desperate trouble. In these pages I have always emphasised the need to accept ourselves, and not dwell on the failings of others. It’s not always an easy thing to do. However, we must try to do so. And these dark days are not likely to be easy. So, for a few days I appreciate your indulgence.
Below is a track from a band called Baccara, performed at a televised concert in Kiev a few years ago. I first heard this band when skiing in Italy in the Dolomite mountains as a preteen. The band was current at the time and the music would be piped out over the ski slope sound system. It was a lovely touch. I was surprised to find that the duo happened to do a TV special performance in Kiev years later. I thought it a good way to remind us all that even though these places seem far off, they touch us in a myriad of ways. The people who performed, staged and presented this show are just like you and I. They have children that need to be driven to school, chores to be done and their own little idiosyncrasies, too. As a dictator’s bombs and rockets fall on innocent children in Kiev tonight we might want to spare a thought for the joy we are capable of sharing, when we focus on the positive and creative things we can do – and how easily we lose these things if we are not careful.
Please, spare a moment to pray for Ukraine.