Kiev, Ukraine: Painful Lessons That We Need to Pay Attention To

Written by Mark Mayberry on February 21, 2014

I had an article planned out for this week and I was just about to sit down and type it out a few days ago when I happened to turn on a live feed from Kiev, Ukraine. What I saw there left me without words. Since then I have been watching the live feed from Ukraine nonstop. I watched Wednesday night right into the early hours of Thursday morning as the demonstrators leaped from their barricades and rushed the police lines. I watched for hours as snipers ravaged the hoards of oncoming people and the bodies were dragged back to the makeshift medical units. I saw doctors giving CPR in vain right there on the street.

Regardless of who you think is right and who you think is wrong, this is a tragedy of hellish proportions. The estimates vary on how many have lost there lives in the last few days but the conservative numbers put it around seventy and most likely higher.

While I watched this whole sad scenario play out I had plenty of time to consider a few things about our own country and our own state of affairs. I want to start this article with a caveat. That being that I don’t advocate violence against our government nor do I support the violence that demonstrators in Kiev are inflicting on police. I feel like I can say with utmost certainty that the demonstrators aggressed against the police this morning during what was suppose to be a truce. The police were backing off from the square when protestors rushed them. The police had little choice but to defend themselves.

On to business, I hear a lot of big talk here in the USA about people who are ready to take on the government. They talk about “prying guns from their cold dead hands” and call themselves “minutemen and sheepdogs.” But my question is are you really or do you just like to talk? I have often had the conversation with friends and colleagues about what the line is. When do we say that’s it and get in the streets? As I watched the beautiful and historic city of Kiev turn into hell I have to say for myself nothing has reached that point or even gotten close to it for me.

That being said, I believe that in our current climate it could be entirely possible to see unrest like this in the United States. I think sometimes as American’s we take our exceptionalism a bit too far. We want to believe that we are above these things but I assure you that we are not. You don’t have to look very far back in history to find massive civil unrest in America. After watching the events in Ukraine I know that no one in this country understands the horrible cost of civil unrest. Because of that fact I believe that it could very easily happen here. People think they have what it takes to face down “the man” until they see their friends in body bags. Then you are left with the question of is it really worth it?

In some instances, yes it is very worth it. A little more than 200 years ago we became a country because brave men thought that it was worth it. However, to return to my original point, nothing in this country has showed me that the time is now or that it will be anytime soon. Many people will comment and say that I am a coward or somehow uncommitted to the cause of liberty and the preservation of our country. I am the exact opposite, however to be brave and just is also to understand the sanctity of life. I hope I can live out my days never having to take a life. God willing we all will.

So with all of that being said, do I blame the government or do I blame the demonstrators? I can’t say who is at fault per say. When lives are lost and you have countrymen killing each other in the name of a political agenda the system has failed. The government is being heavy handed, but can you blame them? Put yourself on the front lines in Kiev. It’s the middle of the night and you are one of maybe 5,000 riot police on the street facing a mob of thirty to forty thousand people. They are screaming and chanting not to mention throwing molotov cocktails and bricks at you. Then it happens. The guy on your right gets shot and the crowd surges forward. What are you going to do in that moment when your family and your kids flash through your mind? Are you going to do whatever it takes to get home to them safe?

On the other hand I said we are a country because a group of men decided to rebel and kill their own and I am thankful everyday that they did. So do I think these demonstrators are evil? Absolutely not. What I do think is there are loose cannons in the group who don’t want the killing to stop because they crave the violence. If the people of Ukraine have decided to violently throw off the chains of their government then that is their God given right. This comes with consequences though and I believe this is becoming painfully clear to them.

When we decide to do violence in the name of God or politics the price is heavy. Often times you are left with a country more divided then when you started. This is why I say we need to be very careful when we talk about “defending our freedoms.” Although I can’t full agree with either side in this Ukrainian conflict, I feel like I have learned a lot and broadened what I thought I knew about revolution and how it works. I feel more blessed now than ever to live where I do and have the freedoms that we all have. If you are thankful for them as well please join me in praying for Ukraine, her government, her people and a peaceful end to such a tragic story.

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