Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

The Bandits

N is watching his favorite show American Greed. I glance at the screen and see enormous mansions.

“Ah, that’s where the bandits live!” I say.

“No, the owners are hedge fund managers,” N explains.

“That’s what I said, the bandits,” I respond.

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Why I “Defend” Poroshenko

You know what really bothers me? Crowds of smug, self-congratulating Westerners who fill the social networks with endless criticisms of Ukrainians, the Ukrainian government, and the Ukrainian military. Their help to Ukraine has been nil. Their understanding of what is going on is limited by distance and ignorance of the country’s reality. Yet they consider themselves qualified and entitled to offer advice and lecture Ukrainians who are fighting a war and trying to survive in desperate circumstances. And they don’t seem to notice how amazingly offensive and condescending it is to barrage Ukrainians with a stream of endless “you shoulds.”

I left Ukraine in 1998. I’m now an outsider to Ukraine and all I can do is send money to help the POWs, spread the information, tell people here in the US and on my blog about what is happening, and ask what I can do to help. If Ukrainians (the ones who are in Ukraine, I mean) decide that their current government is not doing its job, that will be their decision. But it would be incredibly bizarre if I – as an outsider – started rubbishing the Ukrainian leadership. And it is even more bizarre when people who don’t speak a word of Ukrainian do it. I’m getting really tired of the endless “Ukrainians are idiots” articles and tweets that come from people who claim to support Ukraine.

This post is written in answer to a question two readers asked me as to why I “defend” Ukraine’s President Poroshenko. It is not my place to defend or not to defend him. Poroshenko’s job is not to please me. It is to work for the people who elected him. But when I see these constant attempts to scrutinize and criticize every single thing that Ukrainians do, I get angry. If you are so sure that you’d do a better job if you had to battle a foreign invasion, let’s wait until you get an opportunity to do that and then we will all joyfully follow your shining example. Until then, though, it would be great if people could just keep their useless advice on military and political strategy to themselves.

WordPress Is Acting Up

I just received an email from a reader whose comments were not appearing on the blog. I searched in the Spam Box and found them there. It is an absolute mystery why WordPress decided to censor this long-term reader and his valuable comments all of a sudden. I have restored the comments and apologize for the inconvenience.

Please know that I haven’t banned anybody from the blog since the unfortunate and offensive comment by reader Kyle who said that Michael Brown deserved to be killed. Since then, not a single commenter has been banned or censored in any way. So if your comments are not posting, tell me and I will try to restore them.

El Salvador and Ukraine

I will be talking about the murdered nuns in El Salvador during my “Latin-American Conflicts” lecture today, just when the poor nuns are back in the news again for the first time in decades. Weird. I hope nobody asks me about Bill O’Reilly in class because I’m consciously as politically bland in the classroom as it is humanly possible*.

Where I’m not going to be bland is the talk about Ukraine that I will be giving to the university next Wednesday. People stop me on campus all the time to ask me about Ukraine (my very bright scarf in the colors of the Ukrainian flag might have something to do with it) but it’s hard to provide a short but meaningful response on the go. I have pretty much turned into the “Russia invaded Ukraine, pass the news along” person, and that’s getting old. At least, talking about Ukraine in public will make me feel better.

My colleague from Ukraine spoke about the war to the area’s retirees, and she says it was the best experience. The retirees remember the Cold War vividly and understand exactly what is going on. I will have a younger audience, and that is tougher.

Going back to El Salvador, in every class on Latin-American conflicts students ask, with a look of complete shock, “But why did the US support and finance this horrible regime?” And when I mention the Cold War in response, it doesn’t register a whole lot. I, on the other hand, am doing some real rethinking of history because of current events. The Cold War looked like a big joke from my side of the Iron Curtain because it was obvious that, after Stalin’s death, nobody was going to use nuclear weapons. But now I am understanding the terror of the crazy Russians that fed the Cold War from the West’s side and led to seemingly crazy things like financing nun-murdering regimes. 

* Not worth the aggravation is why.

A Morning Run

“I go for a run every morning,” I tell my colleague.

“Seriously?” she says, eyeing my not-so-slender body.

“Oh yes,” I respond. “Every morning I run around the house, yelling, “Fuck, I overslept again!”

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to run.

Belgorod: Russians Are Preparing to Attack Kharkiv

This is the Russian city of Belgorod last night:

belgorod

Belgorod is located right across the border from Kharkiv, the city where I’m from. Kharkiv is the second-largest city in Ukraine, the second capital of the country, and an important historic center of Ukrainian culture. Yes, eventually, the Russians will be defeated and will crawl back home. But before that happens, they are very likely to destroy this beautiful historic city and its extraordinary architecture. In this war, the Russians are using the scorched-earth strategy: they wipe out even the tiniest, completely peaceful villages just because they can. 

John Schindler Is a Facile Fool

The stupid loser John Schindler who blogs at the website called XXCommittee says that I’m “someone who pretends to be an American and fanatical supporter of Ukraine.” In reality, he suggests, I work for the Kremlin. There is a whole investigation conducted by one of his equally dense fans into who I am. They seem to have arrived at a conclusion that WordPress belongs to Serbia.

Poor facile freak. He writes endless screeds and countless tweets promoting Putin’s goals and then sees Kremlin agents under every piece of furniture. 

Arctic

Russia’s Minister of Defense said, by the way, that Russia is prepared to “defend its interests in the Arctic with military means.” He also said that he won’t allow anybody to be militarily superior to Russia. 

Russia’s opponent in the Arctic is Canada, of course. And Canada will fold before any conflict begins. 

The question is, of course, why Russia would need the Arctic if it has enormous territories it can neither populate nor use in any way. But the point here is to antagonize as many people as possible and not to do anything about the Arctic.

Russian Hysteria

Some unhinged Russian is threatening me with nuclear war on Twitter. At this point, the frequency of the usage of the expression “nuclear war” in Russia is extraordinary.

It started as a joke. The first time somebody said “Let’s just nuke those Americans” on TV, it was shocking and unexpected. And now it’s an everyday occurrence. The other day, Russians marched with enormous imitation nukes that had “This one is personally for Obama” written on them. There were ritual hangings of Obama effigies in several Russian regions.

I really hope that somebody is paying attention. The Russians are unraveling in a collective bout of extreme hysteria, and they are capable of many bad things right now. Let’s not be duped by the polls that tell us 86% of Russians support Putin. The other 14% are not opposed to Putin. They just think he’s not radical enough in his anti-Western policies. The probability of Russians rising against Putin that many brainless Western analysts are floating around is nil.

The sooner we all awaken to reality is better. People, you know me. I always look for the best even in the worst circumstances. But I’m telling you that this is going in a really bad direction. Russia is a huge country with an enormous military capacity. I don’t know what needs to happen for somebody to start paying attention.

Even if somebody in the West just started taking the Russians seriously, that would already help defuse the situation a bit.

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