Reviews | “I thought I knew what bravery was. And then I saw Ukraine.


For the editor:

Re “Armed or unarmed, villagers rush to join the fight” (front page, February 28):

I can’t remember the last time I was so moved by the bravery of a people — the Ukrainian people. When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 and several nations broke free from the Soviet Union, it was a collective effort by the heroic peoples of all the former Warsaw Pact countries to seize the moment and assert their independence.

This is different. It is one nation. Alone. Stand firm against overwhelming odds. Fight with every breath. Men as well as women. Ordinary citizens banded together against a ruthless enemy and gave no quarter, never backed down, putting everything on the line for their families, their friends, their homes, their country.

I will never forget their bravery as long as I live. I thought I knew what bravery was. And then I saw Ukraine.

Perry Perez
Sunrise, Florida.

For the editor:

Instead of fleeing for safety as Russian troops advance, much like a captain of his ship, President Volodymyr Zelensky has heroically and courageously chosen to stand strong with his beloved people and country. His bravery in the face of what could be his own death, as well as that of his family, is worthy of admiration. Good luck to Mr. Zelensky and to all of Ukraine.

JoAnn Lee Frank
Clearwater, Florida.

For the editor:

Regarding “We Have Never Been Here Before”, by Thomas L. Friedman (column, Sunday Review, February 27):

Friedman observes incisively that this moment in Ukraine is historically unprecedented. This is a call to action.

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine captured the global imagination in a way different from other crises, and it’s not just because of its objective gravity or our “wired world.” That’s because the pandemic has triggered our ability to imagine global catastrophe as a real possibility.

When bad things happen in the distance, it is common to distance ourselves from them. But the crisis in Ukraine, occurring during a pandemic, seems to have everyone’s attention. It scares us viscerally. It makes us feel helpless, resorting to indignation and solidarity.

How can we translate our newfound power to imagine disaster into a will to act? How can we change our public policies and our daily habits to prevent other global (and local) crises?

As we watch events unfold in Ukraine, the power to imagine the previously unimaginable should inspire us to act differently. We are all citizens of the world.

Sonia Cardenas
Hartford, Conn.
The author is Professor of Political Science, Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Trinity College.

For the editor:

Re “Kremlin struggles to hide costs for people at home” (front page, February 27):

While your reporters see “little evidence of a broader wave of opposition” to Vladimir Putin’s shameful assault on Ukraine, one of my academic colleagues in Russia offers a different perspective. She hasn’t joined the protesters in the streets and is “afraid to even like the anti-war messages because it might cost me my job.”

But when the war started on February 24, she wrote to me at length expressing her revulsion at the “terrible and breathtaking invasion of Ukraine.” She is not part of the intellectual or cultural elite. She even voted for Mr. Putin in 2000 and 2004 because she believed then that “he was capable of leading Russia on a democratic path”.

But now she is appalled that Russia has become a brutal aggressor. She says her feelings are “shared by thousands”.

David S. Foglesong
Princeton, New Jersey
The writer is a professor of history at Rutgers.

For the editor:

The courage of the Ukrainian people is incredible and unmistakable. They are ready to die for their democracy and their independence.

I don’t know if they will win this battle, but I know that kind of resistance is what will ultimately win the war against savage dictatorships.

I hope we in the United States can show such bravery when asked. We have had a taste of a threat to our Constitution and our democratic principles. I can only hope that the courage of the Ukrainian people will inspire us to defend what is so precious: freedom, truth and the rule of law.

Suzanne Shelton
Falmouth, Mass.

For the editor:

While the Ukrainians are outmanned and outgunned by the Russians, they are fighting tooth and nail for their country. Russia invaded Afghanistan in 1979, and after 10 long years he left in defeat. Good luck to those in Ukraine who love their country and are ready to die to defend it!

Brant Thomas
Cold Spring, New York

For the editor:

Regarding “Biden chooses Jackson to be the first black woman on the Supreme Court” (front page, February 26):

We are witnessing the predictable reaction from the political right to President Biden’s nomination of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Most infuriating is calling her a candidate for “affirmative action.”

Our regime has been run on affirmative action for over 200 years on behalf of white men. It has been glossed over but understood until recent decades. Women and people of color were excluded because of who they were.

It is the height of hypocrisy for privileged white men to insinuate that Judge Jackson is a sign of unqualified affirmative action, appointed solely because she is a black woman. We are finally ending affirmative action for white men. And Judge Jackson brings with her exceptional qualifications.

President Biden is seeking to bring representation to the Supreme Court that has been absent until now. The nomination of Judge Jackson is a long-awaited correction to the affirmative action that has banned her in the past.

Patty Quinn
philadelphia cream

For the editor:

In response to President Biden’s nomination of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, Senator Mitch McConnell said, “The Senate must conduct a rigorous and comprehensive review of Justice Jackson’s nomination, as befits a lifetime appointment to our highest court”.

This is the same Senator McConnell who blocked Merrick Garland from getting a hearing and rushed for Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation. The man is not ashamed!

Judith Tuller
new York

For the editor:

Regarding “Streaming Their Way to the Oscars” (Arts, February 9):

Wake up Hollywood. The times have changed.

At 87, I applaud the shift from movies in theaters to movies played on my TV or recorded on my DVR. In recent years, going to the theater has gone from a magical experience to a miserable one.

This amounts to paying exorbitant prices for seats with poor sight lines; sitting through endless commercials and trailers with a deafening soundtrack; sitting next to people looking at their phones or talking to each other throughout the movie; and because of the high cost of going to the theatre, reluctance to tell my wife, “This movie is awful. Let’s get out of here.”

On the other hand, streaming or recording means: reasonable prices for a much wider variety of movies from around the world; comfortable seats at home; the possibility of taking a break to answer the phone, go to the bathroom or have a snack; the ability to split a long movie into parts to watch at different times; the possibility of re-watching part or all of a film to understand something that was not clear the first time; and the ability of one of us to watch something the other hates or doesn’t want to watch.

I would like to see all the movies released in theaters and broadcast on the same date. I’m sure a business model can be developed that will satisfy all parties involved.

Alan M. Stevens
new York


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