Ukrainian Podiatrist Speaks
From The Vigilant Side Of His Mouth
ZERO PLUS 1186 DAYS,--New York, NY, Saturday,
December 11, 2004--"I
am not into protesting...I do no protest..."
the opening remarks of my Ukrainian podiatrist.
inflamed toe seemed secondary after hearing the Ukrainian
I had an
infected big toe and my doctor comes from a big infected country
aching with its own "ingrown political toe nail."
The infection in the Ukraine festers between factions from the
East and West populations. One leans toward Europe and the Western
World, and the other shares its allegiance with Moscow.
are you originally from?" I asked after hearing his accent.
replied, "The Ukraine," I immediately perked up. My
inflamed toe seemed suddenly secondary as I engaged the doctor
in a conversation about the political battlegrounds where two
men are vying to claim the presidency of the country in a highly
disputed election rife with allegations of voter fraud.
civil strife of the former member of the defunct Soviet Union
Empire has stepped a number of nations crying foul over the
elections and adding pressure on the existing government to
scrub the authenticity of the final vote and call for new elections.
of "outside" nations continues to spark debate over
who is in charge of a nation's sovereignty, the people of it
or the world's opinion.
is most enflamed over the U.S. role in Iraq, where, despite
a lack of United Nations support, America and a few allies have
assumed the role of "world policeman" on the basis
that what happens in Iraq ripples to the United States. In Iraq's
case, the justification for "intrusion" is to snuff
out the Terrorism threat by installing modern democracy in a
isn't as simple. The threat of Terrorism camps breeding suicide
bombers or the potential development of nuclear or biological
weapons by the nation of some 50 million doesn't loom overhead
and provide supporters of the "intrusion" with a greased
path to shove outside noses into the face of the country's thirteen-year-old
struggle to right itself from former Soviet rulership.
In a sense,
the Ukraine is still a teenager in puberty with all its hormones
raging and laden with social, political and economic pimples
as it tries to figure out who and what it is.
I learned, was from Eastern Ukraine, that part most closely
aligned with Russia and the penchant toward Moscow. He was against
and the world talk about evil versus good. They make the Ukraine
look like it's the bad guys from the East against the good guys
from the West. It's not like that at all. There is no good or
bad, evil and righteous. It saddens me to think that the world
is quick to draw lines in my country and decide what is right
on to tell me he could not comment on the recent battle in the
United States between the "red" and "blue"
states. "I am not qualified to comment," he said.
"I don't know much about the internal affairs of America.
Just as Americans don't know what I know about the Ukraine.
If they did, they wouldn't be so quick to jump on one side or
the other, or to call the East 'evil' or to say this was a battle
for democracy. It's far more complicated than that."
the things he noted was that despite all the shouts from the
Western World about protecting the Ukraine, the reality was
that Europe does not want the Ukraine to be part of its Economic
are a poor nation by Europe's standards," he said. "While
they are shouting about the evil versus good, Europe doesn't
want anything to do with us. They don't want poor Ukrainians
crossing into their countries and sucking up their social services
and clogging their welfare systems. I think it is ironic they
shout about freedom but will turn their backs on us in a second,"
he noted as he studied my big inflamed toe.
discussion I took a second look at the Ukraine's economics.
In the World
Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report(WEF), the Ukraine
occupied 84th place out of 102 nations surveyed. The report
includes 97.8 percent of the world's economy. Of the remaining
100 nations, most are so poor and under developed they represent
only 2 percent of the world's economic productivity.
report considers a number of factors, including public institutions,
technology and macroeconomic environments to reach its "competitiveness"
rankings. The most competitive nations, according to WEF include
in order, Finland, United States, Sweden, Denmark and Taiwan.
it fascinating that a medical doctor who has been in the United
States for five years would be so frank as to say he could not
comment on the American elections because he wasn't qualified
about the internal nature of the country to make a valid comment,
and yet the world was eager to leap into the issues of the Ukraine
and label the battle one of "evil" versus "good,"
and "democracy" versus "tyranny."
me aware of the painful nature of Vigilance.
can be likened to a sore toe. You want to ease the pain quickly
and forget about it.
can be like a sore toe
we want to hand over the policing of Terrorism to the government
and hope that we don't have to deal with the pain of patrolling
it ourselves. After all, we say, we pay taxes. Isn't that what
the government is for?
is a form of denial of duty. We ignore the facts of many things
so that we don't have to assume the responsibility for them.
We find it easier in our lives to "leave the protesting"
to others while we go about our daily lives of living as non-confrontational
So it is
easy for us to ingest and digest the facts we hear about the
Ukraine that the Eastern Forces are "evil" and the
Western Forces are "good," and that we owe it to the
Ukraine to "show our support" for "what is right."
quoted words, obviously, are loaded with emotion and open to
interpretation. They are "denial" words because by
making the situation "black and white" in our minds,
we only have to say we're on the side of "good" and
assume that anyone who isn't is evil.
seemed like a sharp, bright, caring man. At least, my toe felt
he was. When you're talking with someone from the other side
of the fence, you find yourself being forced to think through
the denial and assumptions you've made that right is right and
wrong is wrong.
myself in that situation with the podiatrist.
Terrorism in the U.S. all about an "evil" person
strapping on bombs and stepping on a bus?
the issue of Terrorism in the United States needs to be examined
in the same way. Is Terrorism in this country all about some
"evil" person from some "far off land" strapping
a bomb around his or her waist and stepping onto a bus or subway?
Terrorism in this nation about our personal degrees of Fear,
Intimidation and Complacency, and how we deny dealing with these
Triads of Terrorism in our own lives and in the lives of our
Do we shovel
off the issue of Internal Terrorism into a dark room of denial?
Do we abdicate our duty and responsibility to pledge ourselves
to fight the Beast of Terror solely because we do not see him,
or because we don't want to?
myself often wanting to turn my head to the Beast of Terror
and ignore his presence in my life. I don't want to think that
I must do what is necessary to clean up my own house before
I start on someone else's.
In a way,
we are opined about the Ukraine as we are about our personal
Beast of Terror. We prefer to leave its management up to others,
and to look in the mirror and not see that on our shoulder is
hunkered our Beast of Terror, hissing and whispering in our
ears those thoughts and feelings that strike Fear, Intimidation
and Complacency into us, or, reinforce the foundations of those
three elements that already exist.
than fighting for the rights of the Ukraine, we can stand up
and fight for our own rights.
If we are
wise, we will see what my podiatrist sees--a complicated internal
tension between two forces that needs to be resolved by the
members of that community.
us there are two forces--the Beast of Terror and the Sentinel
of Vigilance. We need to find ways to bring them both out of
hiding and let them work out the solution to our most happy
and prosperous lives, and the most happy and prosperous future
for our children and their children's children.
duty and responsibility for ourselves, and a high degree of
self-government and selfless government.
a Sentinal of Internal Vigilance first
If we are
to better our internal lives we need to think about bettering
the lives of future generations as part of that duty. That means
we must reconstitute ourselves on a daily basis to the Principles
of Vigilance or we will fall victim to the quagmire of Complacency.
you have an opinion about the Ukraine, you should take a moment
and ask yourself how much of an opinion you have about Vigilance
for yourself and your family.
start working on the battle within before you battle without.
best help the Ukraine by helping yourself. Become the Sentinel
of Internal Vigilance first, and then become an external one.
the Ukraine and the world will ultimately prosper, because once
you become a full-fledged Sentinel of Vigilance, you'll pass
on that know-how.
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