Sunday, February 27, 2022

Русский военный корабль: иди на хуй.


     Cowardice and surrender are hardwired into the human psyche. If nothing else, we've learned that over the past six years, as powerful people—senators and representatives, TV pundits and internet stars—have betrayed their country, their supposed values, and themselves, to curl up cooing the lap of a swaggering traitor.
     But not everybody takes the easy route. Not everyone looks to their own ease and comfort first. Those who risk their lives rebuke those who won't risk a bit of power and what they consider prestige but is actually deathless shame. If you aren't following the Russian invasion of Ukraine closely—and I can hardly blame you—and haven't heard of the incident on Snake Island, allow me to fill you in.
     When the invasion began, a Russian warship confronted the garrison on "a tiny island in the Black Sea ... a speck of land south of the port of Odessa," according to a Reuters account.
     "I am Russian warship," the ship radioed, in Russian. "Lay down your weapons and surrender to avoid bloodshed and unnecessary deaths. Otherwise you will be bombed. Repeat: I am a Russian warship."
     The reply will live in the annals of defiance:
     "Russian warship: go fuck yourself."
     There was a too-good-to-be-true element to the story that gave me pause. Though the president of Ukraine lauded the 13 guards who "died heroically" after the Russian warship fired on the island. Later reports questioned whether any died at all. 
      To me, the important thing is the resistance, not the casualty count.  While propaganda must always a concern, particularly in war, a recording seems to exist, and the general consensus right now is that the bold retort occurred.
     One more caveat. It's human nature to focus on the thrilling part of the narrative, and we should keep in mind that the invasion is still an overwhelming disaster with the odds severely stacked against Ukraine. Sometimes you have to gaze without mitigation at the death and loss and ruin. Turning everyone into Anne Frank is merely a more subtle form of holocaust denial.
       Still, when the battle is raging, it is fitting to focus on the brave resistance. And not just on Snake Island. Ukrainian citizens returning to fight. Staging protests around the world. Others joining in solidarity. The Russian assault stalling at the get go. So there is hope. And there is Snake Island, a modern Alamo, for the moment. We should take the encouragement it offers. The battle is weak against strong, but also good against evil, truth against lies. It's that simple, and hardly surprising that the MAGA crowd has gone all in for Putin. Trump called the invasion "pretty smart," as if it were a savvy land grab. (As do some on the Left, Rev. Jesse Jackson arguing that Ukraine belongs to Russia, and they've bad people, anyway). 
     The key mistake in the Russian demand was the word "unnecessary" (or "unjustified.") This fight is completely necessary, here and there. Despotism never gives up; it only loses. Resistance is not merely justified; it is required.


  1. Jackson pointing out Ukraine's ineligibility of joining NATO - in no small part due to Russia annexing Crimea, further forcing a disputed border- is perhaps the worst, most oblivious kind of "piss in my ear and tell me it's raining" logic, but true nonetheless. WW3 is overrated.
    More heartening is the world uniformly condemning/resisting Putin's psychotic, thuggish attack.
    Paint the fucker into a corner: Germany is reversing a policy of not providing weapons. China chose to abstain from a vote rather than object. The US has done yeoman's work in rebuilding alliances and getting traction with sanctions. Russian citizens have been arrested for protesting. Most of all, Ukraine seems to be putting up the kind of fight that would astonish the most sure-footed bully.
    Less heartening is the cold war-era language of a future "East Ukraine/West Ukraine" that some pundits have already guessed at.
    Two cardboard placards I've seen in photos this week:
    "Lennon Not Lenin" and "Dear Mr. Putin, let's speed up to the part where you kill yourself in a bunker."

  2. I wouldn't compare them to the Alamo, since the defenders at the Alamo were really for Texas to be independent & then have slavery, as slavery was illegal in Mexico.
    Compare them to defenders of Bataan & Corregidor instead.

  3. "Important thing is the resistance, not the casualty count." Like General Mcaulif's less earthy but more economical "Nuts" at Bastogne.


  4. When it comes to inspiring utterances of defiance, don't forget Zelenskiy himself, for his reply when offered safe passage out of the country:

    "I need ammunition, not a ride."

  5. The hypocrisy of the Republican leadership has long been appalling, but this embrace or downplaying of Putin by many is yet another marvel.

    Why, I remember when anti-Red propaganda was one of the defining characteristics of the GQP.

    Reagan's "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall" these days would evidently be switched to: Hey, that wall is "pretty smart." Not only that, the main thing that America should focus on is building a wall of our own!

  6. there is such a stark difference between the President of Afghanistan fleeing when things turned sour, and the courage of the Ukrainian President.

    It is very strange, but the hopes and dreams of the free world rest with Zelensky, that former actor turned President turned freedom fighter.

  7. Ukrainians have removed street signs and road signs, in order to confuse the invaders. And some of them have been replaced with other signs that say: "Go fuck yourself." The Ukrainian people have spunk! I like spunk! I'm wearing blue and yellow these days.

    1. Of course, in this era of Google maps, you have to wonder about the utility of taking the street signs down.


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