Gary Horton | Unimaginable and Relentless Human Tragedy

Gary Horton

Mike Garcia, will you please twist Speaker Mike Johnson’s arm – and fast! Only the U.S. House of Representatives can prevent unimaginable human tragedy: 

Readers know of my friends, the Naumenko family from Irpin, Ukraine. Irpin is a suburb of Kyiv, and lately has been under nearly nightly attacks again. For two long years, Juliya and her family have remained resolute in their defiance of the Russian invasion. Now, with real shortages of defense material, and with new Russian “glide bombs” terrorizing and destroying entire neighborhoods, Juliya is breaking. 

America made deep promises to defend Ukraine when it disarmed after the fall of the Soviet Union. We made deep promises to provide weapons and ammunition at the start of the war – and now we’ve broken these promises with military aid packages blocked in Congress by Speaker Mike Johnson doing Donald Trump’s sick bidding. The result of these months of dithering and promise breaking is the loss of tremendous life and property in Ukraine. Ukraine’s remarkable spirit is taking gut punches as they lack weapons to defend against glide bombs and other recent Russian “inventions.” 

Juliya Naumenko has long been resolute in her commitment to victory over Russia. Because of our promise breaking, Juliya fights on, but Juliya is breaking. Juliya represents Ukrainian experience and thinking. Here is a recent letter of her lamentation. This is what happens to minds of people after two long years fighting off constant Russian assault, bombings, rockets, rape, depravities. 

Says Juliya: 

“I no longer have the mental resource for hysterics, fears, and negative analysis of the possible future of our country. When the air alarm goes off, I go on about my business or close with my head under the blanket and sleep on. I’m just fed up with all of it. Tired of the endless, regular news about how we are again left short of ammunition and ignored by our Western partners; about the preparation of the onset of these rapist invaders in the summer, waiting for the demolition of hydroelectric power plants or atomic stations and other outrages. Already, many are predicting our deaths and the only thing I hope for in case of this apparently inevitable devastation, is that everything would be quick and painless. 

“There is no strength and sense to go deeper into the chains of conspiracies or to blow the fire of your own imagination as to what will the Russians do to us if Ukraine falls. Mentally I’m already ready for anything on their wicked war menu: radiation, flood, nuclear bomb, apocalypse, or UFO invasion. 

“If it must happen, how can I resist it? What exactly can solve my panic and constant waiting, except that I’ll finally be blown through the roof? A broken roof is not the best survival tool in extreme conditions. It’s not lack of saving instinct, just the struggle for life has moved into a passive state of spectator from the side. 

“Every day the program of existence becomes more and more difficult. It will unlikely be possible to return to the life that was before the war. It’s like a computer game where sadist developers constantly raise the level so that the mission to pass the game to the end was impossible. Now I feel like the same hero of the crazy quest, who can die at any moment. Apparently, I’m not the only one … Every Ukrainian has now become a hostage to a foreign, cruel and scary obstacle game. I no longer want to play by the rules of maniacs and feed the fears of war egregors, while making evil stronger and more confident. 

“Let it be, as it is … It has long been understood that the portal to earth from hell has now opened and devils of all sizes are having fun in their mayhem and depravities. I accept this reality because accepting it will help me save strength for a more difficult endurance exam. To be honest, in addition to war itself there are a lot more devices that are in times crazier and, unfortunately, they have already been prepared. 

“I’ve learned to sort my fears into larger and smaller, on primitive and secondary. Separate the real threat from futile hustle and waste of nerves. No, it’s not because I’m brave, strong, or psychopathic, but because I’m exhausted in my powerlessness to change anything. I no longer want and can’t wrestle in the elements of war like a blind kitten. It’s a normal defense mechanism of the human psyche to keep the nervous system at least a quarter healthy. 

“I don’t know what will happen next. But now I want to continue greedily enjoying every moment I can spend with my family and loved ones, spend time with my children, have parties with friends, do what I wanted for a long time, but postponed until later, embody what I once considered crazy and desperate. Under no circumstances do I want to lose my sense of humor and aesthetics, to try to continue to be creative, enjoy from life what is now possible to get. I still want to fulfill dreams and build plans, which I have in the darkness, to live on my land, in my city, do everything possible – even while it seems impossible for our warriors to win and for those who attack us to remain human beings. 

“You want to live more passionately than just survive and transform your fears into action and steps forward. Wars have been going on since the beginning of mankind’s existence, but it’s still here. Life goes on and so will be now and forever eternal. 

“Is it possible that something will be even scarier? Absolutely. Will panic help you survive? Hardly. Everyone’s going to die someday. 

“In fact, there is no bottom in fears. So, I’ll end it with the words of Mark Twain’s grandfather: 

“‘The fear of death comes out of the fear of life. A man who lives life to the fullest is ready to die at any moment.’” 

Gary Horton’s “Full Speed to Port!” has appeared in The Signal since 2006. The opinions expressed in his column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Signal or its editorial board.

Photo gallery below: War damage in Irpin, Ukraine. Photos courtesy of Ivan Shevchenko.

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