Over the last several days we have seen substantial drama and confusion going on in Ukraine. While the perceptions about who is right or wrong, what is legitimate or not and how relevant this is to you, will vary, I feel most commentators are missing the essential point: what does this mean to humanity?
Humanity? Who is: “humanity”?
– Humanity is us, the people.
If you embrace the concept of life as a journey among countries, cultures and languages, and top it up with some fondness for lifelong learning, it is easy to develop an attitude towards the world, which I would call a min-max dichotomy. It means, that you tend to look at human problems on the lowest and largest scale at the same time.
The problems need to be addressed on these scales as well. Any macroscopic development affecting the lives of people, needs to be placed in the context, of how well it fits in the vision of the world becoming a united, friendly homeland for all of us. These macroscopic events bear on each individual in a different way, and the personal problems have to be solved using a balanced contextual assessment and judgment.
In my perception, Ukraine’s events are mainly interesting for one reason: it looks like at least to some degree, people there have gotten fed up with a state based on kleptocracy. It is yet to be seen what will come out of it, but one cannot help thinking that Putin’s nervous reaction to events could have been caused by a perceived geopolitical threat from losing control over the southern flank of his empire, as much as by a realization, that Maidan’s scenario could be replayed soon on the Kremlin square.
Perhaps instead of debating if a region of the world should have this or that flag waiving above its parliament building, wouldn’t it be a more intelligent question to ask : how does this matter to us, the people?
As scenes from the Russian take over of the Crimea were shown on CNBC, a journalist commented: we, in America are outraged at income inequality here. I looked up the numbers: richest 50 Americans make 4% of GDP. In Russia this number is 17%, in Ukraine it is 47%. Then I have also found this figure quoted: richest 100 Ukrainian oligarchs plus the Yanukowycz “family” were making for 80% of GDP.
At this point some of you might wonder, if by any chance I might be an advocate of equality at all costs ( communism, collectivization, etc). Not in the least, but if our ultimate goal is both to make people happier and more productive, it has to be done in a context of a society, which is inclusive and cares about developing our human potential. Extractive social models and high inequality are socially unjustified and economically wasteful.
While you might look different from the gentleman on the photo above, or have nothing to do with Crimean Tartars, we are all biologically remarkably equal. There is no reason to exchange our rights to life, health, education and pursuit of happiness for any nationalistic or religious notion, served by populist politicians, who attempt to play on our primordial emotions in order to divide, manipulate and exploit us easier.
After the revolt of Spartacus against slavery, French revolution borne out of defiance of the divine right, and the Bolshevik revolution carried out on behalf of the proletariat, perhaps finally a time has come to call for revolt against any power, which does not stand up to a test of respect for ALL the people it governs.