The following basic vision came to me in meeting for worship, while reflecting on the question, “How might Ukrainians and their many friends end Russia’s invasion?”
Millions of women and children left Ukraine as the shelling of Ukraine began. Husbands, sons, and fathers stayed behind to defend against an attempted Russian occupation. Their heroism is remarkable. The Russian army has been mired, stalled, and has needed to recalibrate its plans. As of this writing, Ukraine has regained some northern territory.
Now is the time for a peaceful citizen take over. The strong Ukrainian women can lead their families, and their new-found friends and supporters back to Ukraine. Freedom loving Russians who have fled Putin’s gag orders could join this reverse invasion.
They would come with no weapons, but
- with major convoys of trucks containing medical supplies, mobile hospitals, and staff (Red Cross, Medecins Sans Frontiers, etc.);
- with food and daily living supplies and large tents to house these pop-up stores;
- with bulldozers, dump trucks and building materials to begin the restoration of public buildings as well as residences; [also temporary tents and trailers]
- with Russian citizens and Russian speaking Ukrainians who would talk with Russian soldiers inviting them to join in resisting aggression by defecting and helping in the rebuilding;
- with funding support from democracies in Europe and beyond.
With all of this, the Ukrainian repatriation would be a massive peaceful event, an irresistible movement of humanity. Think of the many family reunions!
Would there be casualties? Some, of course, because the shelling might continue for a while. But the goal is to end the conflict as soon as possible, not to prolong the destruction.
If the returnees more than double the number of evacuees, with many non-Ukrainian individuals and massive relief supplies, they would constitute a force of rightness. If they received even minimal training in non-violent resistance, they would constitute a multi-national force for peace.
International conflicts eventually end with peace talks, treaties, or agreements. Notably, president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has kept these negotiations open. Vladimir Putin has participated, though not always in good faith. We trust that international diplomacy will lead to a settlement which does not reward aggression.
– Sandy Farley, San Mateo Worship Group, 4/2/2022