Is There a Pacifist Response to Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine?

I’m really looking at this right now as someone who is a Quaker and pacifist.

On February 28, 2022 I shared a 2019 post on Facebook with photos of 19-year-old Ukrainian soldiers who have been killed and words, “It hurts… It’s not when your son doesn’t want to do his homework, but when he gives his life for Ukraine. Andriy Krivich, 19 years old. Andriy Dobrovolsky, 19 years old. Alexander Sivko, 19 years old. Stepan Stefurak, 19 years old. Eternal memory to the Heroes!..” with a poem of grief by Lesya Utrisko that begins with, “This is where the world seems to end.

And then I commented on that post with this:

In sharing this, I cannot forget that there are also nineteen-year-old Russian soldiers sent by Putin to do this horror, and some of them will not be coming home either — leaving families and friends and communities to grieve.

For what?

For a murderous task they are accomplices in — perhaps believing in — but also perhaps not.

If we are going to demonize, let me focus on the leadership’s acts, the decision-makers, not the children conscripted into this horror – unless they do war crime acts (and that is, perhaps, unfortunately, likely) in which case, at what point should these soldiers say NO and accept the consequence of integrity. Either way, and I know it is more complex than a simple binary choice, they should be absolutely held responsible for what they do, as must we all.

And then I added:

Monsters. There is a connection in that to something I wrote in 1997 on the Journeys section of the Bridges Across the Divide website (which is not online now): Bridges-Across the Divide: A cyberspace initiative providing models and resources for building respectful relationships among those who disagree about moral issues surrounding homosexuality, bisexuality and gender variance.

I wrote: Too Many Kids Like My Bill, and if you are interested, you can read it here:

Leave a Comment

Skip to content