What’s happening in Ukraine today already happened in 2014, if at a smaller scale. The murder of civilians, the bombing of peaceful villages, Ukrainian cities reduced to rubble. What was different was that nobody knew or cared. And those who did invariably cheered on the Russians. The New York Times and the NPR were publishing the most ridiculous Russian propaganda about the utterly invented persecution of “ethnic Russians” in Ukraine, calling Ukrainians Nazis, etc.
That was the time when I was going through a terrible personal catastrophe, and then the invasion began. I remember walking around in a daze, petrified by the horror, and nobody around had a single kind word because they read in the New York Times that Ukrainians were Nazis, so it served them right.
It’s tragic that it wasn’t enough for the West to see the destruction of Donetsk, Lugansk and Ilovaysk and that Kharkiv and Mariupol had to be reduced to rubble for it to become unfashionable to cheer on Russia. I’m grateful that now, at least, people have managed to shake off the pro-Russian daze. Not all, of course, but most people have. But the cost of this realization didn’t need to be this high.