Guest Columnist Owen Zaret: A Prayer for Peace in Ukraine

Editor’s Note: The following is a transcript of a speech given by Easthampton Councilor Owen Zaret at last week’s council meeting. It ha...

Editor’s Note: The following is a transcript of a speech given by Easthampton Councilor Owen Zaret at last week’s council meeting. It has been edited for clarity.

I want to talk briefly about the events that unfolded against the country of Ukraine in the midst of an unprovoked attack by the Russian army.

I blame not the Russian people, but Russian President Vladimir Putin’s greed for an aggressive act of war rooted in imperialism, geopolitical greed and violence against the Ukrainian people. These actions were unilaterally condemned by the UN via a resolution.

The Russian people took to the streets to protest. These large protests have resulted in a record number of arrests by Russian police against people demonstrating honorably against a war that should not be happening.

It is heartening to see our country putting aside all recent polarization and joining other Americans and the international community in condemning these aggressive Russian actions. I welcome the sanctions taken by our country and the European Union against Russia and its surrogates such as Belarus and Crimea.

Mr. Putin claims it is about expelling Nazism from Ukraine and liberating an oppressed nation. This dezinformatsiya on the part of Russian leaders is another inappropriate and disgusting co-option of Holocaust memory. Ukraine is a country ruled by a Jewish president who lost most of his family to the Nazis during World War II.

This war is a war that has brazenly targeted civilians from the start. Recent targets include Babi yar, a former concentration camp and now a memorial to the tens of thousands of dead.

He destroyed museums, eliminating a large collection of beloved Ukrainian artist Maria Prymachenko, hospitals, schools and maternity wards.

Civilians were killed and thousands more saw their homes destroyed. They are hundreds of thousands to flee the country.

This war is a war based solely on the will of an evil man.

All of this juxtaposed against the backdrop of elected US representatives attending and embracing white nationalist rallies, and overt Putin surrogates in leadership roles in our country and in the US media.

I stand today with the people of Ukraine in solidarity against tyranny and hope that this unnecessary death and destruction will end. I admire the courage of Ukrainians in their relentless struggle to defend their homeland.

No war is a good war, and so I leave you with this prayer for peace for a better and hopeful future. I mourn the lives of Ukrainians lost in this conflict as well as those of Russian soldiers who died under the leadership of a dictator.

“May we see the day when war and bloodshed cease,

When a great peace will embrace the whole world.

Then the nation will not threaten the nation,

And [humanity] will know no more war.

For all who live on earth will understand

We were not born to hate or destroy.

We came into existence

Rent, work and love.

Compassionate God, bless the rulers of all nations

With the power of compassion.

Fulfill the promise conveyed in the Scriptures:

I will bring peace on Earth,

And you will lie down, and no one will frighten you.

I will rid the Land of vicious beasts

And it will not be ravaged by war.

May love and justice flow like a mighty river.

May peace fill the earth as the waters fill the sea.

And say: Amen.

Slava Ukraini, heroyam slava! (in English “Glory to Ukraine, glory to the heroes!”)

Owen Zaret is a councilor for Easthampton.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Guest Columnist Owen Zaret: A Prayer for Peace in Ukraine
Guest Columnist Owen Zaret: A Prayer for Peace in Ukraine
Newsrust - US Top News
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