As a teen during the Holocaust, my dad was hunted by Ukrainian henchmen working for the Nazis. When history pushed, he pushed back. Today, he would be proud of the courage shown by Ukraine’s Jewish president Volodymyr Zelensky. When the U.S. offered him an escape route, he responded, “The fight is here. I need ammunition, not a ride.”
Man, I wish my dad — who survived the Holocaust because he got a gun and ammunition — was around to hear that line from a Jewish leader in Europe.
Zelensky, the former comedian who used to play the part of a fictional president, found himself in a situation that is all too real. The guy Trump thought was so weak that he could be blackmailed during that phone call has proven himself strong enough to becoome an international hero fighting against a corrupt madman and for democracy. He is the very opposite of Donald Trump.
As Franklin Foer writes his Atlantic piece, A Prayer for Volodymyr Zelensky, “The whole world can see that his execution is very likely imminent. What reason does he have to doubt that Vladimir Putin will order his murder, as the Russian leader has done with so many of his bravest critics and enemies?” And yet, as history pushes, the standup stands firm.
During the last years of his life, my dad repeatedly lamented that Americans weren’t taking the threat to our democracy seriously enough. “Why aren’t the people out in the streets?”
Well, today, inspired by the Ukrainian grandson of a Holocaust survivor, hundreds of thousands of people are taking to the streets across Europe, and even in Russia itself. The fight is there. The fight is here, too. It’s the same fight my dad fought. It’s all connected.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty