Sunday Morning ~ A Plan
Wa cake sacileka. ~ Someone who behaves like that will never change.
~ Chewa proverb
March 20, 2022
After hearing from many people last week about wanting to help the people of Ukraine, I asked my family in Warsaw if there were some direct way people could contribute, knowing some are skeptical of how much of their money goes to administrative costs in an organization instead of directly to people in need.
There are many Ukrainians who are internally displaced, meaning they did not cross into another country but have left their homes for safer parts of Ukraine. A refugee staying with my family has contacts who remained in Ukraine and are delivering money directly to mothers and children sheltering without resources while their husbands are fighting. Money can be wired to them from Warsaw. So if anyone wants to trust me with their donation of cash, contact me directly and I will give you instructions on how to get the money to me. I’m setting up a separate bank account for this. I will get the money to women in Ukraine directly. The other use for cash is to buy supplies needed by refugee centers around Poland. They put out lists each day of what they need and supplies can be purchased and dropped off. No one is asking for material donations! These are hard to transport and take labor to sort through. Much of it is wasted. I learned this in Haiti where the donations became a horrendous disposal problem. It is much more efficient for me to check the list and go buy supplies and directly drop them where they are needed. I am not soliciting. My trip is paid for and I am going no matter what. I’m writing this in response to requests I’ve received from generous people who want to help.
There are many organizations assisting and if you want a tax deductible contribution you should donate to one of those organizations. The two I am going to volunteer with are Caritas (a Catholic Relief Services) and World Central Kitchen. Donations can be made easily on line.
I am imagining myself in the horrifying situation of Ukrainians. I’m listening to, and reading arguments that we didn’t give diplomacy a good enough chance. This may or may not be true; I wasn’t there. I don’t know what was said in the negotiations or in what tone. I need to go by what I’m hearing second hand, because, I wasn’t there. I listen to arguments on both sides and assess what is said, where the source originates, what their experience is, etc. and I incorporate my own biases based on my own experiences. This is only what I’m doing personally to formulate my thoughts. Everyone else is certainly entitled to their own.
What strikes me about this argument––if we had only done A, then B wouldn’t have happened–– is how it resounds of domestic abuse. From the abuser: If you’d only not said that; if you’d only come home when you were supposed to; if you’d only made the right dinner; had the right attitude; worn the right clothing… then none of this would have happened.
Now, again, I wasn’t there for the talks leading up to the invasion. Maybe just the right language would have turned the tanks. But based on the past twenty years, much has been given up in the hopes that things would change. The war industry has it’s beneficiaries for sure. Our lifestyle, which exploits people all over the world, leads to conflicts. I recognize being part of the problem. I use gasoline. I have a cell phone. But a brutal invasion of a country that was expected to roll over and take it?
I’ve listened to women for more hours than I can count telling me he’ll change. They want to believe it so badly. I lived it every day of my childhood and relived it in relationships. It’s easier than leaving. It’s easier than imagining your kids suffering or losing your house. It’s easier than being blamed for everything gone wrong. Just wish and hope and pray he’ll stop being violent, stop lying, stop making empty promises. I get it. I’ve been there and been jaded by my experiences. Change can happen, but it’s rare. Patterns of violence and thirst for power don’t just go away. These patterns are not hard to identify and talk is cheap. “I’m sorry” means nothing when the pattern doesn’t change. In fact, it’s part of the abuse.
It’s embarrassing when you realize you’ve been duped. You think of all the times you’ve defended him to your friends. That alone can make you stay. You think about how you’d have to admit you were wrong. But at some point the damage is too irreparable, the price is too high, and you’ve had enough. Then the real beast is unleashed. Is it better to settle for rape? Or risk being killed? How do you know he won’t kill you next time? How do you feel about the ones who said you should have just accepted the rape, because you know, you shouldn’t have interfered. It’s your own fault.
We have shelters for women who can’t take it anymore. They fear for their lives and depend on kindnesses of strangers and philanthropic programs. They are counseled on the risks of going back, but they do go back because they believe he will change. He said this time will be different. He doesn’t want to lose you. Many women will die when they go back. Because, he doesn’t change. It’s easier to see if you’ve been there; not so easy if you haven’t. Everyone has their story. Everyone can choose who to believe.
I’ve heard some say the videos and photos of Ukrainian destruction are fake. I’ve heard abusers accuse victims of faking bruises and injuries, too. As a forensic nurse I learned how to document the injuries so the testimony would hold up in court, because, you know, why should you just believe her? He seemed like such a nice guy.
Thank you everyone who reached out. I will make sure there is a story attached to your generosity.
Love to all,